USC's road to Atlanta starts in Athens

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) - The road to Atlanta doesn't necessarily need a successful stop in Athens, but it won't hurt the Gamecocks' chances.

South Carolina views a victory against the Georgia Bulldogs as just one stop on a much longer trek to the SEC championship game in Atlanta. This weekend's matchup with the No. 11 Bulldogs is the first conference game of the season, but, a win does not guarantee South Carolina the inside track to the Eastern division.

The Gamecocks have a three-game winning streak over Georgia, but, despite those wins, have only made one appearance in the conference title game.

"The winner doesn't necessarily win the Eastern Division," said Steve Spurrier at his weekly news conference Tuesday. "It does put the winner in pretty good shape, but certainly doesn't determine the winner."

After suffering losses to USC in 2011 and 2012, Georgia finished the conference slate 7-1, while the Gamecocks have gone 6-2.

USC has a shot at its first four-game winning streak against the Bulldogs, with a roster laden with 25 scholarship players from Georgia.

"You always have those bragging rights when you go back home to Savannah and you always have guys who will say 'Y'all got the Dawgs again, see y'all next year," said USC defensive end Chaz Sutton, a Georgia native. "It's always a bragging rights and we always want to go into this game being prepared."

Those bragging rights have only earned the Gamecocks one SEC championship game in 2010, when they started the win streak over the Bulldogs. Now they're hoping for a repeat performance.