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With several weeks of conference play left in the SCRC, the playoff picture is starting to take shape. In the West, Alabama clinched the division title and a home game in the conference semi-finals with a win over Kentucky Saturday. The rest of the pack is muddled together and will clear up in the coming weeks. In the East, both South Carolina and Tennessee are undefeated while Georgia sits in third with one loss. Should Tennessee beat Georgia this weekend, the Gamecocks and Volunteers will meet in a few weeks to determine who will take home the top spot in the division.
After shocking the SCRC last spring in 7s and earning a berth at the CRC, Alabama continued its momentum by winning its fourth conference game of the fall last Saturday. The recent success has been earned with hard work but has even come as a bit of a surprise to coach Mark Seitz.
“We are continuing our program from last year but we had a lot of rebuilding to do. We had a lot of rookies and lost several seniors. We have kind of surprised ourselves,” said Seitz. “You want to pat yourself on the back but you don’t want to get a big head about it. We did well against Florida….and then we came back this weekend and did so well against Kentucky.”
The addition of several coaches has allowed the team to streamline its training, dedicating practice sessions to backs, forwards and then getting the squad to work as a cohesive unit. With the South wrapped up, Alabama most likely awaits the loser of the South Carolina, Tennessee battle in two weeks.
South Carolina has been steam rolling its competition all fall and is currently four sides deep. The Gamecocks dismantled Auburn 88-5 this weekend and was firing on all cylinders.
“Our game today was right in our wheel house,” said USC coach Mark Morris. “Auburn was a lot more physical than anybody we have played so far this year and our forwards had to a little bit more work today producing ball for the backs but overall we were still able to do our game plan and still able to do what we wanted but it was much tougher.”
The South Carolina backs had a strong day working off of a solid platform at rucks and the set piece. “It was pretty much get the ball to the backs and let them do their thing…The backline is really starting to finally come together…. They probably had their best game of the season,” added Morris.
South Carolina is off this coming week and has two weeks to prepare for Tennessee. With a healthy squad, the Gamecocks are looking forward to the matchup.
“When we play Tennessee on Halloween weekend that is pretty much going to decide who has home field advantage... For me, it’s us playing Tennessee and beating them and hopefully going in undefeated and probably playing against Alabama and winning our third SEC. That’s what our goal is,” Morris concluded.
Tennessee will surely have hopes of knocking off the Gamecocks. After a disappointing loss to Alabama in last year’s playoffs, the Volunteers are taking this season game by game. Tennessee still has Georgia on the schedule. The Bulldogs are currently 3-1 and right on Tennessee’s heals in the East.
“We have been playing pretty well and have been improving every week,” said Tennessee club President Logan McNeil. “We have to play South Carolina but we have Georgia left too and they looked pretty strong against Florida. We are going to kind of look at each team each week and try and play each week. You cannot overlook anyone.”