Sure, the South Carolina Gamecocks are traveling to Orlando this weekend, but they won't be there to visit Disney World. A game with an undefeated -- and possibly sneaky good -- UCF team awaits. Both teams had byes last week, and save for a cupcake game for South Carolina later this season, this game will close their respective non-conference schedules.
The battle between the Gamecocks' front seven and UCF quarterback Blake Bortles should prove key in this one. South Carolina (2-1) has had ample time to prepare for Bortles, the nation's fifth-rated passer, and they needed it, considering that Aaron Murray shredded the Gamecock secondary for 309 yards and four touchdowns.
Of course, UCF (3-0) wasn't exactly sitting on its hands, either, knowing that defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was coming to town. Clowney has seen a variety of tactics thrown at him this year -- teams have run away from him, thrown double teams, triple teams and cut blocks to stop him. They've thrown screens and sprayed quick passes in fear of his quarterback-hunting prowess. All this is beginning to frustrate the future first-round pick -- after the Gamecocks lost to Georgia, there were some grumblings about putting Clowney into more creative positions in order to maximize his impact. Now that he has had two weeks to scheme, what will South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward have up his sleeve? What counter-adjustments will UCF deploy?
Rankings and records: South Carolina is 3-0 against UCF, with the last matchup between these two teams coming in 2005. The Gamecocks come into this one ranked 12th in the Associated Press Top 25 and 13th in the USA Today Coaches' Poll.
Weather: The forecast for Saturday calls for partly cloudy skies with a 20 percent chance of rain. High of 84, low of 69.
Three names to know
Blake Bortles (UCF quarterback) -- In a draft class marked by strong quarterback prospects, Bortles is rising up the boards quickly. The 6'4, 230-pound junior is completing 71.4 percent of his passes this season and sports a 7:1 TD:INT ratio. He has all the tools to carry UCF to an upset, but the Gamecocks will be his toughest competition to date.
Kelcy Quarles (South Carolina defensive end) -- Though most of the attention goes to Clowney, the Golden Knights cannot forget the other players in the South Carolina front seven. The Gamecocks are tied for 19th in the country in sacks, and Quarles has been a part of that, chipping in two of his own. He also has two tackles for loss on the year.
Storm Johnson (UCF running back) -- The impeccably named Johnson will carry the Knights on the ground, hoping to take some of the pressure off Bortles. He has 305 yards on 55 carries this year, good for a 5.5 YPC average.
Two things at stake
Though UCF is 3-0, the Gamecocks represent a different caliber of opponent for the Golden Knights -- playing the No. 12 team in the country is much different from the Akrons and Penn States of the world. A win would immediately position UCF as a legitimate threat to No. 7 Louisville in several weeks.
With a string of conference opponents following this game, South Carolina is simply trying to emerge from this with their SEC Championship hopes intact. Florida remains a huge test on Nov. 16, but there is a lot of time between now and then. Losing to UCF would surely drop them to the lowest ranks of the AP poll, if not out of it altogether.
How to witness
TV: Noon ET, ABC, ESPN or ESPN U. The game may be streamed on ESPN3.
Radio: CBSsports College Network, UCF IMG Sports Network. 740 AM Orlando is the UCF flagship station. More information on the South Carolina affiliates can be found here.
Garnet and Black Attack has more about South Carolina. Head over there to check them out.