College football season is underway and, while there might not be any Team USA athletes on the field, many can be found in the stands or glued to their TVs while cheering for their favorite school. Each week, we'll take a closer look at a big game through the eyes of a Team USA athlete or two. This week's featured matchup finds the No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs (1-0) traveling to face the No. 24 South Carolina Gamecocks (1-1) at Williams-Brice Stadium. To prepare, we asked a few proud Dawgs and Gamecocks to share their favorite college football memories, favorite tailgate food and score predictions, including Georgia's Andrew Gemmell, John Isner and Allison Schmitt, and South Carolina's Natasha Hastings and Dawn Staley.
What is your favorite college football memory?
Andrew Gemmell (2012 Olympic swimmer): Last year, the game between Georgia and Louisiana State University was incredible. It was in Athens, Georgia, and both teams were ranked in the top-10 at the time. The last quarter was back and forth – with around five touchdowns total – and Georgia managed to come out on top. I’ve never heard a stadium so loud, and it still remains one of my best memories from my undergrad experience.
Natasha Hastings (2008 Olympic track champion): My greatest college football memory is my freshman or sophomore year when we beat Florida. The visiting team has to pass the student section back to their locker room. The entire student section did the gator chomp as they retreated to the locker room.
John Isner (2012 Olympic tennis player): I really enjoyed the tailgate scene in Athens, Georgia, especially if it was a late afternoon or night game. There’s nothing like it. We would get to the tailgates early, set up camp with some good food, and enjoy. It’s the best.
Allison Schmitt (six-time Olympic swimming medalist): This is a tough one! A game between the hedges is always one to remember. The freshest memory I have is beating Clemson two weeks ago and watching Todd Gurley's 100-yard kick-off return. Another memorable moment was back in my freshman year when Knowshon Moreno jumped over the other team to continue running and score! I also have to say last season traveling to Tennessee and winning in the final seconds was amazing. Or even last season when I had the opportunity to deliver the game ball to center field, being so close to the action...I give those guys respect for what they do!
Dawn Staley (three-time Olympic basketball champion): Being in Williams-Brice Stadium when we took down the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide.
Who is/was your favorite college football player?
Andrew Gemmell: Aaron Murray was the starting quarterback at Georgia from 2010-2013. We both attended school at the same time and he started for most of my career at Georgia, so he is basically who I think of when I think of Georgia football. He had an incredible career and came away with a bunch of Southeastern Conference records, and he’s also just a really great guy off the field.
John Isner: David Pollack. We overlapped by one year at Georgia, but I got to know him on a personal level. He is arguably one of Georgia’s best defensive ends and greatest football players of all time.
Allison Schmitt: I cheer for ALL Dawgs, even as they go into the NFL. I may have to say Jarvis Jones is one of my favorites as he now plays for Pittsburgh (my birth place). He has always been a down-to-earth guy who has a great outlook on life, is genuinely nice, even knows quite a few things about swimming, and of course plays some great football!
Dawn Staley: I’m going to have to go with Bruce Ellington. Bruce currently plays for the San Francisco 49ers but graduated last year from South Carolina – any time he touched the ball, the crowd in Williams-Brice Stadium yelled out “BRUUUUCE”! He was a two-sport player in football and basketball, so I had the chance to know him and he is just a really fun-loving guy that absolutely loves being a competitor. I love the fact that he was able to play at the top of his game in two sports.
Favorite tailgate food?
Andrew Gemmell: I like to keep it simple. There’s nothing quite like some good burgers or hot dogs done over a grill on a cool fall day before a game.
Natasha Hastings: Pulled pork sandwiches – we don't have these up north and I fell in love immediately.
John Isner: Any type of barbeque – like ribs, chicken and potato salad. I can eat it all!
Allison Schmitt: All food is awesome, especially some homemade southern food! I'd have to say the most unique, yet yummy meal was eating gator at the Georgia-Florida game!
Dawn Staley: Brownies. Definitely brownies.
Final score prediction?
Andrew Gemmell: Georgia 32, South Carolina 20
Natasha Hastings: South Carolina, 27 - Georgia, 10
John Isner: Georgia, 30 - South Carolina, 17
Allison Schmitt: Georgia – 24, South Carolina -10 … GO DAWGS ❤️
Dawn Staley: South Carolina will beat Georgia, 31-21, because our defense really hasn’t found its rhythm yet but those young guys are going to grow up on Saturday.
Why do you think your school will prevail?
Andrew Gemmell: We just came off of a great win against Clemson and South Carolina looked pretty poor against Texas A&M University. However, the game is in Carolina and they always play us tough there. I still think we will come away with the win, though – Todd Gurley is just too much for that defense and is going to make serious waves in the Heisman race.
Natasha Hastings: This match-up is always intense, whether in South Carolina or Georgia! I think South Carolina has some growing to do having lost a lot of our key players to the draft, but my pick still goes with South Carolina!
John Isner: It’s certainly not easy to play in Columbia, South Carolina, but Georgia should be able to take control with their running game.
Allison Schmitt: As the Dawgs get ready for their second game of the season and their first conference game, I have complete faith in them. As a Dawg myself, I know they will fight until the end for that win.
Dawn Staley: I think in the first two games, South Carolina was trying to find an identity. We want to avenge the loss to Texas A & M University, and we played a little bit better against East Carolina University, so I think we are going to put it all together against Georgia. Honestly, there’s an Eastern Division Conference title on the line with this game and I think the team will rise to the challenge.