Monthly Archives: December 2010
Last year’s TRC staff trip to frigid, bitter, annoying Birmingham has been well documented elsewhere in this space (btw, have a blast this year, you annoying Kentucky fans, and be sure to plan ahead and attend all 4 minutes of the BBVA Compass FanZone).
This year we were hoping for something better than the frigid hell that was Legion Field, so when the fine folks at the CFA Bowl – who we’ve always loved and supported and believed in [ahem][ahem] – announced the selection of our fighting Gamecocks, the TRC staff was elated.
Schedules scheduled, contacts contacted, tickets ticketed, and plans planned we are now ready for gameday. Buck, Mrs. Buck, and Buck Jr. will be tailgating from home with multiple Buck relations in the North Atlanta Suburbs. Tbone, Kbone, Cbone, and Hbone will be driving down to the ATL for some pregame parading and touring. Gman and Mrs. G will be – wait, perhaps I should introduce you all to him first; he’s the third TRC guy who’s supposed to be our resident basketball expert writer – swinging by the Buck pad and hopefully enjoying some South Florida Bulls Football.
The whole happy group will convene at the Georgia World Congress Center for prebowl festivities and then will be reporting live from the 2010 CFA Bowl inside the Georgia Dome.
Expect updates on gameday festivities, the game itself, and the whiskey-soaked aftermath via twitter throughout the day and into 2011. Oh, and we may poke some serious fun at A.J. Green and the Mighty Georgia Bulldogs in the [giggle] [/focus] Liberty Bowl [bwahahah] and the not-so-Mighty CTU crowd in the Charlotte Tire or Muffler or whatever-we-lose-track Bowl.
Just the mention of the year ‘1984’ carries a ton of meaning to the average Gamecock fan. It was a year of celebrated firsts, but also a year of numbing almosts It was a year of unprecedented success, but also a year of devastating defeats (well, the Gator Bowl was probably just a ‘tough loss’, but the real facepalm moment came a few weeks earlier NOTE: don’t click the preceding hyperlink unless you are in a very, very, happy place).
But in the end, 1984 was the high-water mark for the Gamecock football program- we hope only ‘to date. Ten wins, with those victories including Georgia, Notre Dame, Clemson, then-powerful Pitt, and a good Florida State team.
The coincidental similarity (NOT ‘irony’, see here) of this year’s attempt at 10 wins and our last 10 win season is that both years included a win over Georgia at home and a victory up the dirt road at CTU. For this year to reach the 10 win plateau, we’re gonna need an additional similarity: wins over Florida State.
With that in mind, let’s go back to the future and preview what South Carolina will need to do to defeat the Seminoles in Friday’s Chick-fil-a (ne’ Peach) Bowl:
Get #21 on track. By the way, what’s up with everyone saying ‘untracked’ these days? It doesn’t make any sense, in that most anything that runs on a track is headed for disaster if it gets off the aforesaid track. I think someone slipped up a couple of years ago and misspoke, and now sports commentators think it’s a real thing and keep repeating it (I’m looking at you, Scott Hood).
Anyhoo, for SC to win this game, we need Lattimore running hard and running free both early and often, as in:
Secondly, we need a stout, opportunistic defense, that gets to Ponder or Manuel or Rix or Weinke or whoever again and again. Something like these guys did:
Next, its gonna take smart, efficient play from the quarterback position. Stephen Garcia needs to take his drops and get rid of the ball. He needs to avoid forearm shivers from opposing referees. He needs to stay within himself and not try to win it on his own. He needs to protect the football. And he needs to NEVER EVER EVER EVER NEVER try something like this:
And then, it wouldn’t hurt if we could run back a kick past the 20 yardline. Yes, yes, I know we are prohibited, by rule, from doing that (or at least Coach Beamer thinks we are) so we put our smallest player back there to ensure we start every drive on the 17 yard line. But still, wouldn’t something like this be nice (just this once)?
btw h/t to cockytalk for all the video links.
You just might be a middle of the pack team in a mediocre conference when you lobby and whine and beg your way into a cold bowl in Charlotte.
The #5 bowl pick in the Mighty ACC is the Meineke Car Care Bowl, and the trusty internet was on hand to witness the first CTU practice:
I think the CTU longsnapper may have inadvertantly mouthed a new slogan for the entire Tiger experience at the :35 mark.
Clemson University, “You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do.”
Christmas morning, middle class dwelling in College Park, Georgia:
Son: Daddy, I can’t believe all the great presents I got!
Dad: We have been very blessed this last couple of years son, and this is really a great Christmas.
Son: I can’t believe I got a Nintendo DS, an Xbox 360, AND a Wii!
Dad: [laughs] [pats son on head]
Son: And Daddy, I also got a Range Rover, mom got a bunch of clothes, and you’ve got a new Rolex! How can we afford all this stuff?
Dad: Son, don’t you know that Santa is magic? Don’t you worry about things like money, just leave that to me. When I think of how many times you’ve made me smile over the last year . . .
Son: [eyes down] But Daddy, the other guys on my football team tell me its foolish to still believe in Santa.
Dad: Don’t you listen to them! Don’t you dare listen! There is a real Santa Claus, and he’s magic!
Son: [brightens, sips juice bottle]: Thanks Daddy, I love you!
Dad: I love you too, Cam!
So with the end of the year quickly approaching, its time for the inevitable “year in review” lists and videos. We here at TRC are not immune to the look back temptation, so here is a list of the five stupidest things we’ve heard in and around college football this year (along with an appropriate level of snarky response):
- ESPN’s Mike Belotti at 7:00 minutes mark in SC-CTU football game: “Wow, the fans are all standing up and its the first quarter. In all my years, I’ve never seen that happen this early.” [Really, coach? You haven't? I've always heard what a dispassioned waste of poll space the PAC-10 is, but never really grasped just how much of a coast-plant that entire region is until now. You know, we've got a name for when SEC fans stand and cheer for the entire game: its called "Saturday."]
- Urban Meyer, January 1, 2010 “I plan on being the coach of the Gators.” [On again, off again, the Brett Farve of college football coaches kept what was arguably the premier football program in the nation in turmoil for over a year. Do you think his ambivalence went unnoticed in the Swamp locker room? A 7-5 record and Outback Bowl bid argue in the negative.]
- Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany on division names and logos. “We involved many thoughtful, dedicated professionals and we listened to many ideas from our member schools, alumni and fans.” [Professional whats? 'Cause it ain't looking like you used professional graphic artists or advertising execs. Maybe you used washed-up corporate team building consultants.
- Anything Dabo Swinney said on a daily basis, and probably before he walked outside to pick up his copy of Grit Magazine, but most particularly this gem: "You turn on the TV and watch any NFL football, there's some bad quarterbacks in that league," Swinney said. "Some bad ones. They'd have a hard time beating out Kyle Parker." Actually, upon rereading this quote with a full season of Kyle's body of work now in, Dabo may have meant this as the ultimate slam on how mind-blowing bad some NFL QBs are. Otherwise, Doooh!]
- Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president for academic and membership affairs: “Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time, we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity.” [This may not be stupid, but it is mind-rapingly naive. My youngest son is only 9 years old, and even he knows when Daddy gets paid.]
The resemblance continues to freak me out. Coach Boom just adds to the creepiness:
Some say there are too many bowl games. Too many games resulting in mediocre teams matching up in contests completely devoid of passion and intrigue.
Well, I disagree, and right strongly at that. In fact, over the next fortnight or so, I intend to give you, gentle TRC Reader, a preview of each of the upcoming gridiron classics, with in-depth analysis that will prepare you for maximum viewing pleasure throughout 2010 edition of bowl season.
First up we have the New Mexico Bowl, matching Brigham Young University against the Fighting Miners of Texas El Paso. Hold on a sec., that would be a pretty good movie, wouldn’t it? A period piece, maybe, with original Mormon John Smith or John Standish or whatever his name was leading his struggling band of settlers west . . . and into a grip of a bunch of ghoulish miners seeking to devour all things living. Kind of like Pirates of the Caribbean meets the Donnor Party, right? It would totally work. I can already picture Matt Damon in the role of John Calvin (no wait, that was the Presbyterian guy - whatever) sweeping in to rescue his endangered lady friend, played by the always-radiant Scarlett Johansson. Wow, that would be AWESOME.
Next, we have the Humanitarian Bowl, featuring the Bulldogs (maybe?) of Fresno State against the werewolf-looking things of Northern Illinois. Hey, speaking of humanitarians, you know who does a lot of charity work? Scarlett Johansson, that’s who. She’s a big donor to Oxfam, which fights hunger in oxen or something – but anyway its totally cute that she does that sort of thing; it shows she’s down to earth, in touch with the common man so to speak. I appreciate that, since I’m sort of a common man, myself. And I don’t mind telling you that she could get in touch with this Common Man anytime she wants! But anyway, back on point: what I wonder is when’s she’s all in India feeding those oxen, I wonder if she gets all smelly and dirty. Even if she does, I bet she still looks AWESOME.
Wrapping up the weekend’s games is the New Orleans Bowl, pitting the Ohio . . . uh, I’m gonna go with Bobcats, against the Trojans of Troy. I saw the movie, Troy, by the way, and I thought that the casting was horrible. First, Brad Pitt came across as WAY effeminate, and I just don’t think of Achilles as a teenage girl. But even worse was the casting of Helen, the legendary “Face That Launched a Thousand Ships.” It was some mealy-mouthed girl who looked like she was snatched from the lunch shift at Hooters. She couldn’t launch a chicken-fingers basket if you ask me. You know, and I hate to keep coming back to her, but the only girl I know who deserves the Thousand-Ship-Launching title is–you guessed it– Mrs. Scarlett Johansson. And it ain’t just her face that causes me to want launch either, mister (if you know what I’m getting at).
And, I hear she’s SINGLE AGAIN!
[next week: The St. Petersburg Bowl, featuring Louisville versus Southern Miss. Wait, Southern Miss! You know who's a hot Southern Miss, don't you? Salma Hayek? That's RIGHT!]
I didn’t expect bulletin board material to start rolling in for 2011 this early, but two opinion pieces in one day from the Atlanta Journal Constitution show just how far South Carolina has to go to gain the respect of at least one media outlet.
First, Tony Barnhart predicts Florida will win the East next year. He doesn’t directly diss the Gamecocks, but his is a sin of omission. A sampling:
How ready is Muschamp? Well, here’s the first prediction for the 2011 season: Florida will win the SEC East championship. The problem at Florida last season was not talent. It was a lack of focus and a lack of leadership. The team was not focused because too many leaders had left and there was never a coherent offensive strategy. Muschamp can fix the leadership issue and if he hires a top-flight offensive coordinator the other problem can be fixed as well.
So, “Muschamp (first head coaching job) can fix the leadership issue” that Urban Meyer (two BCS National Championships) could not. This prediction also hinges on the hiring of “a top-flight offensive coordinator.” Like Major Applewhite? Meanwhile, South Carolina returns its deepest and most talented team of the Steve Spurrier era in 2011. Makes perfect sense to me.
Mark Bradley then chimes in with a piece that is more an indictment of/challenge to Mark Richt and Georgia, but he manages to poo-poo the accomplishments of this year’s Eastern Division champs:
South Carolina, which won the East for the first time ever, is demonstrably not unbeatable — it lost the SEC championship by 39 points — and must play in Athens next season.
He goes on:
South Carolina filled the gap this fall, but even in a breakthrough season the Gamecocks didn’t bear the look of a colossus. They lost three regular-season games and nearly threw away the division title. They’ll be good again — Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery return — but probably not great.
Let’s start with “nearly threw away the division title”. That’s an odd description for dismantling Florida in The Swamp when everyone on the planet knew what was at stake.
And yes, we fell completely apart in the second half of the SECCG, there’s no other way to put it. But look at the entire body of work and then judge. The only other game all year we weren’t competitive was Arkansas. (I will not play the “meaningless game” card there, because there is no such thing in the SEC.)
And the fact we “must play in Athens next year”? I’m sure our guys will be shaking in their boots.
The more the Gamecocks win, the more the respect we’ll get, I’m sure.
How we infuse the experts with common sense, however, will apparently be more difficult.