Monthly Archives: May 2011

Welcome Back Ol’ #5 and Other Tusings

Stephen Garcia has been cleared to work with the USC football team this summer, and this is good news for South Carolina fans, and even better news for bloggers, radio show hosts and other media types who fashion themselves as college football experts.

For Gamecock fans, the news gives an instant boost to the prospects for the 2011 season – you return your battle-tested Senior quarterback, the third-leading passer in school history, and despite the occasional, ill-timed brain fart, a guy that will sell out on the football field to get victories.

Who's going to start at QB vs. East Carolina? This guy!

For the blogger/media types, they get to jump on the righteous indignation train during the dead period and ride it all the way to September.   They’ll talk about five suspensions and how if he were a third-team offensive lineman he would’ve been gone a long time ago.  They’ll talk about how Garcia has single-handedly sullied Steve Spurrier’s reputation.  They’ll feign disgust as they talk about how college football needs to be “cleaned up”.

We got a small taste on Twitter from Tony Barnhart (dripped sarcasm when he tweeted he was “shocked” at the news of Garcia’s reinstatement) and David Pollack (called it “a joke”), and there will be much more to come, I’m sure.

And what do I say to that?

Screw ‘em.

Wait, that’s not nearly forceful enough.

SCREW. THEM.

There, that’s better.

We possibly have the best football team we’ve ever had coming back in 2011, and we don’t really care if the college equivalent of Ken Stabler had a few too many pops before a bowl game or had the nerve to stand up for himself when being verbally flogged in public.

I rest easy at night knowing Steve Spurrier is at the helm of my program and he’s doing things the right way.  Say what you will about S.O.S., but there are two things you can be certain he is not – a liar or a cheat.

Garcia has pushed Spurrier to his absolute limits, no doubt.  And Spurrier has bent over backwards to give Garcia one more chance.  One more time.  Again.  But Stephen Garcia is no Maurice Clarett, DeAndre McDaniel, or (insert name of any number of Auburn players).  He has committed no violent crimes or shoved anyone down a flight of stairs or showed off a new Nissan 350Z around campus.

Given the nature of Garcia’s “crimes”, I’m perfectly fine with how this situation has been handled.  Now let’s get #5 tuned up for September, shall we?

A few other tusings this evening:

  • I am not a Gamecock conspiracy theorist by any stretch.  I think the bozos that think everybody (the conference, the referees, the doo-doo ice vendors) is out to get us only make us look silly.  But this NCAA baseball bracket situation is just nuts.  How in the world do we get Stetson, N.C. State and Georgia Southern, while CTU gets UConn, Coastal Carolina and…this last one is hard to even type…SACRED HEART.  Who is the national seed here?  Garnet and Black Attack does an excellent job of summing up the ridiculousness here.
  • My unpopular opinion only – I want no part of CTU in the Supers.  This last year of being able to stick it in the fat faces of their fans that we not only eliminated them from the CWS, but went on to win the National Title?  Pure gold.  If we fall to them in the Supers, which is entirely possible because they have been playing better baseball than us recently…I don’t want to think about it.
  • Interesting to hear all these folks talk about “the hammer” that will be coming down on Ohio State once all the investigations into their program are done.  Will it really?  Didn’t “the hammer” come down on Alabama recently, and they turned around and won a BCS Championship?  Most schools seem to be handling NCAA sanctions quite well these days.

Have a good week and be sure to follow us on Twitter @rubrchickens and @thebucksterr.

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We Salute the Innovation on The Plains

Give credit where credit is due, I always say.

So as I look back over the course of the last few years of SEC football, one dominant theme sticks out:

Auburn University Innovates.

Auburn sets new standards both on and off the field, and while many might be hesitant to say so, I prefer to point out their novel approach to college athletics and celebrate it.

First you’ve got offensive wunderkind Gus Malzahn calling the plays in a new and novel way– [cough] single wing [cough] Lou Holtz [cough].  Then you’ve got the Head Chin secretly suspending a star player on a Tuesday, reinstating him the next day, and announcing the whole contrived fiasco after it was all over.  That’s certainly a new approach to collegiate  discipline.

But Auburn innovates in other way as well.  Take the concept of College Football Free Agency.  Never heard of it, you say?  Well they are innovating it down on The Plains.  They blazed the trail with one Cameron Newton, who went to the highest bidder the Tigers after a high-profile recruiting battle from the Junior College National Champions at Blinn College.  This offseason, the trend has continued, as Auburn openly flirted with former N.C. State QB Russell Wilson and lured prized running back recruit Mike Blakely away from the University of Florida despite the fact young Blakely signed with the Gators just three months ago.  Seems like this sort of thing is occurring more and more over time, doesn’t it?

This approach can lead to questions, of course, and questions at Auburn are always answered in a slightly defensive, lawyered up, sort of way.  We, the fans of college football are left to guess and speculate as to what is really going on.

Along those speculative lines, I would like to suggest that strong evidence exists that Auburn is intentionally working a College Football Free Agency approach.  The limiting factor to such an approach (well, besides ethics, but this is Auburn, after all) is scholarship numbers.  Everyone gets only 85 schollys, and while natural attrition will occur, schools generally are maxed out on available free rides for prospective athletes.

Auburn’s innovative solution?  Just stop trying to graduate anyone.  Let them flunk out or quit or whatever, and it opens up scholarships for Free Agents.

Want some evidence that this is an increasing tactic by the Tigs?

Let’s look at SEC APR Scores for the last six years.  First, we will look at all the conference’s schools:

Let me apologize for not formatting school colors on this graph, but it ends up being a bunch of slightly different shades or red and is hard to read.  But regardless, you get the idea.  The SEC as a whole shows a pretty strong improvement from the 04-05 academic year until now.  All of the schools are either holding their own, or are making marked improvement in the graduation of their players.

Except for one school, which is strongly bucking the trend in the other direction.  Can you pick it out?  No?  Well let me limit the data to include only those schools that have been in the SEC Championship game in recent years:

Sorry, Bizarro Dawgs of MSU, I left you off this list on purpose, btw.   And while Arkansas seems perfectly happy to suck at this metric, at least they consistently suck and are not getting dramatically worse.

But anyway, can you pick out the outlier?  The school that defies the general approach of the SEC as a whole, an approach that focuses on improving the graduation rate of its athletes?

Here, I’ll help you some more:

Slight uptick there at the end – probably just statistical noise, but it’s still a pretty dramatic drop off the table, isn’t it?

Kudos, Auburn.  You’ve figured out a new and innovative way to do it.

Tell Me Its True! #teamgarcia

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE

TRC FAKE EXCLUSIVE! Hyman’s Requirements for Garcia Reinstatement

This week the HBC and Co. made the rubber chicken circuit around the state, but with a twist: no rubber chickens (other than yours truly in Gville) and lots of sweaty kids. Bunches of Fun, despite the confusing information coming out about our erstwhile starting quarterback/babe magnet Stephen Garcia. In this short span of a week, Coach Spurrier described Garcia as “on Probation” (Monday in Charleston), “probably, maybe” coming back (Wednesday in Greenville), and “still has a list of things that the AD expects him to do this summer” (Tuesday in Aiken).

This all sounded to me like the HBC wants Garcia back ASAP, but is limited right now by the AD’s requirements.  I’m also pretty well convinced that something strange is going on in the Roundhouse over this whole episode.  And I’m not the only one thinking this way.

So I did some fake digging, contacted some imaginary sources, and can offer the following absolutely guaranteed authenticity-free handwritten list that we absolutely did not obtain that shows all of Hyman’s requirements for Garcia’s reinstatement. Note that the list is (not) in Hyman’s own handwriting.

Eric’s Favorite Notepad

In the interest of bandwidth, I’ll reproduce the rest of the list without the goat background stationary (although I think a case could be made that a “goat background” is coloring this entire episode, if you know what I mean /wink /wink /nudge /wink.

Hyman’s requirements for Garcia’s Reinstatement

  • Graduate on time. (done)

  • No more brushes with the law. (done for almost four straight years)

  • Surrender flip-flops, wear sensible shoes.

  • Surrender Scooter. Ride bicycle instead. With helmet and reflective beanie.

  • Publicly drink only Light Beer Odouls Red Bull Coke Zero.

  • Shave daily, twice if you are summoned for an audience with Mrs. Hyman.

  • Watch “The Voice” on NBC and report back to the AD since it’s on after bedtime.

  • Attend Kenny Chesney concert at CLA and solve question of Zellweger annulment – wait, I think I already know what it is.

  • Find secret ingredient in Guthrie’s sauce that makes it so superior to Zaxby’s sauce.

  • Laser removal of confusing underarm tattoo, OR alteration of said tat to read “mother” or “if you are reading this, we better be married.”

  • No after-shower eye black in post game press conferences. I’ve got kids to raise, and it sets a bad bath example.

  • No more urinating. Not in public, not in private, not anywhere. Maybe you won’t be so thirsty next time, huh?

  • Full participation and completion of a Clockwork Orange-style aversion therapy course designed to extinguish interest in coeds.

  • Explain all the Bourne movies to me. Is he a good guy? Am I supposed to be pulling for the CIA director? Is it ok that Julia Stiles’ deep voice turns me on a little?

  • Once a week show up outside my bathroom window dressed in a cocktail dress. Sing”Blue Velvet” while averting your eyes.  No questions, I have my reasons.

Ranking Gamecock Opponents by Mascot Ferocity and Other Tusings

Proving people will read about and discuss just about anything football-related (guilty as charged), a couple of new lists have been released this week: the top 20 football players USC will face (subscription required, thanks again The State) and the top 20 players on USC and CTU combined (which well get deeper into a little later).

In that spirit, I was trying to think of another nonsensical, useless list that might be fun for discussion. So I came up with”Ranking the 2011 Gamecock Opponents by Mascot Ferocity”. Here we go, starting with the least ferocious:

  • 10, 9 and 8 – Bulldogs (Georgia, Mississippi State, The Citadel) the most overrated mascot in the history of athletics. Bulldogs are fat, slow, and judging by how many UGAs have bitten the dust recently, as fragile as a late-fall oak leaf. Not nearly as ferocious as legend would have it, either. Carry a 5-lb. bag of ice around with you and theyll apparently be your friends for life.

    HEYYYYYY! Who wants a white wine spritzer?!?

  • 7 – Commodores (Vanderbilt) A little fruity if you ask me. Neatly dressed, funny hat, sheathed sworddoesnt really seem prepared to battle. Looks more like an outfit for a gay (not that theres anything wrong with that) costume party. Even so, a swift kick from that patent leather boot will put a bulldog in its grave.
  • 6 – Volunteers (Tennessee) Strikes me as a bit of a hillbilly redneck Commodore. You ever shot a musket? Not exactly high-tech or particularly effective. And Im still not sure what theyre volunteering for. I can just see those beady eyes peering beneath a coonskin cap, He shore got a purdy mouth, dont he?
  • 5 – Tigers (CTU) fierce, scary animals to be sure, but they lose points because theyre trite and oh so boring. CTU loses a spot because their secondary color is purple. Still not sure who thought that was a good idea.
  • 4 – Tigers (Auburn) Navy Blue > Purple
  • 3 – Wildcat (Kentucky) Another overused mascot name, but a good one nonetheless. Anything with Wild in it is cool. Houston Nuttthought it was so cool he named an offensive formation after it, even though he was coaching the Razorbacks.
  • 2 – Razorbacks(Arkansas) now were talking. These are mean, smelly, nasty, unintelligent animals with no regard for their own well-being. Kind of like Ed Orgeron if he was not human (provided he is human). Points for originality and the fact their fan base doesnt mind being called Hogs.
  • 1 – Midshipmen (Navy) SEAL Team Six. Enough said.

Other Tusings:

  • Back to the Post & Courier ranking of the best players at USC and Clemson Tajh Boyd at number seven? Really? And seven spots ahead of Stephen Garcia? Thats a good way to lose credibility in a hurry. Other surprises any freshman on the list, and Bruce Ellington, who hasnt put on the pads for almost two years.
  • After a third loss in four SEC games for USC on Friday night, I have to admit I was thought it was the beginning of the end for 2011 USC baseball. Too many injuries and not enough starting pitching would be our downfall. But lo and behold, Scott Wingo gave us another highlight-reel moment with a walk-off solo homer on Saturday. The confidence carried over to Sunday in spankingarguably the best team in the SEC West. Its getting hard to doubt this Gamecock baseball team.
  • The Darren Horn to Murray State rumors cracked me up, but Im not exactly sure why that he might actually entertain that move, or the fact that I woudnt be that bothered by it. Either way, it shows what a steaming pile our program has become.
  • The TV series Friday Night Lights is drawing to a close, and if youre a football fan and a TV fan and youre not watching it, youre missing out. Do yourself a favor and catch up at Hulu or get your hands on the DVDs. (Side note: I chased down Coach Taylors wife on a New York City street a few years ago to tell her how much I appreciated her assets the show.)
  • Finally, here is an exclusive video clip of a confrontation between Eric Hyman and Stephen Garcia. Enjoy.

Day Late and Dollar Short Tusings (Wusings?)

Tusingshave become Wusings (shorter and a day late) this week due to a hectic work week, but here are some things that have crossed our minds:

  • The much and oft-maligned Stephen Garcia graduated from college last week, which is more than can be said for a lot of D-I football players that wasted their scholarships. That has to really stick in the craw of the reporters and bloggers who cant wait to file their next story about what a screw-up he is.
  • The Gamecock baseball team has done a remarkable job of hanging in there all season, but hopefully the series loss at Ole Miss isnt a portent of things to come. Without reliable second and third starters, and without more consistency at the plate, its going to be tough to hang on to that national seed, and even tougher to make it back to Omaha. Hopefully Ray Tanner has some more duct tape handy.
  • The next next Herschel Walker (Isaiah Crowell) just moved up a spot on the depth chart after the previous next Hershel Walker (WashaunEaley) was granted his unconditional release from UGA. Of course, the previous previous next Herschel Walker (Caleb King) is still in the mix. This would be a whole lot simpler if UGA would ask its next big running back recruit to legally change his name to Herschel Walker.

    Will the next Herschel Walker please stand up? /every UGA running back since 1982 rises to feet

  • It looks like Russell Wilson might wind up atWisconsin?!? Despite the success of the Heisman winner last year, I guess one-year quarterback rentals have failed to catch on as the rage for 2011.
  • Dont look now, but it appears Clemson is a football basketball baseball track & field womens lacrosse GOLF school!
  • Prepare to be upset ye merry sports fans, for the Miami Heat are (is?) going to win the NBA Title. In other news, the NBA playoffs are going on right now. In other othernews, the NBA still exists. I know because I saw it on ESPN looking for the Delaware State spring football game.

The TRCcrew will be participating in its annual spring bass fishing tournament this weekend, so if youre not following us on Twitter (@rubrchickens), please do so. Well be sending periodic updates and possibly lunker photos. DOESNT THAT SOUND EXCITING!!!!!

Just Say No to Russell Wilson and Other Tusings

Over the weekend we learned that Russell Wilson had been released from his scholarship at NC State and essentially is now a college free agent. The two schools being tossed around pretty consistently as possible transfer destinations are South Carolina and Auburn. (Not sure why Ole Miss is not the number one option here, but maybe the Right Reverend Nutt is playing it cool, or maybe Wilson has made it known he wants to go somewhere where he can contribute AND win.)

Thanks but no thanks, Russell.

One thing I feel is certain if Stephen Garcia is reinstated (#freegarcia) then there is no reason for South Carolina to entertain the thought of bringing Wilson in. Garcia has now been at South Carolina and in Steve Spurriers offensive system for approximately twelve years, and despite his bi-monthly foibles is unquestionably the guy to lead the offense in 2011. Plus, Garcia is highly durable and doesnt give up snaps to back-ups easily. Im sure Wilson doesnt want to spend his final year of football holding a clip board, and the USC staff is not interested in any distraction and/or controversy that would follow.

If Garcia is NOT reinstated (and apparently the guys at FitsNews are the only people who think this is a possibility), then the Wilson option becomes more viable. However, how many of these one-year, D1transfers have actually worked in the past? (The guy who played for Auburn last year doesnt count he was a JUCO, and a freak of nature.) Im thinking Jeremiah Masoli at Ole Miss and Sam Keller at Nebraska as recent examples. Good ideas on the surface that didnt work out so well.

I believe Connor Shaw is more than capable in the absence of Garcia, and bringing in Wilson (who by all accounts is a good guy) could turn into a major headache for everyone involved and create a chemistry disaster in the locker room.

Some other Tuesday musings:

  • Joe Person still has a way with wordsa way of even making a charity kickball game negative and depressing.
  • I was much more shocked that CTUhad seven player drafted than I was that USC only had two.To paraphrasewhatSpurriersaid about UGA in the Ray Goff days- they keep getting all these good players, and I dont know what happens when they get there.
  • I feel bad for Tori Gurley, and Im not sure I understand why a South Carolina fan wouldnt. The guy is 23 and probably wouldnt improve his draft stock by coming back and playing beside Alshon Jeffery again. He took a calculated risk, and it didnt pay off. He didnt screw us, didnt betray us, didnt turn his back on us. I hope he catches on as a FA and kicks some ass.
  • Same hope goes out to Garrett Chisholm and JarrielKing those two guys have gone through quite a lot in their short lives. Last but not least, Pat DiMarco is going to make some NFL team very happy.
  • Baseball continues to chug along despite losing an outfielder a week. Have you ever seen so many guys go down on one team in a season? Despite all that, they continue to find ways to win and ease closer to a national seed. Amazing job by Ray Tanner, and an amazing team effort by all the kids.
  • By the way, are we saving Jose Mata for the postseason or something? Where the heck has he been?

God Bless America.

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