Monthly Archives: August 2011
I had the privilege of answering ten questions about the 2011 edition of the South Carolina football team with our friends over at Leftover Hot Dog today. They only published five though, I guess because the other five were either profanity-laced or delved a little too much into my opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Since LOHD prefers to remain family-friendly and politics-free, I certainly respect their decision.
Anyhoo, check it out if you get a chance.
Yes, the title is a reference to the new Captain Morgan’s advertising campaign, and was way too easy. Basically, the thought process went like this: East Carolina. Mascot? Pirate. Pirates? Captain Morgan? /Strikes pose in head. Oh, and Marisa Miller.
Much as we did last year with the Mighty Mustard Buzzards, we here at TRC thought it would be a good idea to educate those of you who might not be familiar with our 2011 opening game opponent, the Pirates of East Carolina University.
First, a little geography. You are all probably familiar with the two directional states of North Carolina and South Carolina. But a little known fact is that the original King’s Charter established three colonies between Virginia and the Penal Colony: North, South and EAST. We quote from the original language of the Charter of 1665:“Know ye, That we, of our further grace, certain knowledge, and mere motion, have thought fit to annex the same tract of ground or territory unto the same province of Carolina; and out of the fullness of our royal power and prerogative, we do, for us, our heirs and successors, annex and unite the same to the said province of Carolina. Oh, and we also hereby grant and create a colony called East Carolina, which no one will ever wish to visit, both because of the frequent and repetitive hurricanes, and the nasty-ass barbeque made therein. Also, the people are hideously ill-groomed.”
The colony managed to go unnoticed through both the Revolutionary and Civil wars, and was only rediscovered by Thomas Jordan Jarvis, a former Governor of North Carolina. Governor Jarvis was so roundly despised by polite society that he was forced to flee into the eastern wilderness, where he accidently stumbled upon the lost colony. As he was most assuredly drunk, he determined to found a college on the spot, and in 1907 was able to get the General Assembly to agree, provided that he never came back home.
Originally called East Carolina Teachers Training School, the school was tasked in its Charter with training “young men and women,” yet only admitted females for its first twenty years of existence. This is puzzling until you spend a long weekend on the campus, where the local coeds can still teach you a thing or two. Here we note that it is of no small coincidence that the school’s motto is Servire, the Latin form of the English verb “To Serve.”
What with the compliant women and the lower academic standards, ECTTS was long spurned by the more genteel North Carolina University System. But in 1972, the stench of the place grew so odious that the boys in the State Capital decided to take action, incorporating the school and renaming it East Carolina University. By all surprised accounts, ECU has flourished, and is now either the 2nd or the 3rd largest school in the North Carolina system (depending, of course, on whether or not you allow NC State to count their livestock/prostitutes).
As alluded-to above, the ECU mascot is The Pirate, formerly known as “PeeDee the Pirate.” The ECU Administration dropped “PeeDee” when it was discovered that most of the namesake Pee Dee River was actually located in South Carolina. Again, book learning is not their strong suit.
Athletically, ECU benefits from both the higher admission standards and the complete recruiting idiocy of the Research Triangle schools. The Pirates have enjoyed recent marquee victories over teams the rest of us destroy with regularity, but we try not to rain on their earnest little purple-clad parade. The Pirates are led by former somewhere-or-other’s offensive assistant, Ruffin McNeil, who created something of a stir at ECU by installing a fast-break offense and absolutely no defense. He also apparently hit an old gypsy woman with his car sometime last spring, but we try not to comment on weight issues.
One more thing about the ECU Pirates:
They have balls.
Unlike some of their more gentle neighbors (cough) Tarheels (cough), the Pirates will play ANYONE ANYWHERE and will never run from a fight. For this tenacity we salute them, both because it reminds us of ourselves in our pre-SEC days, and because it stands in such marked contrast with their powder-blue clad neighbors.
Oh, and only slightly off-topic: You all get that Jack Sparrow is gay, right? I mean, it’s not a big deal to me–more power to the guy, I say. But I just want to make sure we are all on the same page.
When I heard a while back East Carolina University had been added to our football schedule, I couldn’t help but cringe a little. Even though eleven football seasons have come and gone since we played them last, they still give me the heebie jeebies.
It’s easy to pinpoint why: the decade of the 90’s.
I was a fairly young Buck then, paying a large portion of my small salaries every year to purchase season tickets to USC games, drive to USC games, tailgate at USC games, all with the hope we were going to turn the corner and become relevant in college football under Woods/Scott/Holtz. The vast majority of those seasons turned sour, and many of those sour seasons had a common denominator – the ECU Pirates.
(For those of you who were die-hard Gamecock fans in the 90’s, I apologize for opening the following wounds. For those of you who weren’t but are now, avert your eyes.)
In 1990 we beat East Carolina 37-7, and we held an 8-0 series lead over the Pirates. We were supposed to beat ECU, every year, no exceptions. But after that 1990 game, things didn’t go so good:
- 1991 – ECU 31, USC 20 – One of two games played in Greenville, NC (this one in front of 33,000 fans), and the first of many times we said to ourselves, “We can’t be losing to East Carolina.” Final record: 3-6-2. (Remember ties?)
- 1992 – ECU 20, USC 18 – Celebrating 100 years of Carolina football, USC had TWO chances to win this game with a field goal. Marty Simpson’s first attempt from 36 yards was blocked but recovered by the Gamecocks. Since it was not fourth down he had another attempt from 37 yards, but missed. Final record: 5-6 (after an 0-5 start)
- 1993 – USC 27, ECU 3 – Finally, the long national nightmare is over. But it wasn’t enough to save Sparky. Final record: 4-7
- 1994 – ECU 56, USC 42 – Enter Brad Scott. I’ve sat through a lot of painful games at Williams Brice, but this ranks right near the top. We were 4-1, coming off a victory over LSU in Baton Rouge the week before. In the fourth quarter of this game it looked like we were playing with four guys on defense. The next week we would lose to Mississippi State 41-36. The signs that Brad Scott was awful were there, but we let the glory of our first bowl victory overwhelm us. Final record: 7-5
- 1996 – ECU 23, USC 7 – We were 2-0, had Anthony Wright and Duce Staley, and were coming off a huge, emotional victory over UGA. This game was played in an absolute deluge. The steps at W-B were like waterfalls, and somehow a dude for ECU named Scott Harley rushed for 291 yards. We finished with six wins, but didn’t go to a bowl, which made this loss all the more painful. Final record: 6-5
- 1997 – USC 26, ECU 0 – Me, the Gman and a couple of other people actually made the trip to
MogadishuGreenville, NC, to see this one in person. I have no idea what we were thinking, but fortunately things turned out all right since we didn’t get shot or stabbed. Oh, and we won. Anthony Wright would get his knee shredded a few weeks later at Tennessee to put that season in the dumper. Final record: 5-6
- 1999 – ECU 21, USC 3 – <all records of this game and season have been stricken>
Now, there is no lesson here, no moral of the story. I still look at this game on this year’s schedule and think “win”. I feel much better about that in 2011 than I did in the 90’s, because many years have passed, and the players and coaches are different. Thankfully, much different. And much better.
I just needed a little purging of my soul to get ready for Saturday.
We encourage you to listen if you want to hear:
- Why the Gman was late to the show
- Why we should/should not fear ECU
- A couple of our USC “first game” memories
- Why we may lose 2 out of 3 to MSU, UT, and Arkansas (but win the rest)
- Why we need to let Travis Haney go…LET HIM GO
And next week we’ll have some real football to review, amirite?
Is there anything more mind-numbingly banal than preseason football predictions? What, dinner with your in-laws, you say? Well, yes – that is worse, but other than that? Anything involving Piers Morgan? Right, good point. But otherwise? Americans who follow English League Soccer? Well-played, sir, but if you don’t shut it and get behind the meme of this post, then we’re never gonna get to the inevitable preseason predictions that I’m trying so hard to describe to you allthewhile asserting my feigned dislike.
So work with me, people.
We tried to look at our preseason predictions in a slightly different way than others around the interwebs. Our methodology, while ultimately akin to monkeys throwing darts at the stock pages, is elegant in its contrived complexity, to wit: Each of the three members of TRC gave a predicted score for each contest. An average margin of victory (or defeat) was then calculated, and the result ranked by highest to lowest. The resulting list then gives a good idea of our hive-mind guess at the general difficulty of each opponent, which we then ranked from the relatively easy to frustratingly difficult. Does this system really tell us anything? Well, no – but neither does Piers Morgan.
EXCELSIOR, WE BEGIN!
1. The Citadel. No, we don’t remember. No, we don’t care. No, we won’t listen to you tell us about this one time when lalalalalala we can’t hear you lalalalalalalal. MARGIN: 40 points
2. Kentucky. That’s right – freakin’ Kentucky is the 2nd easiest opponent we face this year per our intricate and arbitrary calculation. What is that you say, they beat us last year? Sorry, I’m unable to process that information given the ten consecutive beatdowns we administered to the ‘Cats in the years previous. No Cheesy Biscuits for UK this year. MARGIN: 35 points
3. Navy. Again, I’m not listening to your defeatist drivel. Yes, I know. Yes, I remember. But that was a different team in a different situation and with not even a different Marcus Lattimore. MARGIN: 20 points
4. Vanderbilt. During their last scrimmage, Head Commodore James Franklin called back a sixty-yard pick six for what he deemed “excessive celebration.” Yes, he really did that. During a scrimmage, no less. In defense of his players, I would point out that they haven’t had anything else to be excited about in years. MARGIN: 19 points
5. East Carolina. I am amazed the Pirates are only the fifth-weakest team we play, at least based on our established methodology (which I now wish to discard). MARGIN: 17 points
6. CTU. ECU, CTU, I can’t tell them apart anymore. Both wear purple for some reason, and now both run fancy fast-break offenses. Good luck with that, signed Southern Miss. MARGIN: 13 points
7. Auburn. CAM CAM CAM CAM CAM – wait we can stop doing that now, right? I mean the ESPN football overlords have decided to move on, correct? This team has a putrid pass defense (think: ours) and will be without a slew of offensive linemen, including the one who won the Heisman last year. MARGIN: 9 points
8. Georgia. They are now awesome again, in case you haven’t heard. Repeatedly. And without a shred of justification. MARGIN: 7 points
9. Florida. Would love to play them early in the year as I think the transition from Urban Finesse to Weiss Largesse will be comical at the start. By the end of the year they will revert to the spread and a modicum of competency, and we will have a game on our hands. MARGIN: 3 points
10. Mississippi State. The game is in Starkville, where even fluffy kittens get bored and die of despair. The HBC hates the place, and so do we. MARGIN: 1 point
11. Tennessee. Difficult game based on both our past history in Knoxville, and the ridiculous irony of having them potentially upset us. Oh, and Coach Graham is really a Volmanchurian Candidate for just this eventuality. MARGIN: -1 point
12. Arkansas. Our Assistant Head Coach in Charge of Defense says they are unstoppable. Who are we to question The Silver Fox: MARGIN: – 6 points.
So, based on our TRC-As-Borg-Collective calculating method, the 2011 Gamecocks are looking at a 9-3/10-2 type of year.
Not. Too. Shabby.
Oh, and seriously, shut up about the Citadel and Navy.
[note, individual TRC member predictions can be found here]
UPDATE!!!: Through the work of our crack team of investigatory correspondents, we here at TRC have verified the authenticity of the above photo, and can also report that UT Head Coach Derek Dooley uses this catchphrase often. Below we offer photographic evidence of six other documented instances of the same or similar phrase. Note the actual quotes will follow the photo montage:
Quotes from Coach Dooley (clockwise from top, left):
1. As I often tell our players, “Opportunity is Nowhere.” Next question, please.
2. [thinking] Where was Opportunity again? With thirteen players in there for goal-line D, it might be Nowhere.
3. Opportunity walks into a bar with Nowhere on its head. Bartender says “What’s with you, bub?” Nowhere says “Eh, having a bad day, ’cause I got Opportunity stuck to my ass.” Hello? Is this thing on?
4. I get this call from Opportunity, so I ask it: Where are you? You know what it tells me? It says “Nowhere.” Next question, please.
5. You see this space between my hands, men? This is Nowhere. And that is where your Opportunity is. OK? Opportunity is Nowhere on three!
6. “GOODSWEETFANCYMOSESDANGNABIT, Do you think you’ve got an Opportunity, son? Well, with play like that, I’ll tell you where your Opportunity is – ITS NOWHERE!
In case you missed the live podcast last night, the show is archived here:
Topics covered include:
- Does Miami deserve the death penalty? Would you party with Nevin Shapiro?
- Scrimmage report from the Gman, who says calm down, the offense will be just fine.
- Gman and Tbone tell everyone to chill on the Clowney expectations, while I refuse to chill.
- The legacy of Steve Spurrier heading into year seven.
Give a listen, and give us some feedback. We’ll be back at it next Sunday.