Monthly Archives: February 2012

“UGA Player Put Hashbrowns in Her Pants”

I thought pretty hard about a headline for this story, but then the realization hit me that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and sometimes you just shouldn’t screw with a great headline.  And folks, this is an all-timer:

Now, this story raises so many questions about this situation and the poor, unfortunate co-ed who put hashbrowns down her pants.  Chief among them:

  • What kind of pants are we talking about here? Exercise pants? Soccer pants? Capris? Jeans? Not skinny jeans obviously…well, maybe that’s not so obvious.  This whole hashbrowns in the pants thing is so precedent setting.
  • Did the pants have pockets? Did she put the hashbrowns in a pocket and the writers are having a little fun with the story? Or did she literally pull out her waistband and stick hashbrowns IN HER PANTS.
  • Front, back or side?  This is an important fact that is being left out.  There are places in a girls pants where you just don’t want to put hashbrowns…like EVERYWHERE.
  • The story says she had money to pay for the hashbrowns.  Carli, honey, why didn’t you pay for the hashbrowns?
  • Hashbrowns can be seriously greasy…just not even going to go down that path.
  • Who did she call first?  “Mom, I got arrested.  No, I tried to steal hashbrowns by sticking them in my pants.  Yes, your signal is fine, and I did say I tried to steal hashbrowns by sticking them in my pants.”
  • If you didn’t know about this story, and you heard a UGA athlete was arrested for sticking hashbrowns in their pants, how many guesses as to which sport it was would you make before you said WOMEN’S SOCCER?
  • Why was she taken to jail for trying to steal $1.06 worth of cafeteria hashbrowns?  Couldn’t the cops have spared her the humiliation and just said, “Young lady, don’t put hashbrowns in your pants again.”

I’m sure Ms. Shultis is completely mortified by this whole situation and never wants to show her face in public again.  But in time she will realize this is a golden (no pun intended) opportunity to cash in. 

Go on talk shows.  Do radio interviews. 

Contact Jimmy Kimmel for a recurring “things you shouldn’t stick in your pants” segment on his show.

Come out with a t-shirt that says “Have you seen my hashbrowns?”  I’d buy one.

Heck, come out with a line of pants with a secret “hashbrown pocket”.

I’m available to be your agent Ms. Shultis, I think you could really scatter and smother this thing into a big payday.  I’ll only take 10%.

Or some free hashbrowns.

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Alshon’s Great Disappearing Act

No matter the knocks on Alshon Jeffery over the course of the past year – too fat, too slow, can’t separate – Gamecock fans, including myself, have always considered #1 a lock for the first round fo the NFL Draft.  Heck, I would’ve even bet a significant amount of cash the he would be a top 15 pick, even after a sub-sub-par junior season.
 
But after basically no-showing at the NFL Combine, you have to wonder what he and his advisors were thinking.
 
The weekend started off well enough, when Jeffery came in for measurements and weighed in at a svelte 216 lbs., well below the 230 lbs. or so at which he was rumored to be packing.  The fact he was measured at 6’3″ tall instead of his listed height all three years at USC – 6’4″ – seemed to be a non-issue.
 
Then there was the announcement that he would not be running the 40 at the combine.  OK, fine.  Justin Blackmon, considered to be the only receiver better than Jeffery in this year’s crop, wasn’t running either due to a bum hamstring. 
 
But then came the shocking news that Jeffery wouldn’t be doing ANYTHING at the combine.  No bench press, no vertical, no route-running, no over-the-shoulder catches, nada, nothing.
 
What did the NFL folks think of this?  Not much.  Not much at all.  Gil Brandt, a long-time NFL talent evaluator, said this about the situation:

I am disappointed.  Jeffery will be able to do the same drills at South Carolina’s pro day on March 28, but it won’t be nearly as well attended by NFL personnel as the combine.  The guy had a chance to show what he can do. Right now, there is a lot of apprehension about the guy. I can’t tell you why the guy wouldn’t run or work out.      

Then today, Peter King of Sports Illustrated, maybe the most in-the-know media guy there is when it comes to the NFL, wrote in his Monday Morning Quarterback column:

The receiver order: Looks like Justin Blackmon and Michael Floyd of Notre Dame will be the only wideouts in round one, unless (Stephen) Hill sneaks in there. Reuben Randle of LSU and Rutgers’ Mohamed Sanu (the Bucs and new coach Greg Schiano want him) could go 4-5 unless Baylor’s Kendall Wright overcomes a lousy combine.

Notice anyone missing?  Is it possible that by not working out at the combine Alshon has dropped from the second receiver taken to the sixth?  And if he’s the sixth receiver taken, is it out of the question he drops all the way to the third round? 
 
One of the big knocks on Alshon was taken care of when he stepped on the scale on Friday.  
 
But by not working out with the other receivers over the weekend, he came off as if he’s hiding something.  NFL folks don’t like that, and unfortunately Alshon is probably going to pay by sliding down the draft board.   
 
Unless he has one helluva Pro Day.    
 

 

Two for Tuesday

Witness new UNC head man, Larry Fedora, react to a couple of junior commitments (video from WRAL.com):

Two Things here:
1.  Has Fedora gone full-blown Dabo?  Is this the new template for the behavior of a head coach?  If so, a little bit of me just died.
2. Someone has forgotten everything they are supposed to know about NCAA Division I recruiting restrictions from Section 13.10 et seq (publicly commenting on a recruit, publicizing a prospective student athlete before signing, and participation by media members in recruiting visit, etc).  The Tarheels are currently on probation, right?

The Garnet Army of One

When Darrin Horn came to South Carolina as head basketball coach, he brought a youthful energy to a stale program.  Exactly what you would expect a youthful coach to do, right?  To his credit he got the students involved, and was instrumental in the formation of the “Garnet Army” student section.  Decked out in garnet and black camo, the students who had the pleasure of getting seats close to the court created a true home atmosphere for the team.  Horn even gave lessons on how and when to cheer, and encouraged the crowd to yell “THREEEEE” when a player launched a shot from beyond the arc.  The Garnet Army received a lot of air time when the Gamecocks were televised, with perhaps the pinnacle of their fanhood was in a 2009 victory over #1-ranked Kentucky:

Gman has been to the majority of the basketball games this season, bless his tiny black little heart, and the first thing he always points out is how small the crowds have gotten.  Also pointing this out Saturday to his national audience on mocksession.com was Timothy Burke, also known as @bubbaprog on Twitter.  Here is the screen capture from the SEC broadcast, which he posted under the heading “SEC Basketball: CATCH THE FEVER”:

Now, I don’t expect our crowds to be as good for a late season game against average competition like Georgia or LSU as I expect it to be for best team in the country.  However, I would hope to see more seats filled than not, especially in the student section.  Is that unreasonable to ask?

Gman took a couple of shots from the games last week.  Against Georgia the “Garnet Army” looked more like a platoon (or maybe even a squad depending on how many people went to concessions at the same time):

And then against LSU, when the student section was reduced to…that’s right…a Garnet Army of One:

We Have No Objection, Your Honor.

Have you ever been in a courtroom to watch a guilty plea hearing? It’s a tension-filled environment, and for many reasons. But I can tell you from personal experience (as a PROFESSIONAL - geeze, people!) that much of the tension felt by the participants is that some other participant will go off-script and annoy the judge. The prosecutor is worried about law enforcement, the defense attorney is worried about his client, and both are worried that the victim might sound off at the wrong time. All these concerns are based on hard experience won from similar past events, where someone speaks out of turn and the judge rejects the deal that everyone worked so long and hard to reach.

And so it is after this weekend, which saw the HBC, Dr. Pastides, and the-guy-who-hires-and-fires-the-men’s-basketball-coach all fly out to the golden hills of Los Angeles to appear before the NCAA Committee on Infractions. The Gamecock delegation was summoned to explain to the higher-ups just how several of our football players could have possibly negotiated leases at a local apartment complex, and how an alumnus could dare to go to work for a not-for-profit that helps young basketball hopefuls.

By all accounts Carolina had an impressive package deal worked out, which would see us fall on our swords and admit wrongdoing, pay a fine, cut a couple/three scholarships, and promise to . . . I don’t know here, maybe not let our players sign apartment leases or not let the private companies that own those lease get lax if someone misses a payment, or maybe prohibit our graduates from going on to work with at-risk youth.

Regardless, the collective wisdom out there on the internet strongly recommends that we all hold our tongues (or keyboards, or whatever) and hope that we don’t inadvertently say something that will anger the NCAA. The governing body is just itching to slam us, I guess, and we would all be wise to avoid giving them an excuse. So, I won’t go off-script. I won’t put the deal at risk.

 Y’all can all relax.

 I won’t suggest that the entire investigation was a stinking pile of dog poo trumped up by a local sports reporter high on hair gel. I promise, I won’t.

And I won’t even point out the bitter irony that we are currently on probation for improperly tutoring (yes, that’s right) prospective student athletes while one of our conference foes suffered no admonition when it recently won a coveted BCS crystal with a player that was widely recognized as having been bought by the highest bidder.

 I won’t point out to the NCAA that the fact they know EXACTLY what and whom I was alluding to in the above-paragraph is just another example of how feckless and annoying their whole system of justice is. I won’t even go there.

I will absolutely refrain from rehashing all the evidence that Clemson Tiger University, a football program built on open and blatant paying of players, is still paying players getting wads of cash from rich aunts winning the lottery on NSD just foolin with around with money and a camera today with no apparent negative attention.

I won’t dare point out that the most storied programs out there – the Bama’s and the Miami’s and the Southern Cal’s – all seem to cheat at every turn, and when the stench of their abuses finally grows so distinct that even the NCAA overlords can’t blame it on the dog any longer, the punishments that are handed down don’t seem to put a dent in the strange competitive advantages those schools enjoy.

I won’t call the system a joke, or the penalties asininely inconsistent.

No, I’ll just keep my head down, stay on the script, and hope the judge accepts the deal.

A Quick Tribute to The Jake

Word came down yesterday that Jake Williams would not be a part of the 2012 Gamecock baseball team.  The vague and speculation-fueling “personal reasons” was given.  Whatever the case may be, we owe Jake a hearty Thank You for the greatest throw in Gamecock baseball history.

Enjoy.

Big Thanks to Baseball America (Again)

"Sure he's good, but he's not GOOD good if you know what we mean." - Baseball America (probably)

Baseball America’s Preseason 2012 College All-Star Teams are out and guess who’s NOT on the First, Second, or Third teams?  That’s right – two time College World Series hero, 2011 National ERA leader (1.10), and post-season BA first-team All-American, Michael Roth.

Based on these opening sentences, you would think that we at TRC are miffed by this obvious omission.  Well, think again.  We follow BA pretty closely and think a lot of Aaron Fitt and their college baseball coverage.  We really do.  That said, we are thanking BA for yet again giving Roth and the Gamecock baseballers some motivation.

Sure, BA came up with an entirely new category of featured players call “Roth Stars,” headlined by none other than – you guessed it - Michael Roth.  These “Roth Stars” are guys BA considers great college baseball players but not “top propects.”

Well, there it is again.  While Roth is a “great” pitcher, he’s not a “top prospect” in the eyes of BA.  This line of thinking by BA is oh-so-familiar around here, and quite frankly just what the Doctor ordered.

I remember a couple of years ago when Blake Cooper was left off all of BA’s post season All-America teams while guys like Drew Pomeranz (First Team) and Gerrit Cole (Second Team)  were selected.  What happened next?  Well, I think we all remember Blake beating UCLA (with Cole on the mound, no less) on three days rest in Game 1 of the CWS Finals. (Oh, for good measure Cooper out dueled Pomeranz as the Gamecocks beat Ole Miss in a masterpiece earlier that season.)

That CWS performance, as well as the 2010 National Championship by the Gamecocks, were chalked up by BA as gritty overachievements by a team of only modest talent.  In 2011, there was more of the same from BA.  Sure, the Gamecocks were pretty good, but the talent at UVA, Vanderbilt, and Florida (whoa, those STUDS at Florida) was going to be too much.

Even UConn was considered by BA to be superior to the 2011 Gamecocks.  I remember listening to a BA Super Regional Preview podcast where Fitt and John Manuel couldn’t resist picking the uber-talented Huskies with future first-rounder George Springer and some 6-6 pitcher who threw something like 150 mph over the “good” but “at the end of the line” Gamecocks.  (Lest you guys forgot, the Cocks swept Springer and his mates).

In the 2011 CWS, BA continued to fawn over anyone not in a Gamecock uniform.  After all, UVA, with BA’s All-American Boy Danny Hultzen, was on our side of the bracket.  There was no way we were going to come out of it.

“Nice work Gamecocks, but here’s where you get off” was the attitude of the BA guys.   Of course, BA foresaw a UVA-Florida final since those teams (like UCLA the year before with Cole and ESPN Wunderkind Trevor “I’m the Greatest But I Never Pitched” Bauer) had all the “top prospects.”  Well, after disposing of UVA, the scrappy, David-like Gamecocks slew the Goliath-like Gators  in two games (including one with Mr. Less than Top Prospect Michael Roth on the mound).  So much for those BA prognostications.

We realize that the Gamecock baseball program has gotten some love.  Heck, BA featured Roth on the cover of its season preview magazine.  Thanks BA, but thanks also for continuing to devalue the Gamecocks on occasion.  This team seems to thrive on the notion that the establishment continues to doubt the ability of guys like Roth (there’s no mention of Matt Price either).

BA and others get all caught up in “measurables” and “draftability” when picking All-Star teams.  What writers sometimes overlook are the intangibles like desire, work ethic, and attitude that make a good player into a great player.  Remember that First-team BA All-American Mark Zunino sailed a key throw into center field last year in Game 1 of the CWS Finals.  Compare that to the stellar defense played by the “no names” on the Gamecock roster.  Guys like Wingo, Beary, and Williams.

So, thank you BA for lumping Roth in on the “Roth Stars”, while including some guy from Duke who won 3 games last year compared to Roth’s 12 on your AA team.  It’s ok.  It really is.  The Gamecock baseball team needs to remain anti-establishment as long as it can.  That’s our edge.  It’s what sets us apart.

Oh, and here’s hoping that Greg Maddux has a son one day who looks kind of scrawny and doesn’t throw too hard. Could be our future #1 starter.

TRC Caption Contest

Actual, non-retouched, screencap from the website of our favorite, loveable, CTU Head Cheerleader.

Please provide your own caption:

Ask TRC: The Case of the Addled AD

As a new feature of TRC, and because the college sports world is dead as a doornail at the moment, we have decided to sift through the thousands of hundreds of dozens of email question we received this week and actually take the time to provide an answer.  After all, we have a civic duty to share with the general public the unending wealth of know-it-all-ness that has been bestowed upon us.  So please send us your email questions and from time to time we will maybe think about possibly answering. As always, your privacy is of utmost importance to us, so only your first name, last initial, and city and state will be shared.

This week’s question comes to us from Eric:

 Dear TRC,

I am the athletic director at a major university in the state of South Carolina that plays in the Southeastern Conference, and am coming up on a huge decision on whether or not to keep my men’s basketball coach.  A few years ago, I had to relieve the previous head coach because of consistently average performance.  He only made it to one NCAA tournament in eight years, and had just come off two consecutive losing seasons.  I will confess that this coach did win back-to-back NIT Championships while in our employ, but in my mind winning the NIT is about like being the smartest person at a Clemson football banquet.  Sure, it sounds impressive, but once you look at the competition it turns out to not be such a big deal.

Anyway, we relieved said coach of his duties, and proceeded to hire a guy who looked like a real up-and-comer from a mid-major school that had just finished a run to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.  He hadn’t really been a hot commodity prior to the tournament, but I admit it’s easy to get caught up in all that March Madness hype and Gus Johnson screaming through the TV like he’s fallen from an airplane.  I was mesmerized, and we brought the guy and his up-tempo style and purported recruiting prowess to our school.  

His first year went pretty well, as he led the team to a 21-10 record, and even though we lost in the first round of the NIT to a school from North Carolina (all schools from North Carolina are really really good in basketball) we felt like the program was on the right track.  Fan support was the best it had been in years, and I thought the hire was a real home run (sorry for the baseball reference, but I love that sport).  

But the last three years our teams have been progressively worse.  In his fourth year the team is 9-15 and in last place in the conference by two games.  Our recruiting class for next year has fallen apart, attendance is embarrassingly low, and unless the young guys on the team now learn to shoot, pass and rebound in the next few months, 2012-2013 doesn’t look much better.

There’s only a small faction of supporters for this coach now, and their only reasoning seems to be that they don’t want to start over again with a new coach.  They’re asking for patience. 

Oh, and one last thing I should mention – in our excitement early on we accidentally gave this coach a contract extension and his buyout is currently $2 million dollars if I fire him.  The good news is the buyout drops to $1.5 million in April.  

Help me TRC, what should I do?

Sincerely,

Eric H., Columbia, SC

Dear Eric,

Sounds like quite a mess you have yourself in there.  Hopefully your other sports are in much better shape than basketball.

My first piece of advice – don’t do contract negotiations/extensions while drinking.

Second, the world of sports in 2012 is a “win now” business.  A coach might not have to win big right away – unless they’re at a school like Kentucky, North Carolina or Kansas – but it’s reasonable to expect steady progress after four years.  And to be in last place in the SEC, a conference that hasn’t exactly been lighting it up in basketball recently, after four years on the job is simply not acceptable.  I don’t care about history or tradition, you have to be better than that.

It’s a tough call, Eric, and I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes.  But think about next year and the year after.  What if you keep coming in last, and people continue to stay away from your games?  What about the impact in ticket sales, and the overall perception of your program?  One and a quarter million dollars is a painful price to pay, but the long-term price could be much higher if you bet on this guy long-term and lose.  Plus, starting over isn’t always such a bad thing.

Let him go, Eric.  And give your wife the keys to the scotch cabinet.

Sincerely,

Ask TRC

Things That Are Kinda Like Other Things

You know what would be a bad idea?  A really, really BAD idea?

Trying to foist a football rivalry on two schools that have only played each other a couple/three times and are separated by almost 900 miles, that’s a BAD idea.  It seems forced.  It seems desperate.  It seems amateurish.

It seems to imply that we don’t have rivalries, when in fact we have rivalries galore.  Our rivalry with CTU to the side (I mean, at some point don’t they have to actually beat us in a major sport again to qualify this as a rivalry? (Tweet that.  (yes I’m now in the third parenthetical thought (deal with it)))) we still have a pretty heated contest each year with the folks up in Athens.  And the UT/SC Halloween game is always a spectacle.  The HBC has added a dimension to the UF/SC tilt.  And then we have the natural rivalry that pops up every year with whatever North Carolina school volunteers for their inevitable spanking.

All of this notwithstanding, SC President Harris Pastides suggested this week that the Missouri/South Carolina football game should have a traveling trophy and be called “The Battle for Columbia.”

The idea is based, apparently, on the fact that our two universities are located in cities with the same name.   Nevermind that we call ours “Cola” while they call their’s “CoMo.”  Forget that the football history between the two schools includes basically two games – both of which found the Gamecock players completely losing interest at halftime. And forget that the mean temperature of Columbia, MO is a cool 64 degrees while the same measurement is never even taken in Columbia, SC (our thermometers melt every July). Pastides believes we MUST have a football rivalry!

Count me as a solid “Nay” vote on this proposition.

Or wait, lets go the OTHER way – lets make EVERYONE our rival based on random similarities between completely disconnected facts.  For Example:

- Battle for the Tailgate:  South Carolina’s Fairgrounds and The Grove at Ole Miss

- Battle for the Bag of Fried Chicken:  We have a Bojangles right next to the Stadium and CTU has a Chick-fila on its campus – wait, it doesn’t?

- Battle for the Towns that Sherman Burned Down:  Savannah doesn’t have D1 football, so I’ll go with SC/GTech

- Battle for the Holtz:  SC/Arkansas (although Lou still loves us and hate the stinking hog crap outa them for some reason)

- Battle for the Blowfish:  We had Hootie, Kansas had Mangino

- Battle for the Base:  We can see Fort Jackson, The Cuban National Soccer Team can see Gitmo.

See how ridiculous it is to partner random similarities and try to extract some meaning?

Dr. Pastides, let me offer the following illustration to assist you in discussing our rivalries.  Starting with the top left and traveling clockwise around the photo below, our rivals must 1) have fans in line there today, 2) be located east of this thing, 3) been sponsored at some point by this, and 4) always consider mustard as a condiment here.

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