Monthly Archives: May 2012
This will be a ton of fun to watch next week. I have to admit, I wish we’d thought of what Connor Tapp came up with here.
And even though we come in as a four seed, the boys at GABA recognize that we may actually be the team to beat in the Blogger/Writer Region.
Just a brief sizing up of our competition:
- Chris Clark – peaked as a second-team slot receiver
- SpursUp Blog – ha ha!! Like we’re going to lose to a girl!
- Wes Mitchell – jocksniffer
- Life of a Gamecock – agoraphobe
- Scott Hood – Yankee
- David Cloninger – #Cloningered
- John Whittle – worthy opponent (note to self: keep folding chair within reach)
I think we breeze through the bracket, and will face Michael Roth in the semifinals. Roth is not as popular as he’s been the last two years because he hasn’t won a National Championship this year (yet). Fortunately voting closes before the Super Regionals are over. We win in a squeaker.
In the finals I see us facing Team Garcia. (How do we NOT pick @ITS_DABO? Hey, Jennifer Hudson didn’t win American Idol even though she was clearly the most awesome.)
Once in the finals, we’ll put on some AXE body spray, offer Team a couple of Mike’s Hard Lemonades and put on an Oasis CD, and she will forget there ever was a College Tworld Series.
We anxiously await our trophy…
With the Memorial Day holiday now behind us, the summer movie season is in full swing. As such, it comes as no surprise that the Sportstalk Radio Network is out with its latest cinematic tour-de-force: The Sammy Watkins Cruiser Cam Video. Although still in EXTREMELY limited release, we were able to screen the film and (SPOILER ALERT) offer a review to you, our loyal readers.
First, a word on production values. While the source material for this film is in a difficult electronic format, the crack production team of Phil Kornblut and Kevin McCrarey solve that particular Gordian Knot by setting up an iPhone in front of the video monitor and coupling an “audio out” port with a multi-directional mic. This cobbled, yet ingenious, method of capturing the raw police footage works on several levels. First, the lack of focus renders the slack-jawed members of the campus police almost humanoid in appearance, and second, it provides occasional, albeit unintentional, insight into the filmmakers themselves. In one particularly revealing incident at the 12:33 mark, the bare hobbit feet of McCrarey are accidentally interposed upon the table in front of the screen. The revelation of his awkward ankle tattoo (which appears to be a Tiger performing an unspeakable act on a goat) does not lack in subtlety, but begs the question of whether or not the directors are actually Clemson fans. The muddiness of their loyalties is only underscored by Kornblut’s gleeful laughter throughout the film.
The choice of color is likewise intriguing. Much like the late Stanley Kubrick’s use of reds and blues to signify danger and safety, our filmmakers have capitalized on the reflections of the police cruiser lights to wash the entire production in burnt orange and bright purple. This is, of course, an oblique reference to Clemson’s school colors which, not coincidentally, are the same as police lights reflecting off nighttime offenders.
Surprisingly, the main dramatic arc of the film does not center on its purported subject, Mr. Watkins. The titular character is instead depicted as quiet (uncommunicative), clumsy (he drops pills, a baggie of marijuana, and several footballs), and prone to feigning injury at the slightest touch.
Instead, the drama of the film is carried by the conflict between seasoned detective Alonzo Harris and the rookie cop, Jake Hoyt. The two officers are depicted as arguing throughout the film, as the rookie insists on conducting an investigation by the numbers, while the more veteran Harris attempts to reason, cajole, bully, and finally threaten at gunpoint in order to head off the arrest of the Tiger athletes. One early exchange:
Jake: I told you, I’m not gonna take that money.
Alonzo: All right, burn it, barbecue it, fish-fry it, I don’t give a [beep]. But the boys’ll feel better about it.
Jake: [beep] their feelings.
Alonzo: You’re not making them feel like you’re part of the team.
Jake: The team? You guys are [beepin] insane. All right, I’ll go back to the Valley. I’ll cut parking tickets. Why does it have to be this way?
Alonzo: I’m sorry I exposed you to it, but it is. It’s ugly, but it’s necessary… Sometimes you gotta have a little dirt on you. . .
[It should be noted that the cops’s names and this dialogue are, in an apparent homage by Sportstalk, lifted directly from the 2001 Ethan Hawke/Denzel Washington film, Training Day.]
The special effects are also impressive. Clearly rivaling a Michael Bay production in technological adroitness, Mr. Watkins’ 2013 Cadillac Escalade is impressively transformed into a slightly ragged-out 1999 Deville. The entire transformation takes place off-camera, and the viewer is left to wonder about the source of the Escalade, the nature of its transforming properties, and exactly why Mr. Watkins would choose to turn it into such a clunker.
Alas, as with all true film, sometimes the undisclosed mysteries are as compelling as the overt narrative.
In the final analysis however, the film fails to deliver. We are not made to care about these characters, and are instead reduced to mere observers of dispassioned players upon the stage. This may have been the director’s intention, in which case the entire banal production is a stinging commentary on the ultimately unrewarding and underwhelming product that CTU perpetually fields.
Tune in next week for our review of the new hit video, “The Dabo Dance.”
The 2012 University of South Carolina promotional video/campaign was launched this week with the “It’s Great to Be a Gamecock” video. The video has mostly received praise from the Gamecock fan base from what I’ve seen on social media platforms. But as a professional marketing man, I think the video ultimately misses the mark by a wide margin.
First, let’s start with the positive – the imagery. The stark black and white shots that dominate the first minute of the video are fantastic, particularly the spectacularly lit images of Lattimore, Shaw, Taylor and Clowney (the white jerseys were an excellent choice). The point-of-view game footage throughout the video is nice, giving you the feeling you’re there. And the practice footage of Connor Shaw (“one more, one more”) could’ve easily felt fake, but it doesn’t, it’s actually quite genuine.
On the downside, the “brick and mortar” and Farmer’s Market images don’t seem to fit. I get the idea, but there are just not enough of them to tie it into the rest of the video. They are images looking for a theme. Plus, while the new video board is going to be an exciting addition to Williams-Brice, who cares about seeing footage of the old board being taken down? Again, not a good fit.
One final note on the imagery – I would’ve liked to have seen a more distinguishable jump from black and white to color. It’s so subtle that the first couple of times I watched the video I thought “when did that happen?”
The final shots of the new video board in CGI, and the shot of the stadium from the corner of the end zone are magnificent. All in all, the folks who chose and produced the images we see deserve a solid A. Not quite an A+, but they’re not far off.
At about ten seconds in, the voice over commences, and it is immediately a disaster. What a bad choice. An overcooked, stuffy professional v/o man is absolutely not what this video calls for. This video needs someone more “normal”, maybe even someone with a little South Carolina twang. The days of the John Facenda-sounding voice talent are gone folks. Give me an everyman, every day. Voice over gets an F.
Then there is the cliché-riddled script. I guess the writer (Andy Demetra, not surprisingly) was pandering to the fan base when he wrote this, much like Dabo does with his speeches to the CTU base.
This script is a whole bunch of sound and fury signifying nothing. Just listen closely to the words, and how they’re strung together. It’s one cliché trailing another from Mr. “back to back for the garnet and black.” I seriously think Demetra has a notebook filled with sayings he thinks we like to hear, and just can’t wait for the right moment to break the next one out.
“Kiss the ring!” Shut up, you’re the radio guy, not the first baseman. (Do you get the idea I don’t like Demetra? Good, cause I don’t.)
Script gets a D+.
Last but not least, the music is not my favorite either. I’m not a musician, so I can’t exactly put my finger on it, I just know it doesn’t work. I’ll give the music a C, but it gets the benefit of the doubt since it has to carry a horrible voiceover choice and an equally horrible script.
If I watch the video with the sound down it gets me much more fired up than with the sound up. And that’s too bad, because I think the guys at Gamecock Productions are on the right track, they just have to learn to put all the pieces together.
Maybe they should’ve called in Justin King as a consultant.
Fan First Fan Fest. As I mentioned below, I had the opportunity to attend the Atlanta Gamecock Club’s Fan Fest on Tuesday evening at Gwinnett Braves stadium outside of Atlanta. The good news is there were only about 150 Gamecock fans willing to make the trip up I-85 (a long haul if you’re not familiar with the ATL), so there was ample opportunity to talk to new head basketball coach Frank Martin, and ample opportunity to look at Steve Spurrier from a safe distance, lest Jamie Speronis claw your eyes out.
Martin was everything I had read about him - affable, congenial, and he genuinely seemed happy to be hanging out with his new set of fans. When I talked to him personally he gave me nothing blogworthy, just a lot of “glad to be here” and “thank you for coming”. And his speech was a condensed version of every speech you’ve heard him give so far, so there was nothing new.
When it came to Spurrier, I was armed and ready to bring hard evidence that he had taken a can’t-spell-Citrus-without-UT-style shot at CTU or any SEC rival. But alas, he was on his best behavior. The only thing remotely Spurrier-esqe was a comment about UGA’s schedule being “a whole lot easier than ours”. When talking about players to watch for the upcoming season, he had high praise for Ace Sanders, Shaw, Taylor, Clowney, and effusive praise for Kenny Miles, his dedication to USC, his work ethic and willingness to return for his final season.
But, not a single mention of CTU. That’s a bummer. At the same time I think it tells you that the HBC doesn’t feel the NEED to talk about them. That might be the biggest slap in the face of all.
Hardball Blues. Last night’s loss to Vandy in the SEC baseball tournament on the heels of a home series loss against LSU apparently had a lot of Gamecock fans searching for tall bridges. Calm down folks. First, we never play well in Hoover. I don’t accept that, and I don’t believe it will last forever, but at the same time I think it has exactly zero impact on how we’ll play in the NCAA tournament. (And we have proven we can still make it to the CWS without hosting a super regional – see: 2010).
Media-type Blues. On the other side of the cage, the media-types on Twitter last night were awfully testy before, during and after the USC game. First, the aforementioned Andy Demetra had an uber-smartass response to a Tweeter who asked if the game “was going to be on AT&T Uverse”. Our friends at Team Garcia called him out on it and he responded that he didn’t want to be “hassled” while he’s getting ready for a game. Hassled? Seriously?
Then, apparently the bridge jumpers were in a tizzy after the game, calling out Chad Holbrook among others, so much so that John Whittle and Demetra (there’s that guy again) proceeded to call them “whiners”. SportsTalk continued their tradition of getting into at least one slapfight per night (which we quite enjoy, actually, those guys crack us up).
First of all folks, it’s Twitter. You don’t have to respond to anyone. Ever.
Second, there is a happy medium. If you need directions to it, shoot me an email.
Half-Cocked is Right. Our friends over at Garnet and Black Attack have a podcast called “Half-Cocked” that you should check out. In their most recent episode they discuss Twitter accounts (mostly Gamecock related) that are worth following.
You know what the first one they mention is? @GamecockRadio. You know who that is? FRIGGIN’ DEMETRA!!!
You know who doesn’t get a mention? @RubrChickens OR @ITS_DABO.
Man, those dudes owe us big.
Happy Memorial Day errybody!
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting new South Carolina head basketball coach Frank Martin at the Atlanta Gamecock Club meeting tonight. While he was as pleasant and engaging as I had heard, he wasn’t as tall as I thought.
Maybe his wide-shouldered three-button suits threw me off.
Or maybe his voice wasn’t as tall as it sounded. I’m not sure.
But I fully expected to meet a 7′ 6″ giant of a man who could wrap his hand around my head like a small cantaloupe (only if he wanted to, of course).
Instead here was this guy who measured in at maybe…MAYBE…6′ 2″.
I feel deceived, and my hopes for the future of Carolina basketball are just a little less as I lay me down to sleep tonight.
Frustrated by the North Carolina-centric nature of the conference, and what was seen as uncompetitive academic standards, South Carolina bolted from the ACC in 1971. After wandering in the wilderness as an independent, and then as a member of the now-defunct Metro Conference, we were in the right place at the right time when the SEC was looking to expand in 1990. As a lifelong Gamecock fan who came of age during the putrid Metro days, I can recall many who bemoaned our departure from the ACC as a stupid move by the USC administration at the time. Well, guess who look like geniuses now?
Paul Dietzel and Frank McGuire, that’s who.
McGuire’s teams were the bad boys of the ACC. They were street toughs from NYC who didn’t take crap from the “whine” and cheese crowd in the Tar Heel state. After getting jobbed repeatedly by the conference powers, McGuire thought that enough was enough and lobbied to get his boys out of the ACC.
In football, a guy named Freddie Solomon was as dominant a high school player as anyone had ever seen. But due to the ACC’s academic standards, which were more stringent that those of the NCAA, Freddie could not play at USC. We all know what happened to Freddie. After a guy named Rice, he’s probably the next best receiver to ever play for the San Francisco 49ers.
When USC pulled out of the ACC, the strong rumor was that Clemson would also be leaving. Supposedly it was a pact. Turns out that CTU left us high and dry; instead, deciding to stay in the ACC after USC boldly (foolishly some say) stepped out as an independent. I can remember some USC folks speaking with bitterness about the perceived double cross pulled off by CTU. For years, you can bet that CTU thought they had really screwed us. I hope they had a lot of fun while it lasted, because we are doing all, and I mean ALL the laughing now.
Sure, we sucked for the first few years we were in the SEC. No doubt about it. We weren’t ready to compete with the big boys and it was painfully obvious to just about anyone who watched. We won a game or two here and there, but overall, we were overmatched. But guess what else was happening while we took our lumps? The Gamecocks were getting paid, and paid well.
The SEC, unlike some other conferences, is basically an equal pay out league. While UT, Bama, and LSU were winning championships and raking in the dough for the conference, Carolina was building its war chest. The SEC also brought credibility. With credibility came coaches like Ray Tanner, Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier. And now, after a long period of paying dues, some success has started to roll in (See Buck Sweep, Golden Age Edition). No more are we the throw-in team needed to get the SEC to 12. Now we are legit.
During our time in the SEC, the national landscape has changed considerably. The SEC is now the unquestioned powerhouse conference in America. And there’s a HUGE gap between first and second. Oh, and where does our former conference, the ACC, now rank? Maybe 5th. And that’s on a good day.
With conference realignment in full swing, the SEC just strengthened its brand by bringing in TAMU and Missouri. The ACC? They now proudly call Syracuse and Pittsburgh members. That’s right, the ACC is now looking a lot like the former Big East of a few years ago. And we all know that the Big East (Least) sucks, big time.
Last week’s announcement of the new SEC/BIG 12 Champions Bowl is yet another crushing blow to everyone not a member of the four power conferences. The message sent by the SEC to the ACC football schools was loud and clear: we have the ball and we ain’t kicking it to you. Meanwhile, CTU and its fans desperately want OUT of the ACC and into the Big 12 (or the SEC). They used to whisper about this while still singing the praises of the ACC in public.
Well, no more. Visit a CTU message board sometime for your viewing pleasure. Those guys are now openly begging for a chance to bolt from the ACC. While publicly stating that they still have the upper hand in football, they are now privately admitting that the power ($$) of the SEC has taken its toll. They cringe when they think about the losses to USC and how those losses have occurred – old-style SEC beat downs.
So, I want to take this opportunity to thank Coach Dietzel and Coach McGuire. Without their guts and vision, we might still be in the ACC and might (like CTU) be on the outside looking in as the world of college athletics is remade.
Because of these men, we have a seat at the table – and the food is tasting pretty darn good.
Can you think of a better time to be a fan of Gamecock athletics? You really don’t have to think about it very hard. It doesn’t matter if you’re 2 years old or 82 years old, odds are you can’t come up with a time where there has been so much success in a short period of time at USC. It’s not even close.
In football the legitimacy Steve Spurrier has brought the program cannot be denied. We’ve been perpetually mired in the middle to bottom half of the SEC standings since 1992, but in the last two years have an SEC East title, an 11-win season, and two straight wins over our neighbors to the north (to make it three total). Plus we have top recruits that genuinely want to play for us and give hope that we can be a contender for years to come. USC will no doubt be a Top 10 program heading into the 2012 season, and I dare say given a few good bounces could be a BCS team come January.
In baseball we have back-to-back national titles, a current top 3 ranking (depending on the poll, one has us at #1), and a better than average shot at getting back to Omaha for a third consecutive year.
In basketball…uh, ok, you got me, the hoopsters have sucked for a couple of years now. But a guy named Frank Martin saw something at USC that both challenged and encouraged him, and he has the fan base as excited about basketball as we’ve been in a while. And on the women’s side, Dawn Staley could have her team contending for a Final Four birth in the not-too-distant future.
The non-revenue sports aren’t setting the world on fire, but we appear to be competitive in just about every sport these days (with the exception of softball, I have no idea what’s happened there). And with the promise of increased revenues (thank you SEC) and improved facilities across the board, the future has never been brighter for Carolina athletics.
And as we contrast our recent success with what’s going on with our neighbors to the north, it makes things that much sweeter.
The Clemson (aka CTU) football team is coming off an ACC Championship, and two championship appearances in three years. Yes, congratulations on that guys, nice work. But I would be remiss if I did not mention a couple of other things that have happened…
Like a third straight blowout loss to the University of South Carolina. CTU fans love to throw out the all-time record (yawn) and state that we “won’t catch them in this lifetime”. Well, at this rate, I’m beggining to wonder. I’m pretty old, but maybe if I live long enough…
There was also one of the most humiliating defeats in the history of bowl games. You just cannot wash the stench of 70-33 off of you in one offseason.
Then, recently, there was the arrest of All-American wide receiver Sammy Watkins, the face of the CTU program. Weed and a couple of pills should, and I believe will, get him suspended for at least one game, probably the opener against Auburn. The questions about his character and off-field decision making will continue beyond September 1 (we promise).
And last night we found out that five-star phenom running back Mike Bellamy had been dismissed from the Tiger football team due to academics. This was not a shock to anyone who has followed the brief career of Bellamy, a rumored malcontent with a rumored fondness for green, leafy substances.
Want to talk about coaching? I have one word for you – Dabo.
Underneath all this is apparently a crumbling athletic foundation called the Atlantic Coast Conference. After adding a couple of basketball semi-powers (Pittsburgh, Syracuse) the ACC leadership was hoodwinked into about as crappy a television contract as can be imagined with ESPN. This led the chairman of Florida State’s Board of Trustees to openly, and forcefully, declare an interest in joining the Big XII. FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher then lightly broached the subject, stating the university needed to do “what’s in its best interests”, before the FSU President had to step in and pledge allegiance to the ACC.
The storm this creates is that, if FSU leaves for the Big XII, then surely another ACC school will follow so the conference can have the championship game it needs to be fully legitimized. This would lead to a mad scramble among Virginia Tech, Miami, Clemson and possibly Georgia Tech or NC State depending on which blogger you believe.
The problem with CTU is that the only people mentioning them are…well, them. Oh, and this guy, who makes a solid case that CTU to the Big XII is already a done deal. (Spoiler alert: he makes no case at all. “West Virginia blogger” pretty much kills his credibility from the outset.)
Meanwhile, most CTU fans are dying, DYING, to get out of the ACC into a conference that values football above all. Unfortunately for them, it ain’t going to happen, and soon they’ll have to start spinning why the ACC is the best place for them (The Carrier Dome is so beautiful in the fall!).
This is so much fun, folks. We’re in an uber-enviable position in the SEC, and it’s driving our rivals up a wall. They don’t know how this can be happening, and they don’t know how to change it.
If you are a big fan of the Gamecocks (and a big fan of schadenfreude), then soak it all in.
We are indeed in the midst of the Golden Age of Gamecock athletics.
- A chart of gross revenues and net profits for the 51 biggest college athletic departments. Compiled by Year2 on Team Speed Kills, the key should say: green is good, red is bad, right is rich, and up is awesome. (shorter version: SC beats CTU . . . AGAIN!)
- One unintended consequence of SEC expansion: Hoover hired another complete crew of football officials. Stop and let that sink in for a minute: We now employ guys that previously couldn’t get hired over Mike Washington.
- Completely ridiculous and yet somehow informing, a look at the relationship between SEC spring games, 2012 prospects, and random Tom Waits lyrics via the guys at GABA.
- What I’m hating on right now: not really cfb related, but hate, hate, HATE, HATE!
- What’s the dumbest, most smh, thing Dabo Swinney said yesterday? How about this little bite of word-salad, on the continued non-punishment of Sammy Watkins:
“I think he’s responded very well, but as far as any other comments at this time I’m still in the process, like my statement said, of gathering everything, all my thoughts and all the facts, and meeting with everybody involved, and then making a decision of where we will go from there as far as type of discipline we’ll put in place.”
- Today’s worst thread on what is an otherwise excellent college sports message board.
- Today’s best thread on the college football subreddit: Where did Andy from Toy Story go to college?
Our first installment of what we hope will be a recurring feature, we interview the statue of Thomas Green Clemson, located just in front of Tillman Hall in
beautiful Clemson, South Carolina:
TRC: So, Mr. Clemson, can we call you Tommy?
Clemson: You may NOT! Please call me Tom. I will also accept Mr. Ambassador, Mr. Secretary, or as my father-in-law, John C. Calhoun, called me, Mister Carpetbagging Yankee Fancy Britches.
TRC: Alright, let’s just go with Tom. How are things today in Clemson?
Clemson: Well, at present, things are particularly bad.
TRC: Losing streak to Carolina getting you down?
Clemson: Oh, nothing like that, I rather enjoy that. With all the losses to Carolina piling up, there’s a strange little man that comes around here at night sobbing, and I find the dour company somehow uplifting, actually.
TRC: Strange man?
Clemson: Ah yes – he talks about his mother a significant amount of time. Wears pressed khakis and has a rather severe part to his hair.
TRC: Wait, is it Dabo Sweeney?
Clemson: No idea – although now that you mention it he does keep referring to a “Dabo.” I thought it might be a modern local idiom for “a portion of” something because he always seems dissatisfied. But if he is Dabo, then he is referring to himself in the third person a frighteningly frequent amount of time. He also has an equally shocking limit to his vocabulary: it’s mainly a series of grunts and silent screams. He also slaps himself rather more than I care for. As I said, strange little fellow.
TRC: Um, ok, you mentioned that you were upset – what’s got you down?
Clemson: It’s a particularly large and menacing bird that keeps – ah – relieving himself on me as of late. Not quite so charming as a pigeon. It strangely claims to be my deceased father.
TRC: The bird talks?
Clemson: Yes, yes it does – but why the soul of my long-dead father would haunt me all the way from our home in Philadelphia is beyond me.
TRC: Why do you think the bird is your father?
Clemson: He says so himself. I hear a rustling of feathers, the jangle of spurs, and just before a large and pungent deposit is made upon my features I hear the unmistakable query of “who’s your daddy?” coming from the monster. It is unbearable.
TRC: Sounds awful.
Clemson: It is! Although in all honesty it is far better than when the local denizens tie their livestock to my lower legs.
TRC: Livestock? Why are they tying them to your legs?
Clemson: I haven’t the foggiest notion. They are always particularly smelly and appear ill-bred. I am referring here to both the locals and the livestock. Flashing wads of cash around and yelling for people named Sammy, Bellamy, or (and let me make sure I’m pronouncing this correctly) Louteek. These local gentry leave their pigs and goats tied up while they apparently search for these cash-starved gentlemen.
TRC: This sounds annoying, but I don’t really see what so bad about it, really.
Clemson: Oh you don’t do you? Well you haven’t seen what the locals do to the livestock, obviously. Let’s just say they don’t just milk those goats, friend [shudders].
TRC: [also shudders] Eh, let’s change the subject, shall we? Have you heard any of the rumors of Clemson bolting for the Big 12?
Clemson: [slightly raises his voice] I would appreciate it if you would be so kind as to never raise that subject with me again, sir!
TRC: Well it is widely rumored . . .
Clemson: Perhaps so! But I do not see how my marital difficulties are any-
TRC: Wait, marital difficulties?
Clemson: Yes! Perhaps my wife, the former Miss Calhoun, Now Mrs. Clemson, is threatening to leave me again for her former paramour, but I will not discuss it with you of all people!
TRC: No disrespect intended, Mr. Clemson. But if I might ask, what does the Big 12 have to do with your wife?
Clemson: I wish I knew! But for reasons that have never been expounded to me, that is the nickname that Mrs. Clemson uses for him!