ARE YOU KIDDING ME the Unleashed crew returns with a rambling, babbling, not-paying-attention-to-the-line-of-questioning review of the Arkansas game. Gman didn’t ride the bus to the podcast, so he joins the show late, but not before we are able to cover:
- The equestrian team’s heartbreaking loss to top-ranked Georgia #horsecocks
- Why we call Native Americans “Indians” and why it is inaccurate
- The going rate on the black market for a 9-month-old baby girl
And then we actually get to football:
- The stunningly awesome performance of the Gamecocks in Fayetteville
- Whether this type of play will be the exception, or the rule
- Offensive and defensive superlatives
- Whether or not Connor Shaw is the greatest QB in Gamecock history
- A history lesson from Gman about a Gamecock who played QB in the NFL you’ve never heard of
- The @blitz_jewelry Rubber Chickens of the Week
- Should we be worried about Tennessee
Listen closely and see if you can pinpoint the moment where Tbone was not paying attention and answers a question that was not asked. All this and more on the latest episode of TRC Unleashed!
Click here or click the graphic to listen, and enjoy!
Some quick, barely researched, not fully formed thoughts from Carolina’s 52-7 disemboweling of Arkansas yesterday:
What a difference a week makes. Last week in this space I lamented that the Gamecocks were not living up to expectations. Not record-wise, mind you, because at the time 4-1 was about what was expected. What was bothersome was that in all four wins we had to suffer through some uncomfortable second half moments before holding on to win. I personally felt like we were too good a team, and too good a program to allow that to happen every week. It bummed me out after last week’s win over Kentucky that Steve Spurrier commented, “This is who we are.”
Well, as Gman said on last week’s episode of TRC Unleashed, every college season has its ebbs and flows. If you don’t like what you’re seeing, stick around, because the landscape can change drastically over the course of a week. And boy did it change with yesterday’s win over Arkansas. I’m not saying the ‘Hogs are a quality opponent, because despite sprinkles of talent, they are quite bad. But to go on the road and do that to an SEC opponent…well, let’s just say the Gamecocks’ perspectives, and quite possibly our expectations, have changed a bit.
Wild, Wild East. After Georgia’s stirring win over LSU two weeks ago, most all of us wrote off the possibility of a trip back to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game. I mean, looking down the schedule, who was going to hand the Bulldogs an SEC loss? Much less two?
But after a costly win in Knoxville, Georgia was ambushed in Athens by a resurgent Missouri team. With all the injuries the ‘Dogs (I refuse to spell it the other way) have suffered, another conference loss or two are not out of the question. Halfway through the season, here’s where we are:
Missouri - undefeated and controls their own destiny, but the loss of QB James Franklin for the season is devastating. It’s hard to imagine they won’t drop at least two games out of Florida, USC, Tennessee, Ole Miss and TAMU.
Florida – one loss and controls their own destiny. Yesterday’s loss to LSU doesn’t hurt much as far as the East title chase goes. The Gators still have Mizzou at home, UGA in Jacksonville and USC in Columbia.
Georgia – one loss and needs help. But not as much help as us. They hold the tiebreaker over USC, but need Mizzou to lose twice, which as we see above is very possible. A loss to Florida would do serious damage. A late-season trip to Auburn is also looking much more difficult than it did at the beginning of the season.
South Carolina – one loss and needs help. We still need UGA to lose at least one more, and need to sweep the rest of our SEC games against Tennessee, Missouri, Mississippi State and Florida. We could still win the East with two losses, but things would have to get seriously nuts for that to happen.
Looks like we’ll be doing a lot of scoreboard watching in the coming weeks.
D (cardboard cutout of a fence). We gave the defense a hard time last week, not because of the yards and points they were surrendering, but because of when and how they were surrendering them. Yesterday was easily the most complete defensive effort of the season. Aside from the opening drive, the defense smothered a pretty good Arkansas running game, holding the SEC rushing yardage leader Alex Collins to 69 yards. Yes, they rushed for 218 total, but three runs accounted for 124 of those yards, so I’m not going to complain too much on a day when we held an SEC opponent to seven points on the road. We also created turnovers which led to or prevented points. Credit Lorenzo Ward for having these guys ready yesterday.
Hampton In. Vic Hampton drew the ire of Gamecock fans and apparently the HBC last week by freelancing a little too much on defense. But he redeemed himself on Arkansas’ second series when he jumped short route, picked off an Alex Collins pass and set up USC’s first touchdown.
Team Shaw. 19/28 for 219, 3 TD and no interceptions, and one running TD. ON THE ROAD. And by the way, you “Shaw plays bad on the road” folks, you realize that all four of his career losses on the road were to top 10 teams? You do realize that, right?
Also, props to third-teamer Brendan Nosovitch for his first career TD. NOSSY! (Or is it Nosty? Or Janet? Or Ms. Jackson?)
Boooooooo. No, they’re not saying boo you dummy. They’re saying Bruuuuuuce. Ellington has settled in as the leader of this wide receiver corps, with six more catches yesterday for 96 yards and two TDs. Aside from some early drops, the entire group is looking solid.
Jeffery. No, not Alshon, Shamier. He had five catches yesterday. OK, they were only for 32 yards, but still. Welcome aboard Sham-wow.
Kane is able. You knew Spurrier was going to throw a couple of balls towards former Razorback Kane Whitehurst in his “homecoming”. Whitehurst blew an early chance with one of the drops mentioned above. But late in the game he hauled in a 15-yard TD from Dylan Thompson to put a little icing on top of the icing on the icing on the cake.
King Tuttchdown. Pharaoh Cooper doesn’t have a touchdown yet, but he will soon. Cooper looks just like the Ace Sanders replacement we’ve been looking for in the return game, and oh my goodness the Wildcat. This is high praise, but he reminds me a lot of former Kentucky all-everything Randall Cobb.
The Rocket. Ho hum, another week, another 120+ yard performance for Mike Davis. Davis is neck-and-neck with Jeremy Hill of LSU as the top back in the SEC. If he continues to play well, and the Gamecocks continue to win, he might start getting some fringe Heisman consideration.
Hog mild. After 22 years, yesterday marked the last game between South Carolina and Arkansas as cross-divisional opponents. We never really developed a “rivalry” per se, but something always seemed right about seeing the Hogs on the football schedule every year. Through the genius and vision of Roy Kramer, we entered the SEC together in 1991, long before schools regularly jumped conferences for money and television contracts. Since then we’ve played each other every season since 1992. They haven’t always been great games, and we’ve rarely both been good teams. It’s been an odd long-distance relationship that has been more frustrating to the Gamecocks than rewarding, so it was good to go out with two straight wins.
See you down the road Hogs, best of luck to you.
TRC Unleashed Episode 53 is angry my friends. Part of it has to do with recording during the great Atlanta sports meltdown of 2013, but mostly it has to do with how a 4-1 start to the Gamecocks’ football season can be so frustrating. Buck and Gman lecture each other (and some listeners) and Tbone for some reason keeps calling Jadeveon Clowney “Clifton Geathers”,
Mixed in you will hear us discuss:
- Why we need to stop invoking 1-21 when talking about this program
- What is wrong with the defense (it’s either the players or the coaches or something else)
- Why some fans might still want Thompson over Shaw
- Shaw is awesome so shut up
- Clowneygate 12: The Curious Case of the Ribcage Hematoma
- The @blitzjewelry Rubber Chicken Awards
- USC Equestrian #horsecocks
We’re kinda yelly on this episode, so buckle in. Click here or click the graphic to listen, and enjoy!
Some quick, barely researched, not fully formed thoughts from Carolina’s 35-28 victory over Kentucky last night:
Perspexpectations. We’ve been preaching about two things for a while now, both in this space and on our podcast: managing our perspective and managing our expectations. Personally, I’m now done with perspective. I sat through the worst of times, including a player revolt and 1-21 over two seasons, but those were a long time ago. Even the pizza bowl seems like an eternity ago given what has been accomplished the last three years. We’re a different program, and it’s a different time. Games in the past have no bearing on what happened last night, and what happened last night was we allowed a pitiful Kentucky team to play us, a self-proclaimed top 10 program, to within one score. At night. At home.
I never thought we would have an undefeated season. I even had serious doubts we could win the East. But I did expect us to beat UNC, Vandy, UCF and Kentucky going away. Once is a fluke, twice is a coincidence, three times is a trend. Four times and you know who you are. And at 4-1, I’m a Gamecock fan that is not particularly happy with who we are.
I’m not giving up on these guys or this season, but with three road games and home games against Florida and Clemson coming up, at the moment I really don’t feel good about how this thing is going to end up.
Defenseless. After last night we are fifth in rush defense, ninth in pass defense and sixth in total defense in the SEC. We only gave up 301 yards of total offense last night to Kentucky. Not terrible by any stretch of the imagination. But the problem has mostly been when and how we give up those yards. Late in games our defense is having trouble getting off the field, and against UCF we gave up huge pass plays that kept them in the game. Last night, 191 yards of Kentucky’s offense came on their last three drives. Also, in the last three games the Gamecocks have given up 2/3 of opponents’ points in the fourth quarter.
I wish I was smart enough to tell you if the problem is the Jimmys and Joes or the Xs and Os, but I’m not. I can tell you if it’s the former, we’re in big trouble the next seven games.
Clowney Sittin. We, along with pretty much every Gamecock fan, have been staunch supporters of Jadeveon Clowney this season. He has been under a microscope since early in this calendar year, and since the beginning of this season has been unfairly written about, talked about and criticized. But last night was the tipping point for me. It was obvious the coaching staff was upset that Clowney told them he couldn’t play prior to the game, and that’s a red flag.
I don’t know how hurt JD is, or if he had other motivations for sitting last night. It sounds like the coaches are going to allow him to speak on the subject at some point this week, and I’m sure he’ll give us what he believes to be a satisfactory answer – “I was hurting bad, I would never turn my back on my teammates, etc. etc.” But the real answer will be evident the next time he suits up for USC, and the next six or seven times after that, and how he plays. Is he the old JD Clowney, or is he just going through the motions until April?
I know that Connor Shaw has played through injury after injury, and mentioned last night that he fought to get back on that field because he knows he only has a few games left in a Gamecock uniform. I would love to hear that come out of JD’s mouth as well. But only if he means it.
DE-ssapointing. A lot of people expected Chaz Sutton to have a big season as a beneficiary of all the Clowney attention. Not only has he not had a big season, I don’t ever remember seeing him on the field last night. I remember seeing Darius English, because I remember thinking he needs to eat a few more cheeseburgers, but no other defensive end stood out to me. Besides the brush fire that is our return game, the DEs have to be the most disappointing unit on the team.
Surrat-ticous. OK, enough negativity. Got to give big JT Surratt and Kelcy Quarles props for their play last night. Especially Surratt, who showed he can be a playmaker in the middle.
Team Shaw. In the off chance that there is still anyone who thinks Dylan Thompson should be starting over Connor Shaw, I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you to stop talking. Shaw is currently at the helm of the most prolific offense in South Carolina history, and percentage-wise is the winningest quarterback in South Carolina history. With all due respect to Mike Davis, he is also the MVP of this team.
(To reiterate, we love Dylan Thompson and look forward to cheering him on when his time comes. But that time is not now.)
The Rocket. Mike Davis went over 100 again last night, but his most impressive run was probably a three-yarder on third down late in the game. He was trapped in the backfield, but would not be denied and put the game away. He is easily the most pleasant surprise of the season.
Inn Out? Anyone else feel like the HBC was talking about Victor Hampton last night when he said “we still got some guys out there doing their own crap” and “we’re going to make some changes”? For the second week in a row Hampton took an extreme gamble and left his guy wide open for a touchdown. Don’t be surprised if he’s not starting next week.
Equipos Especiales. We should really stop talking about how awful our special teams are in such general terms. I suggest we separate the guys who put their foot on the ball from the rest of the special teams units. Elliott Fry, Tyler Hull and Landon Ard have all been quite good. But once again last night we showed we have zero ability to change a game with a return. Unless it’s a fumble.
TRC Unleashed Episode 52 reviews the painful but ultimately satisfying Central Florida game, and covers topics including but not limited to:
- Our proposal for Mike Davis’ new nickname
- Team Shaw and Team Thompson
- The best O-line in the Spurrier era
- What’s going wrong on defense
- Who doesn’t need to be fired
- Our Rubber Chickens Awards, sponsored by @blitzjewelry
- How many days it’s been since we lost to Clemson in football
All that and much, much more. Click here or click the graphic to listen, and enjoy!
A few quick, barely researched, and not so – what is it that Buck always says?
I forget. Regardless, here are a few thoughts on our “victory” down in Orlando:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Quick, identify the quote. Quick, Quick, Quick. Most overused quote in history, and few can give it correct attribution. It’s the very first sentence of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, and the full quote is:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.
And that pretty much sums up the way that root canal in Orlando felt on Saturday.
The Rocket. Yep, I’m sticking my neck out and nicknaming Mike Davis. Has to be done. And not because of his 168 yard, three touchdown performance on Saturday. A performance where he basically took the team on his shoulders (well, thighs, I guess) and willed us to victory. No, that’s not the reason for his new moniker. Instead, his new name arose thusly.
The king is dead, long live the king. I suspect we’ve seen the last of Connor Shaw as our starting quarterback. I know he’s a tough kid, and I wholeheartedly agree with the assessment Brian Griese made on air Saturday: Shaw is the better quarterback. But I also know that a bad sprain to your throwing shoulder might take more than two or three weeks to heal. I also noticed that the two or three weeks time frame came to the coach from Shaw, and not from the training staff.
Hope I’m wrong, ‘cause I’m #teamglove all the way, but I think we are probably seeing the beginning of the Thompson Era.
Where’s the gas pedal? One of the hallmarks of Steve Spurrier’s teams at Florida was their ability to work an opponent silly. When the OBC got up on someone, he didn’t just win, he DOMINATED. Went right for the throat and did the funky chicken on it.
One of the hallmarks of Steve’s Spurrier’s teams at South Carolina is an inability to put another team away. From the HBC’s very first game at Carolina (a 24-3 third quarter lead at home became a 24-15 escape) to his most recent (a 28-10 fourth quarter lead on the road becomes a 28-25 squeaker) the trend has persisted.
What’s the reason? No idea. But I do keep thinking of something Sweet Old Lou said: The prevent defense only prevents one thing: winning. Those soft zones, coupled with an inability to tackle led directly to both of the Knights’ fourth quarter scores.
Speaking of the defense. I know they are young. And I know Whammy is a great recruiter. And I also like the guy. But we have the most dominant player in the nation on defense, and yet we can’t seem to get him freed up to make plays. I’m going to leave it at that, because I don’t want to be the first person to head down that particular road. But we all know where that road is going, and I’m afraid it’s gonna become a busy street soon.
On a related note: Just how good are we? Are we the #12 team in the country? Are we BCS Bowl caliber?
I’m not so sure. Our best win thus far is probably the 35-25 win over Vandy at home, and that isn’t saying much. Kentucky should make us feel better about ourselves this weekend, but this team is going to have to get better play from the defensive second and third level if we are going to survive the three game road trip that follows.
Ah geeze, I didn’t even mention our terrible special teams . . .
A rundown of random things that actually are, and other things that, actually, are not:
ARE correct models of subatomic matter: The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, The Wave-Particle Duality
NOT: Bohr Models
ARE valid uses of bacon: Omelets, Salads, Sandwiches–well most everything, actually.
NOT: well, clothing, I guess.
ARE the 2010 ACC Atlantic Division Champions: Florida State
ARE sometimes golden: potato chips, wedding rings, sunsets, showers, the spray paint on Notre Dame’s helmets,
NOT: The UCF Knights. They don’t like being called the “Golden Knights” apparently. News to us, but since we don’t particularly like being called the “Garnet Gamecocks” we will can comply.
ARE involved in game day playcalling: Steve Spurrier, G.A. Mangus, Shawn Elliott, Brent Venables, Chad Morris, Whammy Ward
NOT: Dabo Cornelius Swinney
ARE Duck Dynasty Endorsed: Everything, Everywhere. Evidently, this contrived reality series has taken over our culture to such an extent that it is nearly impossible to transact basic commerce without “Duck Commander” stamped on the product. Dutch Tulip Mania, anyone?
ARE SEC: South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, LSU, Alabama, Texas A&M
Supposed to be SEC: Kentucky
NOT: Central Florida, Clemson
ARE going to be 3-1 after Saturday: South Carolina, Central Florida, Georgia (dang it)
A Clemson* Man needs no introduction . . . .
The Gamecocks are taking a much-needed break this weekend–well the Carolina players and Coach Deke Adams are taking a much-needed break. The rest of us are still hungry for CFB, so here’s your weekend viewing guide:
THURSDAY: (that’s today!): 7:00 pm – ESPN - Clemson* vs. North Carolina State.
Yes, yes, I know this isn’t an SEC game. It should be, but not in the way your think. Clemson* will never be in the SEC, despite their collective pillow gripping fantasies, but NC State coulda been. Not because the Wolfpack are some football powerhouse, but because our state’s northern neighbor needs a real football school, and the SEC can wait 20 years for Raleigh to build one. Heck they gave us that long, right? But during the last go-round of expansion we got stuck with Missouri instead . . . .
Side note here: Since before the season started, I’ve called this week’s game as a Clemson* loss. First road game, etc., etc. But now I have my doubts. See, for all their delusions of grandeur and claims of superiority, the specific fevered level of hubris necessary for a complete clemsoning collapse has not yet been reached. Right now, I’m hoping it holds off until November in the Billy B.
FRIDAY: Cut your damn grass already. Geeze, what an embarrassment! Your neighbors hate what you are doing to their property values, you lazy buffoon.
12:00 – Some channel you probably don’t get – Vandy vs Umass.
Don’t watch this game. Please don’t. Instead spend some time with your miserable family and feign interest in whatever it is they talk about. Then slip away at:
3:30 – CBS – Florida vs Tennesee.
HAHAHAHAHA you thought I was gonna say Arkansas vs Rutgers on ESPN, didn’t you? You didn’t? Oh, nevermind.
Florida is a pretty big hurdle on our schedule down the road, or at least we hope it’s still important when we get there, so watch for scouting purposes if nothing else. One under-reported theme that is developing for our Gamecocks is Whammy’s inability to stop a power running attack. Both of these teams purport to have big physical Olines and a stable of backs, so watch to see which one can gain the upper hand.
Its gonna be Florida, of course, but work with me here.
7:00 – ESPNU - Texas A&M vs SMU
Yawn. Turn immediately to:
7:05 – ESPN2 – Alabama vs Colorado State
Double Yawn. Grab a snack and then flip to:
7:45 – ESPN – LSU vs Auburn
Cause we need LSU to be really, really, good next week in Athens. Pull for tons of Tiger offensive rhythm, and absolutely no injuries. If the game gets lopsided, switch over to:
8:00 – Big Ten Network (no, I’m not making this up) – Missouri vs Indiana
The fact that these two Midwestern Midmajors are facing off on the BTN is perfect. See my comments on NCSU v. Clemson*, above.