The Bizarro Predicto Blog (Gamecock Football 2011 Preview)

Posted: August 29, 2011 in Football, NCAA, Sports

I’d recommend that you probably skip this post if you:
1. Hate football
2. Love all things related to South Carolina football
3. Have read any of my work before
4. Wait, if #3 applies to you, then bless your heart!!

Here’s the thought that keeps popping in my head when reading previews about/watching TV shows/hearing the general consensus for the Gamecocks this year: Did y’all WATCH this team last year? (And not just Justin King highlights, which are admittedly impressive) I really, really mean that. I don’t mean to get all official on you, but let’s take a gander at some of the team stats accumulated by the (team not on friggin probation) USC:
The Good
Led the conference in sacks!
Second in the SEC in 3rd down conversions!
3rd in the SEC in rush defense! (Right behind Auburn and Alabama, by the way)

The Bad
6th in the conference in scoring offense and defense
10th in the conference in pass defense
Next to last in kickoff returns, last in punt returns (field position/special teams–what’s that?)
Next to last in first downs allowed and 3rd downs converted against

Okay, so it’s not as if those stats really indicate that the Gamecocks are not good. But it sure as hell doesn’t mean that they’re great. Or that they should expected to be great. I read where one of the Vegas wiseguys thinks that South Carolina can easily get to 10 wins. (Hmmm, maybe he’s been reading my last two predicto blogs!!) I wonder if that wiseguy has been watching the Gamecocks…ever.

It’s just hard for me to be excited about this year in general, especially now that the pressure is on. I mean, EVERYBODY expects this team to be back in Atlanta for the SEC title game, right? Is another 9-5 season going to be acceptable? (But really, is another 9-5 season considered a success?) I’ve suspended all expectations about how the season will go. I just want it to be over. Already. Thanks a lot, Sports Illustrated!! (Man, doesn’t Alshon Jeffrey look really old?)

Anyway, the same premise as always for the predicto blog: I’ll go through each game, babble about mostly irrelevant things, then give an actual prediction. (I won’t torture myself, or y’all, by guessing the score) Before I begin, (finally) here’s a quick look at last year:
-Highlights: Nailing the Alabama, Florida and Clemson victories. Nailing the Kentucky loss.
-Lowlights: Writing this damn thing in the first place. Predicting a Capital One Bowl berth. Not even discussing the game vs. Tennessee.
As always, there is some room for improvement. So, here goes nothing!!!

Sept 3: vs. East Carolina (in Charlotte)
First things first: Kudos to the Gamecocks for doing a neutral site game! (Even if it’s only about 90 minutes away from campus) I know that this game will not be on the level of the Cowboys Classic or the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic, but let’s not act like this is going to be a walkover.

There are about 1584 things that have me freaked out about this game. I’ll probably list three here:
1. Every opening weekend, there’s always a team that’s exposed as not being as good as you think.
I’m sorry, I can’t think of a better candidate than the Gamecocks. This is a team that was as about as middle of the road as you could possibly be statistically. Yes, I know that there are great players on the team. But as a team? Hooboy.

2. What happened the last time East Carolina played a game in Charlotte?
Don’t worry, if you don’t have the answer to that question—that’s what I’m here for! The game recap talks about that punt block, but I’m pretty sure Virginia Tech didn’t play very well either. The Pirates love to play wide open, wacky football. I’m sorry, that style will even give an almighty SEC team fits. Wait, the Gamecocks play in the SEC? You don’t say!

3. South Carolina at neutral sites: Ugh.
I’m running most of this off memory, but even then…it’s not pretty:
Chick-fil-A Bowl vs. Florida State: Loss
SEC Championship vs. Auburn: Unauthorized sodomy
Papa John’s Bowl vs. UConn: Loss
Outback Bowl vs. Iowa: Loss (but I ate some delicious macaroni that day!)
Liberty Bowl vs. Houston: Win!
Yes, most of these are bowl games. And unless you’re Mark Richt, your team is going to struggle at some point away from home. But ye gods, one out of five?? You cannot be serious!!! Anyway, my counselor tells me to go with my gut no matter what. I’m sure he probably wasn’t talking about this upcoming game vs. East Carolina, but that’s what I’m going to take it as! I’m sorry, y’all. This game is going to be a LOSS.

September 10: at Georgia
There’s not a trophy for this game, is there? Well, if Georgia and South Carolina lose their first game, we can dub this one the Panic Attack Bowl. If South Carolina goes 0-2, people will just say “Same ole Gamecocks.” (Well, I myself will go on a hunger strike, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves!) If Georgia goes 0-2?? Well, I will need to spruce up that resume to get Mark Richt’s job. He’s on some sort of hot seat as if Georgia has been a national power in the past twenty years. (That’s right, I said it!) Anyway, I do think that the Gamecocks will snap out of their malaise and not repeat the sins of 2009 (special teams gaffes, and Stephen Garcia ignoring wide open receivers to throw to a guy covered by 88 people). That’s right, this is a must win (overused football term: Drink!). So, yes, it will be a WIN.

September 17th: vs. Navy
The official home opener in the middle of September? What the hell is this, the NFL? When I used to play video games played NCAA Football 1997, I would always force my chosen team (the Gamecocks, mostly—a Heisman for Mike Davis, Sidney Rice AND my made up player Turd Furgeson, mind you) to play ranked opponents in the non conference slate. No way we’d fatten up against the Little Sisters of the Poor. That ain’t manly! So, I really don’t understand the need to play Navy. You’re a top 15 team! Play another ranked team!!! Like they say in Mortal Kombat: “TEST YOUR MIGHT!!” Anyway, I feel douchey enough to choose the Midshipmen, but this game is so payback for 1984: WIN

September 24th: vs. Vanderbilt
Well, Vanderbilt has this going for them: Their new coach is a tough son of of a gun. I’m almost certain that not many coaches would be tackling players who are in pads. So, way to get some toughness instilled, coach! Of course, that doesn’t say much for the team. But, that game in Nashville last year was close. And, well, Vanderbilt has won two out of the last four meetings against South Carolina. It’s okay, you can read that last line again. But anyway, it would be nice to end September on an upswing. So let’s call this one a WIN.

October 1st: vs. Auburn
Man, I really like Gene Chizik. I really, really do. His goal is to win championships. And, well, what’s wrong with that? I know that everyone is down on Auburn in general, but…why? We’re so confident that losing Cam Newton and Nick Fairley would make Auburn that much worse? Aren’t Michael Dyer (is that his name even?) and Gus Malzahm still there (I hope I’m butchering the spelling, actually)? I’ve been going back and forth on how this game will shake out. But, my respect for Auburn outweighs my fandom for the Gamecocks. Sorry, guys. This is going to be a LOSS. But maybe a close one!!

October 8th: vs. Kentucky
October 16, 2010. Never forget. Remember that time when Kentucky was ranked eighth in the country? Lost an important road game at South Carolina, and neither team really recovered? Oh, times were so simple then. Anyway, the hard part of the schedule hasn’t even happened yet, so a WIN here is absolutely necessary in order to not crap the bed on the season as a whole have some sort of, you know, momentum.

Guess who ran his mouth way too much!!! Gotta break this bad boy up. Click here for Part 2.

  1. […] The Bizarro Predicto Blog (Gamecock Football 2011 Preview) […]

  2. classic17 says:

    I’m going to have to disagree about the ECU game. It’s the Pirates’ first game with a new coach and a new QB. They might keep it close for a while, but Marcus Lattimore wins in the end.

    • tbfiles says:

      Love the icon, by the way! Actually, Ruffin McNeil was the coach there last year. However, he did lose a lot of weight. So…maybe that does kind of count as a new coach. The new QB part does matter, though. Interesting observation.

  3. […] letting Auburn run so many plays is dancing with the champ. Now, I won’t go on about how some sexy ass blogger predicted this outcome back in August, but this is still an impressive result for a team that seems to […]

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