Posts Tagged ‘Clemson’

It’s not football season until I try to lower your expectations about the Gamecocks, right? Okay, you don’t have to answer that question. This could really be a season like no other. Because of that, I think we need to look a little deeper at what to expect. (Translation: I’m just making up an excuse to write more) We’ll split this preview up into three parts:

Part 1: Where is this team in the national pecking order?
Part 2: 1st half predictions
Part 3: 2nd half predictions and other useless stuff

For those of you just joining us, we are officially in the second half of the season (prediction wise). Five weeks of pure bliss ended with a loss to Georgia. What makes the loss even less awesome is that it comes right at the beginning of a Georgia-LSU-Florida gauntlet. Is it weird that I’m talking about this stuff as if it actually already happened? Are you ready for me to dive into the rest of the schedule? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

October 13: @ LSU
Full disclosure: I don’t think LSU is very good. Yeah, they won a lot of games by a large margin last year, but I think they’re closer to the team that looked constipated in the rematch against Alabama than the team who blew out Georgia/Oregon/West Virginia/Arkansas. It’s not as if the Tigers are a team full of scrubs, but I think that they’re rather beatable. Of course, it takes quite the effort to win in Baton Rogue, but it’s definitely not impossible (Just ask Stony Brook!!!). I fully believe that South Carolina will WIN this game. Not much doubt in my mind, actually. I’d go on about how I predicted the win in 2009 against (then) 4th ranked Ole Miss and in 2010 against (then) top ranked Alabama, but that’s not necessary. LSU is doomed in this game because their starting quarterback is trying to be Ben Roethlisberger, and not in a good way. You won’t win big college football games with those guys. (I’m sure you CAN win with those guys, but work with me here, folks)

October 20: @ Florida
I’d say that this would end the toughest part of South Carolina’s schedule, but it’s not like Tennessee + Arkansas + Clemson aren’t still on the schedule. Wanna know some crazy things about playing Florida?
-A win would mean that South Carolina has beaten Florida three times in a row
-A win would mean that South Carolina has won at Gainesville twice in a row. There has never been another SEC East opponent to ever do that. Ever. (I just spent way too much time on the Florida media guide looking up that fact)
-South Carolina’s 53 points in their last two wins against Florida still would not have been enough to beat Florida in 2009 (a 56-6 loss).
So, I’ve mentioned a few times that this is a season of insane expectations. It’s little things like this WIN at Florida that can exceed even the most lofty of expectations.

October 27: vs. Tennessee
As a fan of college football, there’s a lot to like about Tennessee: Smokey, Peyton Manning, beautiful Neyland Stadium, the Rocky Top fight song, and Derek Dooley’s amazing hair + custom tailored orange pants. It’s too bad that the Volunteers haven’t been very good for the past few years, because it seems like the fan base is fairly reasonable expectation-wise. Tennessee has a great quarterback and…well, uh, I like it when they wear the white tops and orange pants. And who can dislike Smokey? Anyway, the Gamecocks will WIN this game.

November 10: vs. Arkansas
It’s the final “Never Forget” game of the season. I’d argue that South Carolina played worse in the loss to Auburn last year, but obviously losing 44-28 “looks” worse than losing 16-13. The most frustrating thing about losing to Arkansas last year is that I don’t think the Razorbacks are that good. They benefited from being in the same division as LSU and Alabama. This is not to say that they don’t have good players—Tyler Wilson and Knile Davis are not scrubs. But if you think that you’re getting a good result out of a football team coached by John L. Smith, then you’ve got another thing coming. This will be a relatively easy WIN.

November 17: vs. Wofford
(Guess who just realized his birthday falls on a Friday this year?!!?!!?!!?!!?) If Congress wants to meddle in sports, perhaps eliminating these cash grab games (usually the lesser team gets a six figure payday to come and be beaten badly) would be worth the effort. It’s not like they succeeded at eliminating PEDs from baseball, so why not take a stab at something else. Oh yeah, I think this will be a WIN.

November 24: @ Clemson
This has to be the most anticipated meeting with Clemson in at least the past 10 years, right? You know the back story, maybe:
-South Carolina beats Clemson 34-17
-Todd Ellis says something that he thought Steve Spurrier said, and people ran with it
-Turns out Steve Spurrier didn’t say it (I guess)?
-No one tells Dabo Swinney this, who then says stuff about the real USC and real Carolina and real pulled pork and real breasts
-Everyone in the state of South Carolina gets lathered up and their panties in a wad at the same time. State unity, y’all!
Of course, both teams come into the season with high expectations. Would the National Guard be called in if both teams are 10-1 (or 11-0) coming into this game? Would people outside of the state of South Carolina give a crap? It should be noted that Clemson still has a solid upper hand in the overall series, but the Gamecocks have won the last three. A 4th consecutive win would probably get Dabo Swinney fired would be the first time that was done by the Gamecocks in almost 50 years. It would also legitimize the team. Get through an SEC schedule with just one loss and beat your in-state rival? Not bad, guys. Not bad at all. WIN

Loose ends
-While I’m not predicting any postseason games at this point, I do think the Gamecocks will make it to the SEC Championship. I think Georgia loses at Missouri and against Florida.
-I think you will see Lou Holtz literally drool on television this year.
-I believe that Erin Andrews will always have great hair, as will Derek Dooley.
-A white quarterback will win the Heisman trophy. Been too long of a drought for those guys.
-You will hear the word “physical” somewhere around 4098 times in a football game before mid September.

I’ve been wanting to write about both of these guys for a while now. So, consider it a double treat.

By popular request, here I am Tebowing for the strength to write this post.

Tim Tebow: Just let it ride, y’all.
I’m pretty sure that I’m a Tebowmaniac. No, I’m not convinced that he can lead the Broncos to the Super Bowl. Frankly, I don’t know if he could lead the Broncos to eight wins. However, I firmly believe that he belongs in the NFL, and this “thing” that he’s currently doing (It’s like snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, but more like actually going down the throat of defeat and yanking victory out of defeat’s esophagus) is working, whether I want to admit that or not. People talk about the “it” factor in sports often (probably too much). Somehow, Tim Tebow has been able to get his teammates, the city, and the most polarizing sports pundit in America to believe in him. That’s remarkable.

You may be surprised to know that Aaron Rodgers has 31 touchdown passes against just four interceptions this year. Or that there are four quarterbacks who have thrown for more than 3000 yards already this season. None of this has really mattered since Tim Tebow has entered the equation. I can honestly admit that his “classic quarterback” pedigree is nearly nonexistent. He’s not an accurate passer. Only Taylor Martinez has a worse throwing motion (probably on the entire planet). As a matter of fact, the reason why he runs so much (and has the 7:1 TD:INT ratio) is because he rarely throws it. Even with his success and popularity, it seems that the Broncos are still hoping to find a front-line quarterback in next year’s draft (Of course, you can’t convince me that John Elway knows what he’s doing yet, Von Miller not withstanding). It’s not fair to mention Tebow’s success without pointing out his shortcomings.

Even with his shortcomings, (and the notion that he did not “earn” the starting QB position in Denver) he is still the most discussed player in the NFL right now. The fascination with Tebow has carried over from college, and because the NFL is so popular, Tebow has infiltrated the mainstream. Peter King shared an email that he got from a guy who overheard two other guys in London arguing about Tebow’s merits as a quarterback. After Thursday night’s game, I posted this on Facebook:

Here’s my thing on Tebow: He’s the outlier. He can’t hit open receivers, his throwing motion looks like a root canal I think, but he makes things happen. No rhyme or reason. BUT WE DON’T NEED ONE. Just let the good, really unbelievable times roll.

I followed that up with this:

People spend so much time talking about how he can’t throw. Or how bad he looks out on the field. Or how they would be offended if they only threw 8 passes in a game (SHUT UP STEVE YOUNG). Sometimes, there are things you can’t explain. I’ve been watching football for 20 years, and I sure as hell can’t explain THIS. So…I won’t. I’ll just watch and spaz out on Twitter when Tebow does what he did in the fourth quarter tonight.

I’m not saying that you should do exactly as I have (though the world would be a better place if you did!) when it comes to Tebow. But whether we like it or not, this Tebow wave will last for as long as he’s in the NFL. Instead of letting it affect your blood pressure, just let. It. Ride.

Dabo Swinney
I’m going to put it on the table, folks: Dabo Swinney is my favorite coach in any sport. Ever. That is pretty delusional coming from someone who roots for the Gamecocks. (But Clemson is our RIVAL, right? Well, “they’ve” beaten “us” almost twice as many times as “we’ve” beaten “them”…so it’s really difficult for me to really have any hatred toward Clemson.) Here’s a little trivia about Dabo: His real name is William Swinney. He got the name “Dabo” from his family because his brother was trying to say “that boy”–but apparently “Dabo” came out instead (and yes, I got that from Wikipedia, so I “know it’s real”).

I’m not sure what the general consensus on Swinney is. Opinions seem to range from “he’s a bumbling idiot who’s nothing more than a glorified cheerleader” to “he’s only good because he has Rob Spence as an offensive coordinator!” Three thoughts here:
1. Swinney majored in business administration at Alabama, and was on the All-SEC Honor Roll team in college.
2. The Tigers were in the ACC conference championship in 2009. It’s not like they suddenly got good.
3. Sure, we’ve seen Happy Dabo. Even more than once. Is this really supposed to be a bad thing?

I’m sold on the guy. This is really cliche, but Clemson really seems to take on the personality of their coach. When they’re playing well, they’re full of energy. It’s almost like they come in an unstoppable wave. At the end of the game, there’s Dabo saying something that will get you fired up (or at least that’s the intent). Maybe I’m just used to Mr. Fidgety I Usually Hate What My Team Is Doing (Steve Spurrier). Maybe I’m easily influenced. Maybe it’s a little of both. Either way, I think it’s time that you should start appreciating him. He’s a breath of fresh air to the tight-lipped coaches that are full of football speak.

(Of course, if this Daboslurp I’m pulling results in a Gamecock victory Saturday, then I’ll do this every year.)

How are Tebow and Dabo related? Well, most of their detractors are convinced that both are all hype. Also, I seem to work myself up in a pretty good lather whenever talking about either individual. Also, they’re white men who have mentioned Jesus in postgame interviews. That’s four things! So, obviously this post makes complete sense! I’m sure that your minds are already made up about either guy. But it’s nice to see another point of view…every few years or so.

What are your thoughts on Tim Tebow? What about Dabo Swinney? Do you think that either person will ever be properly evaluated by fans/journalists/critics?

Author’s note: The opinions in this post specifically are just…opinions. That means, I will pretend to not know what you’re talking about when it’s Week 11, and the Gamecocks are 5-5. Wait a minute, this is foreshadowing!

Yeah, this guy helped me out a little bit.

My name is Jordy McKever, and I can literally talk myself into anything. Last year, you may recall that I foolishly boldly tried to talk my readers into a

Unfortunately, this is Garcia’s greatest moment. Say it together with me, “Le sigh.”

10-2 regular season for the Gamecocks . Of course, that may have been a stretch. However, the fond memories of Stephen Garcia bounce passes, the HBC’s double limp, and Mark Ingram playing 1 vs. 11 (and winning, see the play-by-play for the drive that put Alabama up 2006) are still fresh in my mind.

So, why in the world would I do a season prediction blog again? Well, THAT’S WHAT PEOPLE WHO LIKE SPORTS DO. Bold predictions are all we’re good for. I was going to use Accuscore to assist in looking at each game, but I had no idea that actually using the site cost $130 per month.* So anyway, you’re stuck with me. You decide on whether or not that’s a good thing.

*Quick question: Who the hell would pay that for a site that only PREDICTS stuff? NONE OF THIS IS ACTUAL FACT. This is rather ridiculous. I’m not down with Accuscore. I have no idea why this even upsets me. I can make bad predictions all by myself, guys!!!

(More background: I couldn’t tell you who’s in the starting lineup. I have not attended a practice/scrimmage/group outing where people complain about Stephen Garcia and ticket prices. I don’t even know the schedule from memory. Wait…maybe I do. Southern Miss, Georgia, Furman, Auburn, Alabama, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, Clemson? Somebody fact check that for me! Anyway, this is just more proof that none of what I’m saying should be taken seriously. Unless, I am right, of course.)

So anyway, let me stop wasting your time. Time to get my prediction on!

Sept. 2: vs. Southern Miss
Somehow, the Gamecocks have been featured on the opening game of the season for the past three years. What on Earth makes ESPN fall for this shit In the better brand of football NFL, the opening night game is usually reserved for the defending Super Bowl champion. Having said that, the Gamecocks have won all three of these games. Of course, with a cupcake non-conference foe to start things, why not continue this streak? WIN

Sept 11: vs. Georgia
The number 1 question I’ve been asked this year is, “Are we going to beat Georgia?” It’s a valid question to ask. Georgia is the closest SEC member we have geographically, and the game even has a stupid name: Between the Hedges! Anyway, the numbers, um, don’t look good. Last win vs. Georgia in Columbia? Um, gulp, 2000. And Georgia has something to prove. They’ll have a new QB, the coach is on the hot seat and their former AD may or may not have been behaving badly this summer. Sorry folks, not a good look for the Gamecocks here. LOSS

Sept. 18: vs. Furman
Exhibit #1 why college football will never be as good as the NFL. These “top teams” are consistently playing lower level competition. Save your “but the conference schedule is tough enough” for another day. Check out some of the non-conference “clashes” for some of the top teams in the country: (rankings in parenthesis)
-Alabama (1): vs. San Jose State, at Duke, vs. Georgia State (yes, the team starting their first season ever)
-Florida (4): vs. Miami (OH), vs. Appalachian State (and no, this is not 2007, folks)
-Texas (5): vs. Rice, vs. Florida Atlantic
-Nebraska (7): vs. Western Kentucky, Idaho and South Dakota State
-Oregon (11): vs. New Mexico and Portland State le sigh.
Truth be told, the Gamecocks are just like the other teams in scheduling such cream puffs. Still, it’s ridiculous. I must say that until there’s a playoff you can’t really lay claim to being the “best in the land” when your schedule includes wins over San Jose State and Georgia State. Having said that, I think the Furman game is a WIN.

Sept. 25: at Auburn
Well, um, can’t say that this is the first road game you want to have. Auburn is one of those teams that is allegedly on the rise. Of course, it may be long before people remember that

Wait, Auburn has a new coach now?!!? Oh.

Gene Chizik was a terrible coach at Iowa State before being hired by Auburn. Since this is a bizarro blog and all, why not go ahead and say that the Gamecocks will take this game? WIN

Oct. 9th: vs. Alabama
OK. Stay with me here for a second. You’ll have an undefeated, likely still top-ranked Alabama coming to town against a likely ranked South Carolina. Anyone with sense would make this a night game. Alabama didn’t just cakewalk to the title last year; they had some definite near misses along the way (Tennessee, anyone?). Well, at this point, you would think that this would be the game where the Gamecocks throw caution to the wind. The zone blocking works like magic against Alabama’s inexperienced defense. My roommate and I kidnap Mark Ingram the night before the game. Stephen Garcia (or Connor Shaw) makes a play (or three) that makes everyone say, “Now THAT’S a quarterback!” What will this all lead to? A WIN. Yeah, I said it.

Oct. 16th: at Kentucky
If there was ever a time to have a “letdown game,” this would be it. Everybody’s fired up after taking down the top ranked team in the country. Now people think the Gamecocks are contenders. Who needs to be ready for Kentucky? I mean, when was the last time the Gamecocks even lost to Kentucky? (It’s 1999, if you care to know.) I’m going to continue with the bold theme here and call this a LOSS.

Oct. 23rd: at Vanderbilt
One may consider this as a letdown game possibility, but, um, that would mean that we always beat Vanderbilt. I’ll let you guess as to who has won 2 out of the last three meetings. Anyway, Vanderbilt’s got a new coach. Which means that somehow people will care even less about football at Vanderbilt there should be a lot of…adjusting! Too much time for that instead of…beating the Gamecocks!! WIN

Nov. 6th: vs. Arkansas
This game really depends on whether or not Ryan Mallett is contending for the Heisman Trophy. As Darren McFadden, Tim Tebow, and Mark Ingram before him, the Gamecocks know how to help a Heisman campaign. I suppose it might be time that South Carolina decided to, you know, stop aiding Heisman campaigns and WIN against the Hogs.

Nov 13th: at Florida
You know the history: One win against the Gators in the past 5342 years. You may also recall the 56-6 whitewashing that took place in 2008. Really, whatever you recall, it’s never good when it comes to Carolina vs. the Gators. But hey, Peyton Manning never beat Florida either! But since this is a bizarro blog, why not

No more Tim Tebow bowling guys over! Now's our chance!

having Carolina beat Florida? Seriously, they’ll have new starters on defense, a new quarterback, and a coach who can’t seem to make up his mind. You may have heard this before, but if there ever was a time to beat Florida…WIN

Nov. 20: vs. Troy
See the Furman section for my thoughts on games like this. To be safe, I’d rather play this game November 14th. That’s right—a day after the Florida game. The Gamecocks would still be pumped over the Florida win. OK, so this game won’t happen until a week later. Still, should be enough for a WIN.

Nov. 27th: at Clemson
Because Georgia will be heading to the SEC Championship, (YEAH, I SAID THAT) there won’t be the excuse of “conserving to get ready for another game.” Having said that, the last Carolina win in Clemson was…oh wait, 2006! You could even talk yourself into a BCS bowl bid, and the first 10-win season since I predicted it last year 1984. Will this be enough to overcome the Tigers? Yes!! WIN

Jan. 1st: Capital One Bowl (vs. Iowa)
How about that, a real bowl game! Well, this would be a great chance to get revenge on that debacle from the Outback Bowl in 2009. And, why not end the season with 11 wins (most ever) and a top ten ranking? This is a bizarro blog! Suspend reality with me, please!!! WIN

So, there you have it. In about 1400 words, I once again see great things for the Gamecocks. It’s a classic “Nobody believed in us!” season indeed. Of course, if I’m wrong, just pretend I never wrote this.