Posts Tagged ‘Dabo Swinney’

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.

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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?

BREAKING NEWS: Yours truly will actually not be working on Saturdays and Sundays now. This makes me…just like most of you. Anyway, this means that I could actually write about football on Sundays from now on. I know you’re SO excited about this.

So, even though I worked from mid morning until the early evening, I still watched football from noon til midnight. (That’s how Gs do it, y’all.) I got a good enough look at all of the other games to waste your time with telling you what I thought about things to come away with a lot of thoughts. I was impressed by quite a bit yesterday. Here are the five teams that impressed me the most (in most impressed to not as impressed but still impressed):

(All photos “borrowed” from the guys at 30 FPS. Aren’t they cool?)


1. Clemson
I got into a friendly, yet passionate debate via Twitter about the merits of Clemson after their wins over Auburn and Florida State. I just didn’t think that those two teams were that good, and the games were in Death Valley (every team SHOULD have an advantage when playing at home). If there was any team that had a tall task Saturday, it had to be Clemson. Playing in Blacksburg against a Virginia Tech team that had won 12 conference games in a row? A Tiger team that has disappointed in the past when expectations have been high? Well, Clemson went to Virginia Tech and laid the hammer down, 23-3. And to think, Tajhjhjhjhjihjhjh Boyd (I know that’s not his real name, but his real name is spelled stupidly enough) was 13-32, and threw a touchdown pass after doing about a 42 step drop. The defense was in the backfield all evening, and now Clemson’s schedule lines up quite nicely for the rest of the season. Hell, even Dabo Swinney looked great in his varsity jacket. I think it’s time to finally take notice of the Clemson Tigers, folks.


2. Alabama Crimson Tide
Sure, Alabama made things look easy by winning 38-10. And, yes…it helps when John Brantley went down in a heap just before halftime. But after the game, Nick Saban mentioned how their man-to-man defense wasn’t working early on (Brantley was just torching the Tide with deep passes early). So, once they switched to zone, that gave them a chance to get more pressure on the quarterback. That was really the difference in the game. Of course, it helps having Trent Richardson and a suffocating defense. But I think that Alabama has been a tad bit overlooked this season. They’ve still got LSU and Auburn, so it’s not as if it’s time to crown them. But anytime you can go in and win by 20+ in Gainesville…that’s impressive.


3. Auburn Tigers
You can’t dance with the champ, you gotta knock him down!!
I use that phrase from time to time because I’m an idiot whenever there’s a team playing the defending champ. Say what you want about Auburn, but they did win the national championship last year. And, South Carolina booty danced with them yesterday. Of course, it helps when opposing team’s quarterback is 9-23 with two INTs, your opponent has some hideous crap on their pants and the stud running back loses a fumble. Also, Auburn ran 92 plays. 92!!! As well as the Gamecocks seemingly played on defense, 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 believe in itself every week. And it also gets Auburn in my Most Impressed List!


4. Wisconsin Badgers
Okay, so it’s hard to not be impressed with a 31 point win over the eight ranked team in the country. Also, credit to anyone who was able to sit and watch that entire game without your eyes bleeding. It was like a candy cane orgy. I’m not really into that sort of thing, y’all. Wisconsin has been good for the past two years. I would love to see them play against an Alabama or LSU.

There is one thing that does annoy me though: The super fawning over Russell Wilson. These commentators act like he’s the greatest quarterback ever, without ever mentioning that he was decent but not spectacular while at NC State. Also, that pass to Nick Toon? Yeah, that was a bad decision, and a lucky catch by Toon. But, whatever, I digress. Wisconsin’s a good team, but it’s not just because of Russell Wilson. They went to the Rose Bowl last year without him! Still, they did enough last night to color me impressed.


5. Washington Huskies
Okay, so you probably don’t watch the Huskies very much. And, it helped that Utah had a questionable choice in uniform (I didn’t even notice those horrendous undershirts. Ye gods!!!). Anyway, Washington barely beat Eastern Washington, got blasted at Nebraska, but yet are 2-0 in conference play after winning by 17 at Salt Lake City. As much as Jake Locker was hyped, his replacement Keith Price has completed 68 percent of his passes with a YPA of 8.5 (Let’s put it this way—Jake Locker never, ever did that). Not sure if I’m just feeling nostalgic, (Holy Marques Tuiasosopo, guys!) but I like where this team is headed. There’s a lot of crud in the Pac-12, but I don’t think that’s coming from the Washington Huskies. At least I don’t think so.

What teams/players/moments impressed you this football weekend? Do you think Clemson is over/underrated or properly rated? Any other things that stood out to you from Saturday? Leave it in the comment bin. Please!