As much fun as holiday bar crawls are, I probably should not commit to all day events. It was fun though. I saw one person dressed as the Grinch. One person was in a full body gingerbread man costume with his head covered and a straw going down his sleeve into his pint. And only one person had the exact same sweater as me. But he was Asian. So there was no confusion.
I want to post an unedited version of the one blog post I made back in 2008 that was basically me venting after South Carolina lost to Vanderbilt. I remember that I also submitted this to Bleacher Report and Lisa Horne of Fox Sports edited it and gave me some comments (back when knuckleheads like me were still allowed to submit articles). I think the Bleacher Report version is slightly different as a result. Its funny to revisit this because everything I predicted turned out to be wrong. And I’m sorry for that. Its fine.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2008
The South Carolina Gamecocks led 7-0 in the 1st quarter against the Vanderbilt Commodores. Steve Spurrier’s team was ranked #24 at the time and had just scored a touchdown by completing a pass to Kenny Mckinley, a receiver that will likely break every gamecock record held by Sterling Sharpe and Sidney Rice. However, at the end of 60 minutes of play it was the Commodores leading 24-17 and on there way to their first win over a ranked team at home since 1992.
In 2007 the Gamecocks got out to a 6-1 start and a #6 ranking in the country before collapsing against Vanderbilt. At the time many believed it was a fluke. One of those crazy games against Vanderbilt when the ‘better’ team was simply not ready to play. It’s happened before against better teams than the Gamecocks and it will likely happen again against better programs than that of South Carolina. As most know, South Carolina skidded to the end of their season and subsequently replaced their defensive coordinator as well as their special teams coach. Against Vanderbilt this year South Carolina allowed 24 points – 7 more than the previous upset; fumbled and lost two punt returns, had a field goal blocked, and the starting quarterback coached by Steve Spurrier threw two interceptions. A win against Vanderbilt tonight would have made South Carolina .500 over their entire history. Instead they will continue to reach. In year 4 of the ‘Head Ball Coach’s’ tenure the Gamecocks have lost back to back games against the underdog Commodores while ranked and this confirms the belief of many college football fans that you cannot win at South Carolina.
Steve Spurrier cannot coach his quarterbacks to not make costly interceptions. His hires of Ray Rychleski and Ellis Johnson yielded the same results, which are poor special teams play and not quite enough defense. Lou Holtz managed to get the Gamecocks in back to back Outback Bowls against Ohio State and won both. He did these mostly with smoke and mirrors. The house olf cards that he built on junior college transfers and overmatched recruits collapsed and the Gamecocks were back to square one. Some believed that while Lou Holtz did not achieve what he did at Notre Dame he atleast established South Carolina as a program fit for another coaching legend that could get them over the top.
Steve Spurrier entered the picture and took the talent recruited by Lou holtz and brought the Gamecocks to their first bowl game in 4 years. Up until the final week of sec play in 2005, the Gamecocks were still vying for the SEC East title. However, like the times before when South Carolina has had success it has been created out of nothing. Steve Spurrier used smoke and mirrors.
The Gamecocks will likely get a bowl berth this year. They were bowl elgible last year at 6-6 but there were not enough bowls to go around. This year more bowls have been introduced and 6-6 for an SEC team should be good enough. The Gamecocks have had 4 straight seasons of bowl elgibility (forfeiting their oppurtunity in 2004 and missing a bowl in 2007) and this could be year number 5. Maybe that’s a good thing for Gamecock fans but it is not what they expected at $1.75M per year for Steve Spurrier and it is certainly not what Steve Spurrier expected after returning from a mediocre stint in the NFL. The problem is not recruiting as the Gamecocks have boasted many top 25 classes over the last 10 years, and multiple of which were top 10 classes. The problem is not easily identifiable.
The coaches have proved at other locations to be successful. The players have proved successful at times and successful in high school and some later on in the NFL. An easy excuse to use would be the same one Boston Redsox fans used for 86 years – ‘cursed’. The problem with that logic is the idea that someone could break the curse. If it exists, it cannot be broken. The gamecocks will never be the Trojans, they will never be the Buckeyes. It may be blasphemy, but they will never be the Clemson Tigers either. They are the Gamecocks. They are a team that will beat Georgia every once in a while and they are a team that will beat Florida every 7 decades. Forever picked to finish #4 in the SEC East and will forever be watching the SEC championship in wonderful high definition television. Home games are fun for fans. They can tailgate, drink, and be merry. The 2001 theme song, better known as ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ will continue to give fans chills up their spine every time it is played while the Gamecocks enter the field. But it should be known that any hope for the program is futile. Any success is temporary and will likely be deemed a fluke. South Carolina is a school that can boast Outback Bowls, NIT championships, and appearances in Omaha for the World Series of Baseball… Oh Yeah, and the Gamecocks are really good at Equestrian.