I admit it. Steve Spurrier has been right the whole time he’s been at Carolina. We are building a program, brick by brick, the right way and for the long haul. When you do that, and when you are in a real conference and face the schedules we face every year, it won’t be a smooth ascent. Under this Coach, the bumps have been easier to take and it is one fun ride.
It would have been a massive task to build a winner in Columbia no matter what. We don’t have the extra luxuries other SEC schools enjoy. LSU and Georgia are the only real programs in their states so they have a built-in recruiting base that should make it impossible to lose. Win less than 10 games in a regular season in Athens or Baton Rouge and the Coach should be fired on the spot. Period. Also, we don’t have the history or reputation of an Alabama, Tennessee or Florida.
We are held to a much higher standard on NCAA rules and regulations than any other school in the country. We get raked over the coals on things like tutoring and market rates on empty hotel rooms during an economic downturn. Other schools allow their players to beat the daylights out of women and drink down booster cash like water and the NCAA ignores it.
We do not play in a conference where a drunk baboon with a pet starfish can fall rear-end backwards into 10 wins every season. And as an added bonus, anytime a school in our conference has to get the “short end” of the stick (like the 1-year schedule for adding new teams) we are the ones who always get the shaft. Not sometimes mind you. Always. You get the idea. We are not coddled and helped along on our path.
I can tell you without a doubt it’s worth it. I love where the Gamecock football program is and where we are headed. Finally! Yes, the road will continue to be rough and bumpy. Nobody wants us to succeed! Heck, we’ve been through this before. My parents to this day talk about the resistance Frank McGuire got from the North Carolina schools when he was building his hoops program in Columbia. At this point, what our football team is going through is NOTHING compared to those days.
Go back and read the old ACC tales from the Gamecock side. (Start with Bob Fulton’s book as opposed to the tarheel state hack who writes in Columbia now to make us angry and get his jollies) The actual details of what went on during the rise to the top of the ACC are jaw-dropping. You will read about players being dunked in effigy at Wake Forest, Duke and North Carolina conspiring to keep the #1 recruit in the nation out of Columbia, other coaches instigating fights on our court, teams holding the ball incessantly, our Coach’s special needs son being made fun of and many others.
You will particularly enjoy the tale of the 1970 ACC tournament, where we were the #1 seed. Our players and coaches showed up to watch some of the early games in street clothes and unassumingly walked into the arena. The collective group of other fan bases mercilessly booed our players who were just sitting there until they were asked to leave because it was distracting attention from the game being played.
I’m sorry if any of you were hoping that as we started actually causing discomfort in the SEC that we were going to be hugged and celebrated. Not a chance. The recent girly hissy fit and meltdown in Athens are just the tip of the iceberg on the backlash we face moving forward. The days of folks coming to Columbia, picking up their easy win, telling us how neat the Cockabooses are and going home happy are over. Basically, the reaction to the Alabama win last year in Columbia was as close to a “nice” reaction as we’ll ever get. I hope we enjoyed it. That was our “pat on the head, nice job” moment. Wait until we REALLY tip the apple cart over on the powers-that-be in the conference.
|"Everyone calm down...I got this!"|
It is this intangible that makes winning at South Carolina consistently so different, so difficult and such a challenge. It’s something Frank McGuire understood and Steve Spurrier did as well. And what a RUSH to actually do it! It’s so much better to be hated. It really is, and it’s why I say we should just sit back and enjoy the ride. Let the other schools talk all day about what happened during the Carter and Reagan years. Let the other schools have the history and the coddling. Take the past. I like what we have going on (really), and wouldn’t trade places with anyone.
So here’s a toast to 2012 and beating those Nebraska Cornhuskers for 11 wins! But win or lose, what a season! 10 wins, 2 losses, and zero “moral victories.” Most importantly perhaps…no one likes it but us. Awesome! It’s a great time to be a Gamecock!
Happy New Year from the Cockabooster! J
Happy New Year from the Cockabooster! J
|Happy New Year!|