Saturday, November 12, 2011

At least Carolina is never boring!

Say what you like about the Gamecock football program, but it’s never boring when talking about the Pigskin Poultry Factory at Williams-Brice Stadium.  I can’t decide sometimes if we’re college football’s version of “Days of Our Lives” or “Jerry Springer.”  This is a University whose fan base goes through more ups and downs than First Graders at a Candy Convention.  

I was born in 1971 and have been coherently following Gamecock football since the Carlen era.  I have seen the Rogers years, the Richard Bell disaster of 1982, the Man in Black, Sparky, Brad Scott’s black hole, Dr. Lou and now the Visor. We have been as low as 0-21 and as high as #2 with a legitimate chance to win the national title.  You get the idea…it is a manic roller coaster.  

Fast forward to 2011 and we are still on a bumpy ride full of danger and opportunity.  Take this weekend’s contest against Florida.  A win by the Gamecocks puts us at 8-2 and, assuming we don’t repeat Sparky’s El Cid Error of 1990, we will be 9-2 and in the Top 10 with Clemson coming to town.  Depending on what happens in the poop-filled pigskin kennel in Athens, we may even be SEC East Champs again.  (War Eagle!  But I digress…) Either way, this is a fantastic season for Carolina if we skin the Gators.  Can we all at least agree to that?  

Now if we lose this game, I still think it’s been a pretty good year.  But I would at least understand why the negativity reared its ugly head at that point.  We would still be 8-3 assuming a Citadel win, but there would be no repeat in the East.  Toss in that the Pickens felines are drunk on catnip in the upstate and are rolling into Columbia very loudly on their tractors and orange overalls and yeah I get it.  Coming off a 9-3 year with an East title, and in the context of all the preseason hype we got, I can see being negative then if we must.
I will say this.  Regardless of Georgia/Auburn, I would LOVE to see the atmosphere in Columbia if the 10-1 Tiggers come in ranked sixth or seventh to play us when we are 9-2 and ranked ninth or tenth.  The last time the rivalry game had that much meaning was in 1987, when Brad Edwards certified in stone his legacy in Columbia.  The #12 Gamecocks beat #8 Clemson 20-7.  

Since then Carolina vs. Clemson has largely been a battle of three-toed sloths proving who has the least offensive odor.  Both programs being strong nationally and drawing national media attention to South Carolina.  Hmmm, where have we heard that before?  Baseball.  And most folks without the name Teddy Heffner think it can happen in football too.  A great step in that direction?  Carolina beating Florida on Saturday.  

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