Sunday, November 6, 2011

So, we are 7-2 and unhappy? Sounds good to me!

First let’s review last night’s loss to Arkansas.  The Hogs were the better team, deserved to win and they did. I have seen the “couldas” and “shouldas” lining up on both sides as you would expect.  Could it have been a bigger score if Arkansas doesn’t drop some open passes in the first half?  Yes.  But if you’re going to say that, then acknowledge that the Gamecocks could have won if they make one defensive stop in the second half.  After all, both teams got a non-offensive TD and both teams missed some chances. 
What DID happen is that Arkansas defeated South Carolina 44-28 and Carolina “plummeted” all the way down to…….7-2, still ranked and still alive for the SEC East.  Wait, that’s where this “free-fall disaster” landed us?  Right where most of us had USC before the year started?  Well, most actual Carolina fans had us at 7-2 after 9 games on their preseason prediction list.  I actually had us predicted to be 6-3 at this point.  (Check my facebook page for my preseason calls on the Gamecocks and Tiggers if you are skeptical about this.)
Yes, yes, we were overhyped by the national media before the year started to be more than that.  Largely this was based on three players, two of which who are now not playing.  We also knew that the two positions that could not sustain an injury were offensive line and linebacker.  (Yes, we knew this in the summer.)  We lost our best offensive lineman earlier this year and this week- ahead of the best passing team we have faced- we lose Antonio Allen.  OUCH!  These are not excuses, just the facts ma’am.  To use a very tired cliché, “It is what it is.” 
Arkansas was facing a much weaker and younger defense than we usually field and they took advantage, especially at linebacker.  We couldn’t cover the wheel route or stop the draws underneath our front 4 rush.  We were gashed over the middle three times specifically where Allen would have been. It was a bad night to be facing that good of an offense and we paid the price. 
Yes, yes, Connor Shaw was on the run early and often and made some bad decisions.  Young QBs with thin offensive lines do that sort of thing, but he still had three impressive scoring drives and made some good plays too.  Remember that the mantra all week was that we would not get more than 14 points and we got 21 (plus a really nice pick six from big Devin Taylor). The bottom line is that we scored enough points to win. 
So we have ¼ of the season left to go.  I have to chuckle at anyone who is “unhappy” with the Gamecocks at this point.  We are 7-2, will be ranked in the Top 20 (or 15) and have 3 home games left.  We had a school record win streak on the road snapped Saturday, but ended the season 4-1 away from Williams-Brice Stadium!  With a win over Florida next week, we will have gone 6-2 in the conference this year, our best SEC record ever.  Are we disappointed we lost?  Always.  Did we want an upset of the Hogs?  Sure. But should we be “angry” over where we stand through 9 games?  Heck no! Bring on the Gators!

1 comment:

  1. Nice way to bring us down to earth!! We've been "young & injured" for years & years, but these have been "key" & untimely - that's for sure!!



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