Wednesday, February 29, 2012

THE CRANKSHAFT GAZETTE: Darrin Horn credits Karaoke skills for keeping his job


Folks at Harold’s Country Club in Yemassee were shocked to see Gamecock Basketball Coach Darrin Horn grab the karaoke microphone late Saturday night.  They shouldn’t have been, as Horn has made the impromptu singing appearances his new calling card at various bars, taverns and restaurants on the weekend.  

Following the Gamecocks loss to Tennesee over the weekend, Horn knew he would have to come up with something good.  “I chose Bridge over Troubled Waters because that is what this season is all about.  Just getting over the rough patch and connecting to next year.  I didn’t see a dry eye in the house when I crooned that last lay me down.”  

Horn has made sure to hit locations in Charleston, Greenville, Aiken, Myrtle Beach and Columbia as well following horrible losses to make sure he keeps the fan base behind him.  “Yes, when I was out at Sandlapper’s a few weeks ago, I got a standing ovation for Comfortably Numb, and the folks in the Upstate really warmed to my version of ‘Basketball’ by Kurtis Blow.”  

USC Athletic Director Eric Hyman is denying rumors that a Greatest Hits CD of Horn’s performances is being put together in lieu of a season highlights DVD. 

(Click below to hear YouTube recording that we think might be Darrin Horn but was wmislabeled as Simon and Garfunkle.)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

MOO U News: "BEST ACTOR" Oscar goes to... Dabo


In a stunning upset, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded the 2012 Oscar for  “Actor in a Leading Role” to Dabo Swinney for his incredible scripted performance misquoting Steve Spurrier following the South Carolina-Clemson game in 2011.  Swinney hoped to be the first active head football coach to win the award, and says the historic moment overwhelmed him.  He broke down on stage when accepting the trophy in the same manner as Halle Berry.   

“This gives hope to every football coach who has had his rear end handed to him three straight seasons by his arch-rival that you can come up with a way to distract your fan base,” said Swinney, who says it won’t be his last time at the podium.  “I am not Lane Kiffin...I am not able to leave for another job out west.  I have to keep these folks up here fooled, or I am back to selling cars.”

Swinney says that he drew inspiration for his short film from such media ploys as Richard Nixon’s “Checkers” speech and Ted Kennedy’s press conference following Chappaquiddick.  “I can’t be a 1-note organ like Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny.  I have to be ready to do this again next year to save my hide.”  Rumors are circulating that Swinney has been in talks with Penn & Teller for more ways to use sleight of hand and misdirection to keep the fans in Orange riled up in the fall.  

“Yeah, I got some stuff in the works, but for tonight I just want to enjoy this moment.  Me, Lindsay Lohan and Nick Nolte are going to White Castle and we may run into Jeff Goldblum.” 


Monday, February 27, 2012

The “chemistry” question only gets answered after a loss...or two

I am very excited that our National Champs are off and running at 6-0 to start the baseball season.  With as many new position players and bullpen questions that we were facing going into the campaign, I thought we might actually stub our toe once or twice even in these early contests.  That hasn’t happened because our starting pitching has even been better than we were promised.  

So now we face our first “midweek” land mine and then the annual rivalry series against Clemson.  Whether it is this week, or when the Gators come slithering into town, or some other time, this team will get popped in the mouth in 2012 and face a setback or two.  That’s just reality, and so is the fact that chemistry is crucial on the baseball field.  Without it, we have no real shot to get back to Omaha.  

Granted, we all hope it won’t be this particular weekend, but who knows?  Yes, I hope we win all 4 games and we find ourselves laughing out loud at Jack Leggett again.  It would be especially fun considering that they are downright desperate and counting on baseball to end our streak.  If they don’t, we will likely be accused of dipping our bats in liquid nitrogen, putting ex-lax in their Gatorade or some other tin-hat theory but I digress.  We will certainly be favored to win 2 of 3, but Clemson is always a very good baseball team and certainly could come out firing on all cylinders.  

This is why I am so thankful we have Ray Tanner.  He has shown he can handle whatever is thrown at Carolina.  Two years ago, we lost the weekend series to Clemson including getting completely stomped in Columbia 19-6 on Sunday, March 7.  The Gamecocks sat at 6-4 at that point and we were sour.  Come on, admit you were sour.  Tanner and crew came together and exploded for a 30-5 stretch that included a 16-5 start in the SEC!  That season ended pretty well as you know. 

There have been other smaller examples as well over the years and I have always felt the team seemed to be able to find that chemistry, that voice and get everything it could out of a season.  Now this doesn’t mean we always are happy with the way the season ends or that every year is some Mary Poppins fairy tale.  But whenever we do face that challenge this season and we are upset and a little ticked off after a bad weekend or two, I know we’ve got the right Coach to take it and mold it like clay into a positive identity for this team.  

So count me among the many who are quite content to sit back and enjoy another exciting ride with our new young Gamecocks.  TRUST IN TANNER! 

Monday, February 20, 2012


The Cock-A-Booster (Ted Felder) was fortunate to be able to sit down with former Two-Time National Champion USC Player - SCOTT WINGO.  This is FINAL PART of a multi-part interview with Scott.  The Cock-A-Booster would like to thank Scott Wingo for sitting down with us and talking about  the past, present, and future of the YARD COCKS!


PART 7 -

NOTE:  If you are unable to hear this interview or it will not download on your computer, please email us and we will send you the file via email.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Clemson custodial staff joins assistant football coaches as highest paid in the nation



Click to Enlarge

In an effort to have every single employee be named the highest paid ever at their respective jobs, Clemson has given their custodial employees a 345% pay increase.  Tiger President Jimmy Carnival Barker was quite pleased with the janitorial move, and popped in a pull of Red Man plug in celebration.  “When you throw money at problems it fixes them.  That’s the Clemson way.  Our janitors will now be better at cleaning up vomit and trash because we overpay them.” 

This isn’t the first time the upstate school has wasted money to try and fix problems.  After Clemson’s football team gave up 70 points to West Virginia and 34 to Carolina, they went out and hired a defensive coordinator whose defense was actually worse than the Tigers and made him one of the highest paid coaches in the nation. 

Clemson Athletic Director Terry Don Enus Billy Bob Thornton Phillips says that even if they aren’t the best in their field and haven’t produced results that warrant exorbitant pay, the University believes that making them the richest in the world will fix the football problems.  “An overpaid and bloated staff is always the way to go, as we’ve seen in the Federal Government.  More money is always the solution, not results on the field,” said Phillips who went on to predict big things for the Tigers in 2012.  “Yes, we now believe we will be able to beat a team other than Virginia Tech that has some credibility nationwide.  Fans have a right to expect that.” 

Dabo Swinney was asked to comment about the recent cash dump, and he immediately declared himself the Willy Wonka of Pickens County.  “Happy Oompa Loompas win football games and we now have the fattest and happiest oompa loompas in the world.”  Swinney then opened an umbrella and began skipping away from the podium singing “I’ve got a golden ticket.” 

This NCAA/Carolina nonsense is garbage.

I am going to put words to what most Gamecock fans are thinking about this NCAA witch hunt in Columbia.  Outside of the “Al Gores” in our fan base who rush to be the first to the microphone to declare what has happened as wrong, most Gamecock fans are tired of being the outlet the NCAA uses to prove it can be tough. 

To borrow and alter a famous quote about the NCAA’s long history of randomly enforcing its own rules, “The NCAA is so mad at Ohio State they may put South Carolina on ten years of probation.”  That about captures it for me.  They are a joke of an organization that ignores major violations at some schools while just punishing the hades out of other schools for nothing but piddly-ante petty stuff. 

First it was the iron hammer they brought down on Lou Holtz.  Oh I remember how everyone who hated Carolina was just wringing their hands with pleasure and anticipation over what nasty deeds were going to be uncovered.  The Nuremberg Trials weren’t as exhaustive and thorough as the proctology exam Holtz and USC went through at the time. 

What were the results?  The NCAA had successfully uncovered (gasp) massive tutoring going on for athletes!!  And in one case, (again, gasp) someone had gotten a ride to the tutoring sessions.  Much like John Cleese in “Life of Brian” when the Roman soldiers destroyed the old man’s house and only found a wooden spoon, the NCAA had to act like they were after the tutoring the whole time.  You can just hear the conversation.  “Well done, NCAA, well done.  These efforts to help the student-athletes better themselves academically must be stopped.” 

Now we have a situation where a hotel was in its down time and gave a special rate to Gamecock students to fill some empty rooms.  Most of the students who benefited weren’t athletes, a detail which gets lost in the narrative as you would expect.  After applying peak rates and doing everything it can to paint this picture as some ugly sordid tale of corruption, the highest number that can be attached to it is $55,000.   And because of the silliness we went through over the tutoring episode, we technically fall under the “repeat offender” language.  You can’t make this up! 

The other piece of this is that the SAM foundation had one participant end up at Carolina from all the student-athletes they helped, and the head of the foundation had some ties in the past to Carolina.  I’m not kidding about this one either.  The pretzels folks had to twist themselves into to make this one look sinister were really impressive. 

Meanwhile, other schools that will remain nameless are actually out there shredding the rules in major ways in total blatant defiance of the NCAA.  In some cases, they are money-making national names that the NCAA needs to promote itself and pull in cash or in other cases are needed to be used like viagra to prop up wilting and failing conferences to give them a dose of credibility. 

Until all of this changes, schools like Carolina will continue to be crucified over nothing while other schools will get a pass over the big stuff.  What a joke the NCAA was, is and apparently will be.  I know we’re going to get a bowl full of the company line about this over the next month and that’s fine.  Spurrier, the Vanilla Tarheel and President Pastides are handling things right and I am glad. 

I just wanted there to be one place where the actual thoughts and feelings of most of the USC fans would be expressed.  When they are done just punishing the wee-wee out of the Gamecocks for nothing, they can then go back to ignoring major violations in other locales.  So consider this our collective dropping of the pants and giving the NCAA a “Carolina Moon” in response.  J

Monday, February 13, 2012

It’s all about Roth and Price

Matt Price
Ray Tanner has many potential roadblocks to jump before his Gamecocks can get back to the Super Regionals, much less Omaha.  Almost the entire infield is new, Jackie Bradley Jr. is eating Clam Chowder and John Taylor’s inning-eating is no longer an option in the bullpen.  But let’s just cut right to the heart of 2012 for the Yard Cocks:  Michael Roth and Matt Price are the horses we plan to ride back to Nebraska. 

Good pitching beats good hitting is the old saying and the Garnet and Black faithful need that to be true like never before.  Don’t misunderstand, I am not saying the new position players won’t get it done.  They all seem very talented and maybe USC won’t miss a beat.  It’s just that we KNOW we are strong in the starting pitching rotation with these two guys toeing the rubber. 
Michael Roth
The new bats benefited last year’s Gamecock team in my opinion and I think that will be the case this year also.  Nobody was better at creating runs, small ball and air-tight defense than the Gamecocks in 2011.  I still go back and shake my head watching the miracles we performed in Omaha with Wingo and crew.  We need more of that in 2012 if there is a postseason run in the cards. 
When we do need to find some pop in the lineup, it is a luxury to be able to lean on an All-American in Christian Walker.  The guy played through what seemed like 400 broken bones last year and still produced when we needed it.  Also, based on what we’ve seen in the preseason from the new names like Joey Pankake and LB Dantzler, we should have enough offense to get the runs we need.  And let’s face it, we shouldn’t “need” that many if our senior starters are as good as we hope.   
That leaves the third leg of the tripod and the one causing the most anxiety, which is relief pitching of all stripes.  Carolina has a ton of good arms, but we are replacing in my opinion the best middle reliever and best closer in the nation from 2011.  John Taylor made 50 appearances and Matt Price’s shutting down of opponents scared and impressed everyone in the world except for Orel Hershiser.  At best, it will take a few weeks to get settled on who has what role in the new look bullpen.  
Ray Tanner

All in all, considering what the Gamecocks have accomplished the last two seasons, this is not a horrible set of question marks to face in 2012.  I think once we get our legs under us we’ll be fine, although the SEC is as brutal as ever.  As Coach Tanner likes to say, a five-game swing in the conference is the difference between 35-25 an 40-20.  Take our veterans, mix in the newcomers, and throw in just a pinch of chemistry and leadership and we’ll get our shot to defend those titles.  TRUST IN TANNER! 

Friday, February 10, 2012

THE CRANKSHAFT GAZETTE: Carolina and Clemson wage fierce battle to win “dumbest hire” award



The 2012 battle to make the stupidest possible athletic hire appeared to be a runaway victory for the Tigers.  When searching for a Defensive Coordinator, the Upstate Kittens found one of the few Defensive Coordinators whose defense was actually worse than Clemson’s this year.  At that point, everyone assumed that Clemson had “dumbest hire” wrapped up. 

“NOT SO FAST,” said the Gamecocks.  The Columbia Cluckers were in need of a new NCAA Compliance Officer.  Internally the discussion began about how this opening could be used to top Clemson in stupidity.  In what can only be described as a boldly moronic move, Carolina got its man from Ohio State University.   

USC President Harris Pastides says the move shows that Carolina stands prepared to be as stupid as is needed to match its rivals in Pickens County.  “I know there are some who doubt our commitment to dumb moves in our Athletic Department.  By going to Ohio State to find our NCAA compliance person, those concerns should be eliminated.”  

CLEMSON AD - Terry Don Phillips
Clemson AD Terry Don Billy Bob Rufus R. Jones Phillips says Clemson will step up its stupidity if needed to keep the Tiggers in the running.  “I still think Venables is the dumber hire by far.  Our defense gives up 70 in a bowl game and we respond by hiring a coordinator who is worse than the one we had.  Tweet that!” 

Regardless of who ends up winning both fan bases can feel comfortable that dumb decisions are alive and well in Columbia and Clemson for years to come. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

SPECIAL INTERVIEW: PART 5 and 6 - Scott Wingo

The Cock-A-Booster (Ted Felder) was fortunate to be able to sit down with former Two-Time National Champion USC Player - SCOTT WINGO.  This is PART FIVE & SIX of a multi-part interview with Scott.  We will release the remaining parts of this interview each week leading up to the 2012 Gamecock Baseball season.  The Cock-A-Booster would like to thank Scott Wingo for sitting down with us and talking about  the past, present, and future of the YARD COCKS!

IF YOU WANT TO HEAR PARTS 1, 2, 3, or 4 click on the tab above that SAYS SCOTT WINGO INTERVIEWS.



NOTE:  If you are unable to hear this interview or it will not download on your computer, please email us and we will send you the file via email.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Eric Hyman: Great leader or Lucky timing?

Almost any Athletic Director has his or her critics, especially at a school that spends lots of money on sports and has passionate fans.   It’s one of those jobs where you almost never get credit for the good and always get the blame for the bad.  But even that doesn’t seem to capture the intense split of opinion over the tenure of Eric Hyman in Columbia.  I don’t know him personally or anything so I cannot offer any first-hand testimony on what kind of “guy” Mr. Hyman is.  I just know that almost everybody has a strong opinion about his job performance, good or bad as they see it.
When I talk to folks who like Hyman, usually there are three main arguments they all include:  1. When Hyman took over at USC, the finances and facilities were a mess and he has clearly turned that around; 2. He has USC competing in the SEC through big money and investment from his YES program; 3. Outside of men’s hoops, athletics at Carolina have never been better. 
Then there are his critics who also generally include three arguments:  1. While Carolina does have more money on athletics to spend, it was raised by driving out loyal fans who backed the school when they were perennial losers; 2. Spurrier and Tanner were already here when he arrived so he just inherited a really good situation; 3. His only men’s major sport hire, Darrin Horn has been a disaster. 
I am simplifying the arguments obviously, and maybe there are other small ones but you can get an idea of where the split is among the fans.  So was it just a lucky timing situation where any idiot with an accounting background could have come in and been just as good as Hyman?  Or is Hyman a great leader who puts results ahead of making people like him? 
Both sides appear to be entrenched too.  Take baseball’s success as an example.  “Supporters” of the AD would say that Mr. Hyman is the one who finally got the new stadium built and that’s why we got over the hump and won the titles.  “Critics” of the AD would say that the stadium was for all intents and purposes a done deal when Hyman arrived and Tanner’s program was already among the national elite. 
There is also a background argument about Hyman relating to his relationship with Ray.  Again, I have no insider knowledge on this subject when I write this, but I have had many Gamecock fans tell me that the two don’t get along.  The heart of this seems to be a buzz that Coach Tanner wants to be the next AD while turning the baseball reigns over to Chad Holbrook.  Even if you assume that is the case, it doesn’t mean Tanner has a personal problem with Hyman or that he is trying to “push him out the door.”  Maybe Ray does want that but is happy to wait until Hyman leaves?  Who knows?
The “Vanilla Tarheel” attracts attention no matter how you cut it.  It’s a debate that may only be settled after he leaves for another job. 

THE CRANKSHAFT GAZETTE: Kentucky apologizes for poor showing in Columbia



Humiliated and embarrassed, John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats left Columbia with their tails between their legs.  The Wildcats barely eeked out an 86-52 win over Carolina, but they are lucky it wasn’t much closer.  Calipari knew exactly where to place the blame for the bad day.  “Kentucky fans who live in South Carolina really dropped the ball today.  I only saw blue shirts in about 11,000 of the 18,000 seats.  That was barely a home game atmosphere.  Truthfully, we’re lucky that thing didn’t drop into the high 20s.  I know we have work to do and we’ll get to it.” 
Gamecock fans had to feel good about the close loss and they were actually heard cheering during introductions.  USC head coach Darrin Horn says even though it is technically a loss, there are many positives.  “They get the win, but they know they were in a fight today.  Sure, they have better players, better coaches and the bigger crowd in our arena, but I wouldn’t say they are a better program.  They don’t want to see us again, I will say that.  The gap may drop into the teens if they aren’t careful.”
When it was pointed out to Coach Horn that his Gamecocks only lost by 15 at Rupp Arena earlier this year, and that some would look at Saturday as a step backwards, Horn said that kind of thinking is just silly.  “Progress is sometimes tough to see and understand, especially for the lay-folk.  We know we’ve got a good thing going and to come out here today and face this kind of hostile crowd and hold it down to a 34 point deficit says worlds about our program and where we’re headed.  Eric Hyman gets the big picture.  Sure, some teams have wins, rankings and championships.  We leave all that to the baseball team.  Basketball is about something deeper and hidden in Columbia.” 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Baseball rivalry strikes the right tone!

There are many similarities between baseball and football in the Palmetto State.  In both sports, the Gamecocks and Tigers have nationally ranked programs.  Clemson has a national title in football, and Carolina has two in baseball.  Both consistently make each sport’s post-season and recruit well for the future.  In other words, both schools are good in both sports! 
The fan bases of garnet and orange seem to be comfortable with this notion in baseball.  My friends of orange ilk and I seem to talk differently in the spring to each other.  The tone is relaxed, enjoyable and we all seem to be secure enough in our own team to be objective about our rivals.  Unlike football, a positive comment about one team doesn’t automatically have to be answered by a similar comment about the other team. (A fun experiment I have done many times if you are skeptical) 
Don’t misunderstand, this doesn’t mean there is “no rivalry” in baseball.  The crowds are bigger and rowdier when the 2 teams meet and the players and coaches get after it as they should.  I just don’t see the “nastiness” in the spring that flows in the fall.  Baseball has it right. 
Granted, football is and always will be King in the South, so it’s not surprising that there is a higher level of passion on the gridiron.  College baseball has advanced light years in popularity in my lifetime, but it still is a distant 2nd to football.  That is not going to change, and that’s fine.  But why is it just so ugly and nasty all the time in football?
If you don’t think this is true, just check Facebook or Twitter during football season.  When one team loses a game, here is what you’ll see lots of from the other fans:  “Where are all the ____ fans now?  They are sure quiet now.  HA HA HA!”  Then when their team loses, you see back the same thing in return.  Then the original person says something like, “I just don’t understand why ____ fans take such pleasure in my team losing!”  And let me clear up any doubt, both sides do it equally even though both fan bases believe that the other team’s fans do it more.  They’re both wrong!  (Side note:  You people who pull for your rival to lose more than for your team to win, seriously consider getting help or finding a new hobby!)
Seriously, if both teams stay consistently good in football, this problem may take care of itself.  Over time, the baseball rivalry tone may become the norm for kickoffs also.  I hope so.  There is just no need for it to be so dadgum personal.  I have seen friendships and families affected by it and that is just sad. 
When I started this blog, one of my goals was to illustrate through example how you can poke fun at your rival without getting all dark and mean about it.  I have my Moo U articles every week to do this, and they have been a big success with both sets of fans.  I have only had one “formal” negative complaint from a Tiger so far and it wasn’t even about a Moo U article.  Thanks to everyone, Garnet, Orange and other who read The Cockabooster!  I will continue to show you can have the passion and fun without the hate.  J