Thursday, March 29, 2012

Time for Gamecock Fans to do their part in hoops!

Now we find out if the Gamecock Nation is serious about basketball.  Carolina fans had made it crystal clear that they were done with Darrin Horn, and that the Colonial Center would remain an empty garnet tomb until he was gone.  Give Eric Hyman credit for responding to that call in a positive way.  Not only did he remove Horn, but he hit a complete home run in hiring his replacement.  Hyman also made it clear that USC is in a much better place financially now and that consistent resources would be pumped into the program.  In other words, Carolina fans your bluff is being called. 

There are some SEC schools that have decided that basketball is not a priority and it won’t ever be.  That path wasn’t a true option in Columbia after the Colonial Center was built.  So although I am no “company line” defender of Hyman, he was right to double-down and spend the cash and get a coach that is going to put an exciting product on the floor.

Frank Martin appears to be exactly what is needed.  An energetic and outspoken personality, this is a guy that will dive into the Gamecock Club meetings head first and generate interest.  He also has real national panache and is on every large media outlet due to his colorful commentary and strong AAU ties.  Plus he comes across to me as having just a touch of crazy in his eyes, like he might just walk around with dynamite strapped to his chest.  I like it that we have a coach with that kind of “edge” about him.  And I don’t mean “off to the clocktower” angry crazy like Jack Leggett, or “Tigger at Disneyworld” lunatic crazy like Dabo. 

Regardless, this is definitely a coach the fans can unify behind if they choose to and bring relevance back to Gamecock basketball.  And relevance doesn’t mean “being Kentucky.”  It just means being competitive, winning games and finally becoming a factor in the conference and postseason.  Here are a few reasonable and specific targets for Martin to hit during his first five seasons:

  • At least 2 appearances in the NCAA Tournament
  • 2 other appearances in the NIT
  • 2 visits to the SEC tournament semifinals
  • Win 1 meaningful NCAA Tournament game (which would be our first since the early 70s)

Based on where the program is today I would take that list. 

Assuming that happens, Gamecock fans need to double the average attendance at least for basketball games at the Colonial.  At the very least, SEC game attendance should double.  So welcome Coach Martin.  Carolina basketball needed you badly and let’s hope we’re still discussing you in six or seven years. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

USC hire's FRANK MARTIN to lead the men's basketball team...

The Cock-A-Booster will have an new article on the basketball hiring in a day or so...until about our new men's basketball coach here.  

Also, please take a few moments to give "the hire" an unofficial Cock-A-Booster letter grade (vote on our poll to the right).

Thursday, March 22, 2012

MOO U News: Jack Leggett reaches out to Dr. Phil



Clemson baseball Coach Jack Leggett has become obsessed with his inability to defeat Ray Tanner and the Gamecocks, and he finally is seeking help from a professional.  Dr. Phil McGraw will have the embattled coach on his show later this week, and promises he can help him get over his demons.  “Jack needs to relax or he is going to have an episode of some kind,” said Dr. Phil, who indicates he had never seen such a manic obsession in all his years of therapy.  “Yeah, his rear end is as tight as a tick on a fat coon-dog.  How has that been working for him?”  

Clemson Athletic Director Terry Don Hubba Bubba Gritcake Jesse Willie Walt Beech Nut Phillips supports the move by Leggett and says the school is ready to see him back to his old form again.  “Jack knows we love him and we just want to see him get the help he needs.  

We spotted Leggett buying a chili dog and a blizzard at an upstate Dairy Queen, and we asked the coach if wanted to comment.  He declined but did mutter some random comments about Ray Tanner’s hot bats before exiting. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

NOW we find out what kind of team we have!

It was bound to happen Gamecock fans.  The 2012 baseball team is talented, has a few very high-profile veteran names on the marquis and got off to a great start.  So it was easy to ignore the youth and errors as we rolled through the early “bunny” games on the schedule.  It wasn’t until we actually got beat that we would be able to re-focus.  That has happened and it should be a good thing for the rest of the year.
First of all, let’s address Kentucky.  Congratulations to them on the weekend sweep.  They were hungry and excited and are on a good streak right now.  It was the PERFECT weekend to catch us and every call and break went their way.  Hey, we’ve certainly benefited over the last few years from situations like that so just tip your caps to them and move on.  Let’s see where the Wildcats are in June to find out if this was real or just a “hot team on a roll” mirage.  

Either way, we should just shake it off and get ready because #1 Florida is in town Thursday and I think they are certainly ginned up by their start and what happened in Lexington.  The Gators smell blood in the water and they want to lay down a marker that they have not forgotten the 1-4 record against USC in 2011.  

This target on our backs is what happens when you have sustained success in a major sport and we better get used to it.  Everyone wants to beat us and anyone who hasn’t had that kind of success will treat it like the greatest thing ever.  If you doubt me, look at how we have treated our wins over Alabama in football.  

To bring Kentucky into the analogy since they are the team that beat us, think about it this way:  We look at Kentucky in baseball and football the same way they look at us in basketball.  When we beat them on Senior Day at Rupp and swept them in hoops a few years ago we went ballistic and it meant nothing long-term.  They still have parades over the time they beat Spurrier there in football and this weekend will probably end up as a DVD purchase to their fan base and those really mean nothing long-term.  

Now that we have been popped in the mouth and “bloodied up” a little, we must now find THIS team’s chemistry and identity.  I look at Tanner English, LB Dantzler, Connor Bright, Grayson Greiner and the other “newbies” and I see a much stronger and better Carolina team in May than we have on March 18.  The bad news?  We have a meat grinder to go through before we get to May.  That’s life in the SEC.  

So yes, in many ways, our “new” season starts in Columbia this weekend.  I know which horse on which I am betting.  So bring on those top-ranked lizards.  Trust In Tanner! 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Top 10 reasons Ted Felder (aka "The Cock-A-Booster") should be the new Gamecocks Hoops Coach!

10.   Won a chair-throwing contest against Bobby Knight at the 1993 Des Moines State Fair. 

9.   Knows how to say “The Garnet Way” in three languages-  English, Swahili and Southern. 

8.   Can Chest-Bump better than Jack Leggett or Dabo Swinney

7.   Years of careful study of Gene Hackman’s character in Hoosiers.

6.   Looks like Ryan Gosling and speaks like Darrell Waltrip

5.   Will only ask for a $1 million buyout

4.   Would be willing to suck up to Corey Miller, Rick Henry AND Jay Phillips

3.   Considers Brian Shoemaker and Tony Morrell to be “celebrities.” 

2.   Would challenge Ron Morris to thumb-wrestling war on day one.

1.   Has never hiked the Appalachian Trail. 

1993 Photo of Indiana Coach Bobby Knight warming up prior to
Des Moines State Fair Chair Throwing Contest.

Knight would eventually fall to the ultimate (but relatively unknown)
chair-thrower, TED FELDER!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

THE CRANKSHAFT GAZETTE: Hyman finally snaps over Horn firing!



USC Athletics Director Eric Hyman has been visibly stressed by months of hearing about the pathetic shape of the men’s basketball program in Columbia.  So it was no surprise that he ripped off his shirt, started pulling on his hair and screamed random expletives at the press conference where he announced the firing of Darrin Horn.

Hyman noted as part of his opening remarks that it certainly has been a frustrating process for both he and the fans, and that he understands why there was such a strong push for change.  “If I hear one more jack*** idiot fan mention his name, hear me say right now that I WILL kick you in the *****.  Everyone who has been riding me like Seattle Slew to get rid of this guy, congratulations!  You and all your dadgum minions have your pound of flesh, so LEAVE ME THE **** ALONE!” 

Hyman went on to thank Coach Horn for his service to the University and that he wished the young coach well in his future endeavors.  “Thank the good lord in heaven I can finally stop talking about our ****** basketball team.  I honestly just wish the Colonial Center would implode into a pile of ******* rubble.  I HATE this stupid sport!” 

The Cockabooster’s Ted Felder asked Hyman at the press conference if he had formulated a plan for finding a new coach.  He responded by jumping over the table and strangling Felder with his microphone wire.  Onlookers took the gesture to mean that he would be seeking a high-profile coach possibly with ties to the state for better recruiting. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

THE CRANKSHAFT GAZETTE: USC President, Board and AD celebrate terrific basketball season!



Gamecock basketball has never been better according to University officials, who held a public celebration of the program’s success this year.  USC President Harris Pastides was first to the microphone to congratulate Darrin Horn.  “I don’t think anyone thought we’d even get one conference win, much less two.  For this program to be having that kind of success is beyond our wildest expectations from where we were four years ago. Congratulations to all involved.”  Pastides then cracked open several bottles of champagne and sprayed both members of the press that showed up. 

Following up on that, Carolina Athletics Director Eric Hyman lit a giant cigar and was cackling as he boasted about the 2-14 conference season.  “This is not about Eric Hyman.  Eric Hyman is not the kind of guy that takes credit for other people’s success in sports (like Ray Tanner and Steve Spurrier).  Darrin Horn deserves all the credit for this tremendous program.  As my only hire in a men’s major sport, it’s nice to see him enjoying such success.”  

The third leg of the tripod, the USC Board of Trustees, also made it clear that they are more than happy with the product at the Colonial Center.  In a release, the board says that in their minds there were massive ticket sales, huge crowds and an excitement level among students for hoops not seen since the 1970s.  Board spokesman N. Serious Denial explained.  “Look at the Kentucky and Ohio State games.  We had huge crowds at those games, and there were several other nights where we had at least one person sitting in every section.  During the Mississippi State game, there was very little echo due to empty seats.  That’s better than trying to fill seats with fans anyday.”  

When asked what improvements needed to happen moving forward, Denial acknowledges that some minor tweaks to the program could never hurt.  “We probably need to block off the upper deck and most of the lower deck so that it doesn’t look like there are any empty seats at games.  Also, we need to combine major concerts with basketball games to increase attendance on paper.  Some negative types insist on looking at numbers of bodies in attendance, fan interest and revenue intake as gauges for the program.  So yes, we need to up our ‘smoke and mirrors’ budget moving forward.” 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

MOO U News: Clemson “defeats” Carolina 1 game to 2 in weekend series. Leggett leads wild celebration!



In his proudest moment as a baseball coach, Jack Leggett led his Clemson baseball team in a chaotic and wild celebration, including the singing of “We are the Champions” at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Sunday afternoon.  His Tigers had managed to salvage a lone victory in the 3-game weekend set, and in his mind since it was the last one played that meant the Tigers won.  “We have shown the entire state and the world that we are better than Carolina now, and that’s all that matters.  Some people would rather have 2 wins as opposed to 1, but not me.  1 is more than 2 every time it’s counted in my mind.” 
Leggett and his players dogpiled on the field after the game on Sunday, and he planned to drive as far as needed to get a tattoo of the score etched on his rear end.  “This is the high point for me as a Coach, no doubt.  The record books will show that the last time our teams took the field we won.  That means Ray Tanner wants no part of coaching against me.  Period!  Tweet that!” 
The Gamecock players were stunned and confused as they watched Clemson celebrate.  Christian Walker summed it up by saying, “We had never heard of a team losing 2 of 3 to someone and still dogpiling on the field.  That was new to us, and we admit that.  But I do have to admit that Richie Shaffer has a sweet voice just like Freddie Mercury.”
Clemson Athletics Director Terry Don Joe Bob Billy Cooter Phillips Head Screwdriver, realizing how stupid the celebration was, and how poorly it would be perceived nationally, immediately went into spin and damage control.  “Coach Leggett’s actions today were quite unusual, and caused by a very tight necktie at church.  Also, he had a second cup of coffee at breakfast and was hearing voices again.  No big deal.” 

Young Gamecock squad passes first major hurdle

Okay, okay.  Michael Roth is a total veteran, and so are Adam Matthews, Evan Marzilli and Christian Walker.  And sure, a few other names also are hardly rookies on the roster but when it comes to position players Carolina’s squad feels like a bunch of talented fawns trying to get their legs under them. 
Pankake, Vergason, Dantzler, Greiner, Costen and English aren’t household names in Columbia yet, and some growing pains and bad plays were going to be in the cards early on in 2012.  Pankake and Dantzler have drawn most of the spotlight for errors, totaling 8 of the team’s 12 between them.  There is no question the surgical precision of infield play Gamecock fans enjoyed the last two years is not there yet.  (Frankly, we haven’t seen the last of the bumps and bruises we’re going to face in the first half of the year.  I wish we got the Gators a bit later this year but I digress.) 
Anyway, here came the angry and nationally ranked Tiggers.  Clemson planned to jump on the young Gamecocks early and often, focused like a laser on winning at least 2 this weekend.  Jack Leggett would have sold his soul to end the tremendous recent run in the rivalry by the Gamecocks.  Instead, Ray Tanner ran his overall record against Clemson in Columbia to 32-26, including 15 of the last 22 and 30-21 since 2000!
Friday night’s game in Charleston was a classic. It was an intense atmosphere from start to finish, full of high drama and big plays by both teams.  The crowd was electric, split down the middle and everyone got after it.  Roth was brilliant as expected, and only gave up a run from a bang-bang play at home.  That was just enough to keep him from landing another win against the orangies from the upstate because Brady was just as good.  Extra innings, heroic timely hits from USC and one of the finest catches you ever saw ended the contest 3-2 in our favor.  Then on Saturday, Carolina locked down the 100th victory at the new Carolina Stadium 9-6, sealing the rivalry weekend as a success. 
After the series was decided, you had the feeling that if Clemson didn’t win on Sunday, old Jack-Leg might would have really ended up in the clocktower with a rifle.  USC did not play well at all in the finale, bumbling and stumbling around with errors and uncharacteristic other mistakes.  Still, it took Carolina giving up three runs in the final two innings to finally allow the home crowd in orange and white to escape with a 1-run win.  I wasn’t there but apparently Clemson dogpiled on the field following the game after losing the weekend series to their rival. 
Expect that kind of reaction from any team that gets to us this year.  After all, we’re the champs until someone takes that title from us.  And we’ll be much better in May and June than we are today.  TRUST IN TANNER!