Thursday, May 31, 2012

What is all this playoff nonsense really about?

With all the frenetic conference expansion and new playoff talk, college football is morphing into a new animal for the future.  All of us who enjoy the sport hope that whatever happens is actually an improvement, because there really wasn’t all that much wrong with the sport the way it was. 

A good example is this rabid insistence that we HAD TO HAVE a playoff to determine an “undisputed” national champion.  That line of thinking is what forced the scrapping of the old system that had a lot of really cool and unique features.  Predictably, here we are years later and we still have a system where a team can go unbeaten in division 1 and not have any opportunity to compete for the national title. 

Defenders of the change insist with red-faced vigor that it’s “still better” than what we used to have.  I just don’t see that, especially when the main purpose of the move hasn’t been accomplished and teams still can get frozen out of a chance to play for a title. 

Let’s say this fall that Baylor, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Alabama, Florida State and Southern Cal all go undefeated.  (I haven’t looked at all the schedules to account for random games scheduled if there are any.  If you don’t like these examples, then use your own in your minds for the purposes of the argument).  All the conference championships are done and there are six teams left standing and unbeaten.  No 4-team system nor the “Plus-1” works at that point.  This doesn’t even include non-BCS conference unbeatens.  And again, it does not matter if it is “likely” to happen.  It only matters if it CAN happen.  It even gets worse and more mucked up if you look at a scenario with no unbeatens at all. 

The “ESPN-ification” of College Football has happened and I understand that.  The blood money has been swallowed, and that greedy thirst for dollars will never be quenched.  Why not just take one or two more logical steps forward and the process can then come full circle?  If not, don’t whine to me about the SEC’s dominance.  My conference is the primary benefactor of the changes and will continue to be for the near future.  And perhaps no individual program has improved more over the last decade than my Gamecocks.  Heck, USC is awash with cash now and our facilities are finally getting up to par. 

I am just saying this:  if you’re going to get rid of what made college football different and special for the sake of an “NFL, Jr.” corporate playoff system…GET THERE FASTER!!  Stop trying to be a little bit pregnant.  This all ends with an 8 or 16 team playoff.  If not, then thanks a lot for destroying something that was a true original basically for nothing. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

MOO U News: Dabo Swinney close to contract extension. Carolina fans ready to celebrate!



Sources close to the Clemson football program are reporting that Dabo Swinney will be given a six year contract extension, and that has Gamecock fans all over South Carolina ready to celebrate.  USC Athletic Director Eric Hyman says that Clemson signing Swinney for the long-term would be another step forward for Gamecock football.  “Look at what Dabo has already been able to do to.  Clemson hadn’t had a losing streak to USC since the Nixon administration and he pulled it off.  This is just great news for the entire Gamecock Nation.” 

Although the mood was much more somber and reserved in the upstate, Clemson’s Athletic Director did force out a few comments about the Tigers re-signing their head coach.  Terry Don Done Did Dat Ding Dong Beech Nut Wintergreen Phillips says there was no way to avoid bringing Swinney back at this time.  “I didn’t want to do this but money dictates it.  We are caught in a bad spot right now.  It is what it is. We made some hideous financial decisions that got us trapped with this lunatic, and so we’re going to make the best of it.  Hopefully we’re due for the old ‘blind hog’ running into an acorn or two.”

When asked if the recent ACC Championship played any part in the decision, Phillips just laughed.  “Well, it would have if I had found a way financially to get rid of him.  Thankfully we got humiliated by West Virginia so any problem I would have faced was quickly removed.”  

Phillips did make sure to include mandatory tranquilizers and sedatives for Swinney before any appearances on national television moving forward to avoid any further embarrassing moments for Clemson.  “We don’t need him hopping around like a spider monkey anymore.  And we certainly don’t want him telling the entire nation how wonderful our defense is just minutes before they give up 70 points.  By pumping him full of heavy narcotics each week, those problems should go away.” 

Columbia Regional will be a wild “Palmetto” affair!

Should be an interesting week of baseball in Columbia!

The South Carolina Gamecocks earned a national seed for this year’s college baseball postseason, despite starting what seemed like 500 freshman and struggling against the SEC’s best rivals.  USC will host Manhattan, Clemson and Coastal at the Columbia Regional starting Friday at The Ray.  This year marks the first time that Carolina and Clemson have been put in the same regional since the field was expanded to 64 teams in 1999.  Throwing Coastal into the stew should make Carolina Stadium the wildest venue in the field.  

I have talked to fans from all three in-state schools since yesterday to get a sample of reactions.  They break down basically like you would expect.  Some Gamecock fans don’t feel like Clemson earned the right to stay close to home in the Regionals.  Some Tiger fans feel like they have been handed a death sentence despite playing in the nation’s highest rated conference.  The Coastal fans I talked to feel like they should have been the #2 seed.  

Everyone agreed that the NCAA chose crazy theatre over proper seeding and that probably is right.  The truth is that this decision was bound to happen at some point and all the teams just need to embrace it and deliver a great weekend of baseball.  What an opportunity to showcase our state for the rest of the nation.  It is no wonder that this regional has been chosen as one of the national broadcasts.  

Think of the plot lines and questions that are already surfacing:  Will Ray Tanner start Roth against Manhattan (like he normally does) or hold him for Saturday?  Will Jack Leggett do his annual “tightening up” when his team has a chance to take a big step?  Will Coastal finally land a signature win in the postseason to prove they deserve the national respect they have been demanding?  Will Manhattan ruin the all-Sandlapper Party by upsetting the Gamecocks on Friday?  

Whoever does win this Regional should feel good about their program.  Yes, even the Gamecocks as 2-time defending national champs have a lot of incentive to play well based on history.  We have owned Clemson in Omaha, but not so much during the other parts of the NCAA tournament.  Of course, Clemson needs to slay South Carolina in something of substance to avoid another complete fan-base meltdown.  Meanwhile, Coastal has been playing our state’s version of East Carolina for a few years and just wants to be noticed.  Intensity.  Nervousness.  Passion.  Anger.  Excitement.  You just have to love College Baseball in the Palmetto State.  LET’S GET IT ON! 

Friday, May 18, 2012

LSU resents reputation as a school full of fighting drunks

This story is fake, so do NOT take it too serious!


Louisiana State University Chancellor Mike Martin is tired of attending seminars and conferences and hearing that his University is a bunch of fighting drunks.  Martin says the flagship school for the Pelican State is so much more than that.  “You know we also have a large number of hot sauce snorters, gumbo chefs and pig-wrestlers in our honors program.  Don’t try to pigeon-hole this beautiful school as merely intoxicated pugilists.” 
Martin acknowledges that visiting fans from other schools will always first think of LSU as a place where they will be heckled and have things thrown at them.   “And that’s fine with me.  We don’t want to lose that reputation we’ve earned over the years.  I just want to make sure our other good qualities don’t get lost in the discussion.”  

Specifically, LSU has vastly improved the number of their students who urinate in a Ziploc bag during football games and throw said bag into the visiting sections.  Martin points out that “fighting drunks” doesn’t cover items like that.  “Yes, and we also strongly encourage battery throwing and pouring of liquor onto female fans from other schools and the like.  It’s tough to capture all that we do in Baton Rouge into a 2-word soundbite.”  

Martin says although progress has been made, more work has to be done.  “We’re still not nearly as creative and gross as Georgia, and we don’t do nearly enough strange things with animals like they do in Starkville so there is work to do moving forward.  We’ll get there.”

Monday, May 14, 2012

Growing up a different kind of Gamecock

As a Dad, I enjoy new stuff everyday from my 6-year old son.  Whether it is waiting for the next classic comment to come out of that innocent mouth or watching him play with that imagination you only have at his age, it is an awesome experience.  He is at that crucial juncture where he knows he is leaving “being little” behind and steamrolling into the “young boy” period.  (If you’re a parent you know what I mean.)

As he makes this transition he will also start focusing in on sports and what they mean.  (Yes, yes, Moms before you go nuts reminding me, I get it that sports might not be an interest of his but for this column just go with it.)  I am looking forward to hundreds of trips to games in Columbia with him just like I got when I was little.  

For me my introduction to USC sports involved the Jim Carlen, Frank McGuire and June Raines eras, three of our better coaches by any definition.  I still ended up being a “pessimistic” fan like most Gamecocks were from that time.  I talked in my column last week about how that era of negativity is now gone at Carolina, and my son is part of the generation that will really exhibit this change.  

He was born in March of 2006 at Beaufort Memorial.  Since that time, in just six years, he already has “under his belt” 2 national championships in baseball, the biggest bowl win in school history, an SEC East Football Title and an 11-win season.  Conceding that basketball has been a “skunk in the ice cream,” that’s a pretty good slate, especially if you throw in the fact that we have wins in all three major sports over #1 teams in his lifetime.   

Compare it to mine and his time gets even better.  I was 34 when he was born and at that point I had witnessed a grand total of 9 wins over Clemson in football.  He already has 4.  I had never seen us have a winning streak of 2 or more over the Tigers.  He already has a 3-peat.  I had seen 1 win over Florida (Beth reminds me that she was technically pregnant with him when that one happened in November 2005 but I will claim it).  J  He already has 2 Gator-Slayings including our first win at the Swamp.  I had seen three total bowl wins and he has 2.  Heck he has three wins each over Georgia and Tennessee as well.  I guess in hoops I can be cocky that we both have 1 NIT title each right?  Who am I kidding?  

I could go on but you get the idea.  I have to admit it…I am both jealous and excited for him at the same time.  His first real memories of USC sports will involve Ray Tanner, Steve Spurrier and Frank Martin!!  What a great time to be a Gamecock Daddy! 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Spurrier worried about “The Clemson Effect” on Strength of Schedule

This story is fake, so do NOT take it too serious!


The ACC has had a rough few years on the gridiron, and now the SEC schools that are forced to play them for in-state rival matchups have started to chirp.  A basketball conference at heart, the ACC thought it had boosted its football reputation by landing FSU, Miami and Va. Tech.  Instead, those once proud programs have plummeted to mediocrity. 
The conference could actually lose its “Automatic Qualifier” status in the BCS, and other conferences are now looking to rescue Florida State out of the bear trap.  Some other schools in the ACC are being courted in their minds as well although not in the real world. 
That leaves South Carolina, Georgia and Florida with a schedule problem not lost on the Head Ball Coach.  “Yeah, we have to play those guys and we are their Super Bowl while it’s all risk, no return for us.  Even if we beat them up again this year what will that mean for our strength of schedule?  It’s not a good situation.” 
Spurrier was asked what could be done to counter what he is calling “The Clemson Effect,” and he had a list of ideas.  “Obviously our first choice would be to find a tougher opponent for that slot.  Someone like North Greenville, the S. C. School for the Deaf and Blind or maybe Calhoun Academy in St. Matthews.  Those schools may not give us a boost but they won’t drag us down and that’s what we’re looking for.” 
When he was told that Steve Spurrier had actually said these comments, Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney found himself at a loss for words.  “I am used to misquoting him and making things up.  I ain’t used to him actually saying stuff.  So I will just say, ‘Don’t mess with Texas!’ and move on.”

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Old-School Negative Gamecock Fans are Dinosaurs

I will admit that I used to be as negative of a Gamecock fan that there was.  Ask anyone who knows me well and they will concur.  For example, my roommate and Columbia friends from the Brad Scott era could give you first-hand accounts of some of the finest beverage-induced rants about our football program the world has ever seen.  To this day, I find being content and happy about Carolina athletics still a "novel" concept.  

Having said that, it’s SO much better enjoying USC sports as opposed to enduring them.  And to all who are still immersed in that negative mindset, maybe it’s time to just go do something else for a hobby.  Seriously.  Think about it this way:  If you can’t enjoy the Steve Spurrier and Ray Tanner eras, you aren’t going to enjoy anything at USC…ever.  

And having been where you are, I get it and understand how you got the mindset.  You feel like a dog that has been beaten senseless by a cruel owner.  You're cowering and constantly cringing waiting on that next slap or kick or whipping.  And I can tell you right now:  there is no question that the Gamecocks will at some point have disappointing individual seasons in the future.  All programs have setback years.  But why sit around being miserable and miss all of the good that is going on waiting for something that every program goes through?  

This year’s baseball team is the perfect example of what I mean.  There are some Gamecock fans that are so certain that this young team is not going to win another national title that they have spent the entire season obsessed with every single mistake that the new players have made.  We just spent a month not losing a conference game and the first words out of these jokers’ mouths is talking about how weak those opponents had to be!  You almost could hear them saying, “Yes, yes, the two national titles are nice…” as if to say those are over now, let’s move on.

Not a chance folks.  It’s hard to win ONE national title in a men’s major sport, much less two in a row.  There are schools that have only 1 national title in a men’s major sport ever.  In some cases that single title happened decades ago and they STILL live off of it today.   So can’t we at least enjoy our back-to-back titles at least through this year’s College World Series? 

Who knows what this year’s baseball postseason holds?  Will we win a third title?  Will we "only” get back to Omaha and lose there?  Will we (gasp) just make a Super Regional?  Time will answer those questions, but one thing is certain: today, we are the reigning national champs and this program has earned your support and respect.  And for those who will hear that and go “don’t tell me what kind of fan to be,” you’re exactly who I am talking to.  Yes, the day will come when someone else holds the national baseball championship.  Until then, count me among those who plan to enjoy the ride (and not endure it).  

It’s a new time for Gamecock Athletics, negative nellies.  Time to stop looking for the whipping and start enjoying the winning.  If not, go take your “support” to another school.  I have several I could suggest if you need assistance.  

Friday, May 4, 2012

MOO U News: Swinney angry over player arrest, promises changes to the Clemson Police Department!



After a Clemson University star football player was arrested this week for illegal narcotics and possession, Dabo Swinney promised his fan base that he would not tolerate anymore actions of this type in the future from the local Clemson Police Department.  “Those folks better watch themselves in the future,” said Swinney.  “Who pays their salaries?  Our football team.  I mean is it really a crime to have unprescribed controlled substances as a teenager and be smoking marijuana?  I mean COME ON!” 

Swinney says that the player in question was on his way to the local orphanage to pass out toys before going to church when he ran into a friend doing those awful things. Apparently, he was only trying to help his buddy stay out of trouble.  “Frankly, I was moved to tears by the selfless generosity this fine young man showed.  He was willing to pretend it was him breaking the law to help a friend.  Unbelievable in this day and age and our police should know better.” 
Swinney says that in the future, steps will be taken to make sure all issues of this type are kept “within the family” so that nobody will get the wrong idea of how he runs his program.  “I am sure this was a new young policeman who hadn’t had the ‘rules’ explained to him.  We’ll take care of it.  We all make mistakes.” 
Unfortunately, due to the public spectacle that has arisen as a result of the arrest, Swinney will be forced to offer some type of punishment as a smoke-screen.  “Yeah, I hate it but this bad publicity is serious and I have to cover our rear ends.  He may have to miss the 1st quarter of the Ball State game but what can I do?” 
Clemson Athletic Director Terry Don Knick Knack Paddy Whack Givadogga Bone Phillips echoed Swinney’s outrage over the arrest, channeling Taggert from Blazing Saddles.  “We’ll make that Police Department feel like a chicken that’s been caught in a Tractor’s…well you know.” 

MOO U News: Jack Leggett turns to “Dabo” to help distract his fans

This is not a true story...Please do not take it too serious!



Currently sitting with a mediocre record of 26-19 and 14-10 in the unusually weak ACC, Clemson’s Jack Leggett knew he needed to do something and quick.  After all, his program is at best in a rut, the Gamecocks whipped his team yet again this year and sit in the Top 5, and Clemson is likely on the road for the regionals this summer.  

What do you do if you’re a Tiger coach in that situation?  Leggett decided to reach out to the resident expert on such distractions in Pickens County, A. Little Dab-o-Swinney.  “I told Jack he needed to make up a strange quote and just pretend that Ray Tanner said it.  Then come up with a simple-to-grasp two or three word catch phrase that the fans can cling to.  It won’t mean anything but they’ll forget about the results on the field.”  

Leggett has moved forward on the plan, this week saying he was offended that Ray Tanner had referred to him as both a loser and a “danish-eating communist who smells like a motherless wart hog.”  

When reached in Columbia and asked if he had any comment, Tanner denied saying anything about Leggett’s political views or his aroma.  “I’m not sure where Jack got that.  If you had to pin me down about his scent I actually would have said he was an Aqua Velva man but I really don’t know.”  Leggett says Tanner’s denial and refusal to disassociate himself from the comment proves he said it.  

Leggett went on to say that the Gamecocks can bring it on because he and his program are “Shovel Ready!”  When asked exactly what the new catch phrase was supposed to mean, Leggett shook his head and said that the Clemson fans are good with it.  “Ask anyone in orange, son.  Shovel Ready--2012 baby!!”

THE CRANKSHAFT GAZETTE: Eric Hyman says his success is only matched by his humility

This story is fake, so do NOT take it too serious!

You would think having the Gamecock Athletic Department in the best shape it has ever been and defeating the NCAA would make Eric Hyman cocky.  “Not so,” said the USC Athletic Director, who recently held a series of press conferences to let everyone know he doesn’t want credit for the good things happening in Columbia.

Firing off random clich├ęs and sporting a new “Pimp” look, Hyman tried not to sound too cocky.  “Yeah, Old Eric understands that this ain’t about Eric.  Aut viam inveniam aut faciam, which for my Clemson friends means Either I will find a way or I will make one.”

Holding a dog leash connected to a collared Ron Morris, Hyman said he didn’t want to spend much time talking about himself so questions would be limited to 4 hours.  Then while the first question was being asked, he interrupted and started quoting everyone from Nietzsche to Gandhi to modern urban culture.  

“I am not perfect folks.  Eric Hyman has made mistakes, including doubting Eric Hyman at times.  If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes into you.  You don't understand. You don't understand because you don't understand liberty. You don't understand freedom.  Do not fault the successful participant in a flawed system; try instead to discern and rebuke that aspect of its organization which allows or encourages the behavior that has provoked your displeasure.”

When confused reporters asked for clarification about the last quote, Hyman laughed loudly and said, “Don’t hate the Playa, hate the game!”  After strutting through a powerpoint slideshow about his life, Hyman closed out the press conference with a brief statement.  “Yes, I exude excellence and we all know this.  But this Luke Skywalker has had his Obi-Wans too, and humility is what must always be at my center.  Peace out from the E-H.”

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

THE CRANKSHAFT GAZETT: Arkansas Razorbacks suing Piggly-Wiggly over “Weak Pig” image

This story is fake, so do NOT take it too serious!


To prevent possible litigation, the University of Arkansas Athletic Department
is requesting that Piggly Wiggly consider the above logo proposals.
UA wants Piggly Wiggly to put "the fight" back into their pig!!!  ALL PIGS UNITE!

When Clarence Saunders founded the first Piggly-Wiggly in Memphis in 1919, he thought he was doing a good thing.  The Athletic Department at the University of Arkansas begs to differ.  They are tired of what they call the "neutering" of their mascot’s image.  

Arkansas A. D. Jeff Long explained this week that the school has spent millions promoting a fierce and brutal porcine animal as the heart and spirit of athletics in Fayetteville and Little Rock.  According to Long, the happy and smiling face at the stores hurts those efforts and they are asking the courts to intervene immediately. 

“College Athletics is a big business and with all due respect to Piggly-Wiggly, they have to stop this.  There is nothing happy or friendly about an Arkansas Razorback,” said Long when addressing the lawsuit details.  “We are asking the store to go with a more menacing look in the future.”

Long did indicate that if the chain will not go with a completely dark and mean symbol, perhaps there was room for compromise.  “I mean we could go with Pumbaa from The Lion King or that Pink Pig from the Angry Birds game.  Even Miss Piggy would be better.”

Piggly-Wiggly had no comment on the lawsuit, but off the record the store says it might try to work something out.  “We understand that our mascot is about as intimidating as Porky Pig or Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web, but our target back then was the female and family shopper demographic.  Not sports fans.  Now we are pushing tailgate trays and paper plates and stuff so an upgrade may be in order.”  

The two sides plan to have private negotiations to find a settlement.  There is no truth to the rumor that delicious Piggly-Wiggly pork ribs will be served.