Monday, June 4, 2012

There aren’t many demons left for Tanner to slay!

I am sure no one currently involved with Gamecock baseball spent time worrying about past regional performances against Clemson headed into this weekend.  At least I hope not.  That type of hand-wringing and nervous negativity should be in the fans’ minds alone.  Having said that, thinking about it or not, one of the few remaining “never dones” for Ray Tanner and crew has been eliminated. 

Until Saturday, USC had never won a regional game against Clemson.  Significant?  Not really, but some Clemson fans I talked to last week were genuinely excited headed into the weekend due to this statistic.  I won’t embarrass him, but one in particular in the State House Lobby told me, “Ted you got our number in Omaha but this is where we get in your heads.”  I would describe his mood and most of my other Tiger friends’ moods as “giddy” with anticipation that finally they had the forum they needed to stop the recent Carolina run.  (Granted, there were some notable exceptions to that such as my friends over at  Willie and crew predicted the outcome of the regional and frankly “underrated” Clemson a bit if anything but I digress…)
So USC still was being portrayed as the team with everything to prove and battling history.  If you listened to ESPN, you honestly would believe that Clemson was the team with the 2 national titles going into the weekend.  Even after Carolina won the winners bracket game on Saturday, they were saying that Clemson “was in great shape” going into Sunday’s rematch.  You had to chuckle but it was what it was. 
Predictably, the Gamecocks jumped on Clemson early and beat their upstate rivals once again to capture the regional.  Clemson played a great game as they almost always do against us and it was not easy.  But the better team won and is advancing, much to ESPN’s chagrin. 
Will we win a third national title?  I hope so of course but before the year started I knew that as young as we are that would be tough.  Frankly, if we make it back to Omaha and get a shot to defend our title that’s remarkable for this year’s team.  Having said that, I wouldn’t bet any money against the Gamecocks either.  We may be so loose at that point we catch fire and get on a roll. 
None of that has a chance to happen if we don’t win the Super Regionals in Columbia next week.  The Ray needs to be loud and rocking all weekend.  Just get to Omaha baby!  Anything can happen then. 

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