Friday, August 31, 2012

BONUS COLUMN: Enjoying the wins, not enduring them

Okay, so it wasn’t pretty.  If you polled America today, I doubt most folks would say “WOW!  That was a top 10 performance from South Carolina.”  Well, sorry to be infantile about this but DUH!!  What did you honestly expect from that setting?

We are on the road, in the rain, at night against a team whose Coach had declared the game his team’s Super Bowl and one of the most important games in their history.    Throw in a couple of early turnovers and sure we ended up in a dogfight.  To me this was pretty easy to see coming and I am glad we gutted out a win and came home 1-0. 

I have already seen on the message boards fans from Carolina and Clemson trying to tear down this team as a result of last night.  First for the Clemson fans who still are with Uncle Rico back in 1983 and just cannot handle that things have changed (for my Clemson friends who have been really cool and said nice things about Shaw please just ignore this next sentence), the main thing I have seen is that we only won the game because of a no-call on the pass interference at the end of the game.  All I can say is that if anyone would know about winning a game that way it would be Clemson. (cough-Gardner-cough)

And to the Gamecock fans who continue to sport the tin hats dissecting every potential flaw and guaranteeing doom and gloom, please go soak your heads.  Honestly.  We get how smart you are, how much better of a fan you are and how much more you are demanding from this program.  Here’s your gold star and a ribbon, now please go see a man about a dog.  To throw you one bone on this topic, I will say that yes this is the WORST 12-2 stretch I have ever lived through as a Gamecock fan.  Compared to the other 12-2 runs (I think there maybe was one other at most), this one is awful.  

Now to the rational fans who really are enjoying this program for what it is:  a very solid football team with a nasty, salty defense and some potential talent on offense.  Are we the #9 team in the nation?  Who knows yet and who cares?  We have two weeks at home now to work out some pings and knocks and then we welcome in Missouri to Columbia to find out.  

In the meantime, today is a time to lift a toast to Connor Shaw for some serious grit and determination.  That boy was clearly in pain and got it done.  Hopefully he is okay moving forward.  #14 is 9-1 as a starter now and very likely will be 11-1 when we face our first set of Tigers. 

Keep it up Coach Spurrier.  The naysayers can have their details and flaws and technical points.  I will just keep enjoying the wins instead of enduring them. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Cock-A-Booster Crystal Ball is dusted off and ready to roll!

Tennessee at N. C. State
The drunk dogs from the Research Triangle leave the Raleigh kennels this weekend, and prowl into Atlanta to hunt some pigskin peaches.  They will run into some hillbilly minutemen from Knoxville at the Georgia Dome with their muskets against the wall.  The Red and Black Howlers have a little stronger bite this fall and should return home with coonskin caps. The Cock-A-Booster's Crystal Ball says... N. C. State by 5

Buffalo at Georgia
The Red Clay Hounds open up the Athens Alpo Hut this weekend, ready to welcome in some Blue Oxen from Upstate New York.  Jeff Quinn wasn’t able to get the Peach Pups to UB Stadium to play, so he’ll have to let his Moo-Moos graze on some hedges instead.  This may be the toughest game on Jawja’s schedule until they come to Columbia. The Cock-A-Booster's Crystal Ball says...  Georgia by 17

Bowling Green at Florida
The Falcons from Doyt-Perry Stadium leave the home nest on Saturday, ready to jam their talons into the Gainesville Lizards.  But don’t be surprised when the Citrus Crocs are ready for the feathered flock and they end up roasted rotisserie style.  The Cock-A-Booster's Crystal Ball says... Florida by 22

Michigan at Alabama
Brady Hoke and his Big House Rodents paw into Big D on Saturday, hoping to do a little ivory hunting at the Jerry Jones Pigskin Resort.  If Saint Nick and the Tuscaloosa Trumpeters have anything to say on the subject, no pachyderms will end up on the Ann Arbor walls.  The Elegant Elephants have a very thick hide this fall, and they should get out of Cattle Country with their trunks in tact.  The Cock-A-Booster's Crystal Ball says... Alabama by 3

Kentucky at Lousiville
The cousin-mating cats from Lexington head into horse-land this weekend, hoping to pluck the pigskin feathers off of the hometown redbirds.  The land of Denny Crum should take advantage of the chance to beat their neighbors, as they certainly can’t seem to do it in a certain other sport.  Charlie Strong has his flock ready to defend the home perch and they should end up with some kitten in their beaks.  The Cock-A-Booster's Crystal Ball says... Louisville by 7
Clemson vs. Auburn
The Loud-Meowing Kittens from Pickens County scamper out of the Upstate scratching post for Atlanta this weekend, and they intend to scratch up some fellow felines from The Plains.  The Toomer’s Corner Cats have largely been ignored this summer, and that may help them spring an upset.  We’ve seen what happens to the Palmetto Moo-Moos when they head to Atlanta flying high and bragging before.  The Cock-A-Booster's Crystal Ball says... Auburn by 4

South Carolina at Vanderbilt
James Franklin and his Music City Boat Captains are in the home harbor on Thursday, ready to welcome on board the loud-chirping Steve Spurrier and his Richland County Roosters.  The last time the high-flying Poultries swooped into the Grand Ole Opry riding pre-season hype, their wings were clipped.  The Head Ball Coach has been reminding the Columbia Cluckers about that disaster, and they should get out of Nashville without being deep-fried.  
The Cock-A-Booster's Crystal Ball says... South Carolina by  6

  Other winners this weekend:

Ole Miss

Monday, August 27, 2012

Coming this week and every week - CLAWS vs. PAWS...

The Cock-A-Booster and The Tiger Swag are joining forces this season for a fun new feature called CLAWS vs. PAWS.  We will garner their prediction powers and expert game analysis and post their weekly game choices for the USC and CLEMSON games on both blogs.  As the season progresses we will keep a prediction scoreboard and see who comes out on top after the bowl games are complete.

Here is how the scoring will work...

The Cock-A-Booster and The Tiger Swag will each predict both the USC and the Clemson games for the upcoming weekend.  They will pick an outright winner of the games and then pick against the spread.

Each time they pick a winner vs. the spread they get a TOUCHDOWN (7 pts).  If they just pick the winner but miss the spread they only get a FIELD GOAL (3 pts.).  If they miss the pick alltogether the other team gets a SAFETY (2 points).

So, stay tuned for the first week of CLAWS vs. PAWS...

Coming up later this week... CLAWS vs. PAWS - Week 1!
(we will use Monday's USA TODAY Sheridan Lines -

USC vs. Vanderbilt (USC favored by 7)
Clemson vs. Auburn  (CLEMSON favored by 3.5)

Our annual trap game to open the season!

Before I set out my reasoning for why I am not a fan of the setting of this first game, let me be crystal clear on one point:  I predict and believe we will not get upset on Thursday at Vandy.  Spurrier has likely done a yeoman’s job playing the film of the last time we opened the season in Nashville as a favorite.  For that matter, he could have popped in the Kentucky game from two years ago where they upset us and made fools of themselves celebrating.  Or you could watch last year’s Auburn game as another example of how we always seem to cough up a stinker each season.  

Thursday night won’t be that game for 2012.  I see Vandy more in the role that we were before “The Blackout Game” against the Head Ball Coach and his Gators in 2001.  Winning SEC teams get used to being a program that everyone else goes Cuckoo to beat.  Heck, Clemson is in a state of near-drooling obsession with beating the Gamecocks which shows you how things have changed.  

So will we run into a toe-stub at some point?  I hope not but probably.  Maybe Mizzou at home for example or Florida in the Swamp.   The bad bonus thing is that in a year where Georgia has essentially been given a freebie schedule and allowed to move games around to make them comfortable, we don’t have the luxury of making an error.   But outside of the whining puppies in Athens, every SEC team has to deal with this when they have a team that is capable of winning a championship.  LSU, Alabama, Arkansas all must run a murderer’s row of games to win a title.  Carolina and Florida do as well.  

And IF we’re as good as I think we are, and knowing we have to go to LSU while Georgia is doing their nails, we must not lose against the Commodores!  For the three Vandy fans reading this, do NOT take this as a shot at your team.  I love James Franklin and what he is doing.  Finally Vandy has the right coach that fits in my humble opinion.  But if we’re being honest, we are the more talented team with more on the line and we should win this ball game.  

For an old-school negative Gamecock fan like me, every time we win one of these “dangerous” games, we fade a little bit farther into the background.   And we couldn’t be happier to keep on fading out into irrelevance too.  So let me finish with a positive thought headed into 2012: What a great time to be a Gamecock fan!  I remember 1998 and 1999 very well and am so thankful that we are now a team that is “worried” about only winning 8 or 9 games.  The goal of being “bowl eligible” is now a distant memory and the goal “winning the Southeastern Conference Championship” is where we want to be. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

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MOO U News: A tribute to Terry Don “Dinga Donga Doonga Linga Joe Ray Bob” Phillips!

This is a FAKE story.  Please do not take it too seriously.

The Cockabooster lost a true source of golden material recently when Clemson AD and World Tobacco Spitting Champion Terry Don Phillips left his post.  We were sad as you would expect, but here are ten songs our Tiger friends can sing to honor the legacy of this great roadkill eating machine:
  •          “You polished my Mudflaps, and the strings to my heart”
  •          “The Ballad of Terry Don” (aka Dueling Banjos)
  •          “A little dust on the bottle” (but don’t let it fool you about what will happen inside the stadium)
  •          “If you wanna play in Clemson, Terry Don needs to fiddle in the band”
  •           “Orange, Orange W(h)ine”  (Goes to my head, makes me forget that I have an overrated football team)
  •          “Terry never was the Cadillac Kind” (or the indoor plumbing kind)
  •          “Every once in a while”  (A tribute to how often Clemson beats Carolina in anything)
  •          “On the Tiger Rag”  (okay, this one is really about Jack Leggett)
  •          “A Country Boy can Survive” (having to live in Clemson)
  •          “The whiskey ain’t workin anymore” (and neither are Dabo’s excuses)

MOO U News: Chad Morris ready to expand his offense to 72.4%

This is a FAKE story.  Please do not take it too seriously.

Clemson’s Offensive Coordinator, the latest flavor of the month up in Tigger Town chosen to play the role of savior of the Orange Kittens football team, is finally ready to open up more of his genius to the civilized world. Last year, Morris made it clear that only 70% of his playbook was used at Death Valley. That could explain why the Klimpletons were only able to amass 13 points in Columbia.

Clemson Offensive Guru - Chad Morris
To rectify that ugly portion of a horrible season closing, Morris is opening up 2.4% more of his playbook. “Yes, we have a situation where these kids can handle a little more of my brainpower so I am happy to do this. Maybe by the end of the year I can move it up to 76%. We’ll see.” Morris went on to point out that Sammy Watkins, one of 5 preseason Heisman winners in Pickens County this fall, isn’t the best receiver for the Tigers in 2012. That is probably true, as all of the other receivers will not be stoned when they take the field.

Apparently, there is also no truth to the rumor that Dabo Swinney is starting to get jealous of the unearned accolades that Morris is receiving, although Swinney when asked did remind everyone that Clemson beat Virginia Tech last year and that he used to sleep with his Mother.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Are you ready for some football? -

Awesome video by JUSTIN KING!

Cockabooster returns with 2012 Predictions!

Yes, yes, the Cockabooster has largely taken the Dog Days off this year due to a family relocation and job change in my “real world” life.  I have missed some golden material from Dabo and crew in the upstate barns but I will be remedying that shortly.  So we are back and ready to go with football approaching and what better way to return than with my predictions for the Gamecocks this fall?  

(Before I do that, let me say that I hope all fans, Clemson and Carolina alike, have been enjoying my friend Willy Powell’s blog,  He has done a great job and we will start doing some joint articles in the future.)  

So onto my picks we go.  The featherheads in the Garnet and Black are expecting a big year, and why wouldn’t they?  Connor Shaw proved he can handle the reins as an SEC quarterback, Clowney and Taylor bookend a ferocious looking defense, and Lattimore is hopefully ready for an entire season of national headlines and publicity as (arguably) the nation’s top running back.  The offensive line is MUCH better than last year’s group and the talent at wide receiver is tremendous.   Frankly, the only two “question marks” for me are some slight concern about the secondary and having to replace the playmaking ability of Ingram, Gilmore, Allen and Alshon.  

Since I believe every word I just typed is accurate, why am I not predicting a parade and championships?  Well, to be honest there is that old bugaboo that comes with the Southeastern Conference:  the schedule.  Now I know everyone outside of Athens has to play a tough conference schedule every year, but just because you have to accept playing it every year, it is still a factor when projecting wins and losses. 
I think this Carolina squad is overall better than last year’s.  Just my opinion, humble as always.  Having said that, I have us at 9-3 when it is all said and done.  Here is my breakdown: 

Sure wins:                      ECU, UAB, Wofford, @Kentucky
Probably should lose:     @LSU
Probably should win:      @Vandy, Tennessee, Georgia
Swing games:                  Mizzou, Arkansas, @Florida, @Klimpsun

Most folks may switch a game or two around into other categories, but that’s about where the Gamecocks are in most people’s minds.  I see us losing to LSU and losing one each of these sets of three:   
1.  Florida, Vandy and Clemson
2.  Mizzou, Georgia and Arkansas

Is 9-3 negative?  I guess so, but honestly I think we’re still a better team than last year.  We won all of our close games in 2011 and that was great.  But that wheel can turn the other way and it might this year.  I am just glad I lived to see a day when I am predicting us to win 9 games and it is viewed as a bad thing.  Steve Spurrier has definitely changed the mindset of this University and that is awesome.