Monday, November 26, 2012

The Cockabooster missed it badly!

As the final seconds were ticking off the clock at Memorial Stadium on Saturday night, you got the feeling that more than just a football game was over.  In addition to winning their fourth straight game over Clemson, Carolina’s Gamecocks shattered several myths and made sure an immature coach’s staged ugly rant the year before had been answered with vigor.  

If you read this blog, you know that I myself had fully bought into a few of those myths, so I am NOT trying to throw stones at anyone.  I picked Clemson to win on Saturday by 17 points, and I did so because I thought intangibles would give one team a decided edge over the other.  I was right about that, but I missed by a mile as to which particular intangibles would be the key.  

I thought Connor Shaw being hurt would give Clemson a HUGE edge under center.  I only doubled down on that feeling a few hours before kickoff when I heard Dylan Thompson would be the starter.  After all, who would ever expect a quarterback making their first start in a hostile road environment to thrive?  I mean, he would NEVER do something like throw for three touchdowns and over 300 yards would he?  Especially one that loves his relationship with the Lord and chooses to tweet scripture instead of trash talk!  (Don’t believe me then follow him on Twitter and see for yourself)  Congratulations to Dylan for becoming an overnight permanent chapter in the rivalry’s storied history!  QB controversy in Columbia?  Only time will tell.  

The other intangible I said would favor Clemson was the “want to” or “passion” level in both teams.  Going into Saturday, it had been a long time since I really saw a “fire in the belly” burning in the Gamecocks.  Meanwhile, Clemson’s entire psyche and existence was dependent on them beating us.  Everything for them assumed a victory over USC:  The justification of their schedule, propping up the ACC, pretending Tajh was a real candidate for the Heisman, stealing a BCS bid, etc, etc.  ALL OF IT was standing on a foundation that Clemson WOULD beat South Carolina.  So you can see why I gave them the edge here.  And I was dead wrong.  

It turns out that Carolina had buckets of passionate “want to” driving them also, and it was largely based on two things:  Dabo’s staged rant and Dalton Freeman’s trash talking to Jadeveon Clowney.  First let’s review the basics about Dabo’s rant:  1. Spurrier never said the quote that was cited; 2. According to upstate newspapers and several other Tiger sources, Dabo knew for days ahead of the rant that Spurrier had not said it (but he did the rant anyway); 3. Dabo went after the entire University, not just the football program, including the entire alumni base and the existence of the school itself; 4. Dabo never publicly admitted that the event was staged even after everyone confirmed it was.  Now I have known all of this for a while.  Frankly, most folks knew it right after it happened.  But I underestimated just how much that rant would still be fueling Carolina headed into Saturday.  Now Spurrier went on to take a couple of VERY minor jabs at Dabo after that, which led to some faux outrage in Orange-land.  But the two are not comparable.  Bananas and Tomatoes are both fruits but they are hardly the same.  

And as to Dalton Freeman, I want to personally thank him for firing up Mr. Clowney.  I hope Clemson next year chooses a similar tact with #7.  The next Tiger blocking Clowney should call him “just another good player” again and harp on how they play against players as good as him every day in the ACC.  The results speak for themselves.  

So a memorable if not notorious year has ended for both programs.  The door closes on all that silliness and we move on to the bowls and then 2013.  After all, both teams are 10-2 and highly ranked.  Clemson has a very good group returning next year, as does South Carolina.  We have two great programs in the Palmetto State and a nationally relevant rivalry.  Finally, I don’t see the new calmer and maturing Dabo pulling a stupid stunt again as a fan distraction, and I bet trash talk from players on both sides will be minimized if not eliminated completely.  

As a blog that wants fans with both spurs and stripes to enjoy the reading, I know another great season for both schools would be just what the doctor ordered.  It’s a great time to be a Gamecock! 

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