Saturday, December 29, 2012

Michigan reporters should really get over themselves

I have lots of friends who pull for “Big Blue.”  I know a lot of really cool people from Michigan so my column today has nothing to do with them.  But after a Michigan beat reporter asked Steve Spurrier in the Outback Bowl Press Conference, “Would a win over Michigan raise your program to another level,” I had to laugh out loud. 
Michigan may upset Carolina on Monday.  So to the moron who asked that question…USC is considered the better team.  The program that could raise itself with a win is the Wolverines, not the Gamecocks. 
This is not your Father’s Michigan or South Carolina.  So with all due respect to any Big 10 idiot who is still stuck in the past about them I hope you realize you are sounding like a certain upstate school in the Palmetto State.  Nobody cares what happened in college football during the 80s anymore.  Seniors who graduate from either school in May will have been born in 1992.  Yep, we now have folks graduating from college who were not born until the Gamecocks were in the SEC. 
I am an old fogey so I have the luxury of being ancient enough at 41 to remember the two times Carolina and Michigan met in the 80s.  I watched the game at the Big House at Carolina Coliseum and I saw Michigan beat us in Columbia in 1985.  The only mental picture I even have of that second game is their 6’ 10” Tight End named Paul Jokish or something like that.  Monster of a guy! 
No, if Carolina wins on Tuesday it won’t mean anything more to our program than beating Nebraska in the Citrus Bowl last year did.  We gained nothing in terms of the stature of our program but we landed our 11th win of the season which was nice.  Same thing this year.  If we win, we get 11 wins this year and a win over a team that was good when Reagan was President.  Nice. 
But if Michigan wins, you will hear about it from sea to shining sea that a Big 10 team knocked off an SEC power.  The print media industry in the Midwest may have a temporary rebound from the insane euphoria you will see if that happens.  In other words, it will be Michigan that gets a program boost from a win, not South Carolina. 
Again, this is not intended to insult or demean anything Michigan accomplished in those earlier eras in College Football.  Bo’s teams were fun to watch and Hoke may return them to that former glory.  We shall see.  But in the meantime, here’s hoping Tuesday’s game is fun, well-played by both teams and showcases two great conferences in a positive light.
And to that one reporter…go soak your head.  It’s a great time to be a Gamecock!  Happy New Year!

MORE MOO U NEWS...Some random thoughts on happenings in Clemson...


Clemson says low ticket sales due to Wale Concert

December 27, 2012

Tiger fans have not been scooping up Peach Bowl tickets with as much zest this year, and some were speculating that it was due to the way the regular season ended.  “Not so!” says Clemson Athletics Director Dan Rattlecolddish, who says a bit of bad luck is actually driving the low numbers.  

It turns out that Ralph Victor Folarin, aka “Wale,” will be in concert on New Year’s Day in Silver Springs, Maryland.  “Yes, Wale’s go-go percussion style off-shoot of disco is a raw brand of hip-hop that appeals to most of the residents in Belton, Iva, and Walhalla,” noted Rattlecolddish who says the choice just puts families with limited recreational dollars in a tough spot.  “So some folks might feel that losing to the Gamecocks is affecting things but when you understand it in context, this is the real reason.”  

Rattlecolddish went on to say he is not surprised that Carolina’s ticket sales have not been hurt by Wale’s concert.  “What do you expect?  Their fans just don’t relate to gifted hip-hop artists like folks in Pendleton or Six Mile.”  The Tiger AD also pointed out that even if Wale weren’t playing that night in Maryland, the Ernie Krivda Jazz Workshop in Cleveland was scheduled as well.  

Clerk at Easley “Lil Cricket” store thinks the SEC really wants Clemson

December 27, 2012

Late-shift clerk Cletus J. Waylon, Clemson Historian and long-time worker at the Li’l Cricket #337 in Easley, says based on his research, the SEC is desperate to bring Clemson in as its 15th member.  

While he was rearranging the beef jerky display, Waylon took a few minutes to break down his ideas as to why the nation’s strongest football conference is hungry to land the Tigers.  

“First off, just look at media markets.  The SEC has very little coverage of the northwest corner of South Carolina.  Granted, we’re pretty close to Athens, Knoxville and Columbia.  But you’re missing tens of twenties of potential fans as we speak.  Second, the SEC has done okay in football of late, but Clemson has a national championship on its resume.  Hello?  National Champs baby.  Can you say ‘hardware and high profile?’  I think so.  And finally, you know how much the SEC puts into basketball every year and here we are in the ACC?  I think you can do that math.”  

Waylon stopped putting out potato chips just long enough to also say that Dabo Swinney had played ball at Alabama.  “Not a lot of folks can say that.” 

Garcia and Shaw debate still has legs

Stephen Garcia.  For some Gamecock fans, he will always be the Warrior who was targeted by a hypocritical AD and his wife who were determined to get him out of town.  To others, he was an underachieving narcissist who had to get kicked out of the program to grow up.  Garcia’s strengths and weaknesses were crystal-clear.  There is no question he had guts and gravitas.  He showed up for the biggest games, including a mauling of Clemson at Death Valley, saving the team against East Carolina after we were down 17-0 and winning at the swamp against Florida when the Gamecocks landed an SEC East Championship.  His signature performance was the home win over #1 Alabama with Gameday on the scene.  Then his Grandfather passed, we lost to a sinking Auburn team and Garcia was suddenly gone. 
Enter the Connor Shaw era in Columbia.  Shaw immediately became the Choir-Boy “manna from heaven” for some Gamecock fans and Steve Spurrier.  Shaw was asked to salvage the end of last season and he largely did that.  He threw a jump ball pass that Alshon somehow snagged to save us at Miss. State.  We beat Tennessee that year 14-3 in a game that the Vols basically didn’t participate in.  But Shaw looked like a deer in headlights getting thrashed at Arkansas.  A home win over Florida and a home romp of Clemson made everyone feel better about Shaw, and then the Citrus Bowl seemed to cement that #14 had become the man.  

This year’s complete rout of #5 Georgia in Columbia had Shaw at the pinnacle of popularity and we were confident #14 was going to triumphantly lead us into Baton Rouge and Gainesville.  Garcia was an ancient memory at that point and had been long forgotten.  Then came Shaw’s devastating interception at LSU.  This was followed up by his almost frail, turnover laden showing at the Swamp.
Like a woman longing for another fling with the “bad boy” she had finally dumped, Gamecock fans were starting to wish they could have one more fling with Garcia.  Stephen may not have been a role model, and he may have been hungover with three women on his arms, but he could have handled Tiger Stadium and the Swamp.  Shaw’s three chances in a hostile road setting had been failures.  All of a sudden, “thank goodness Garcia is gone” became “if we had only had Garcia there….”   

Mercifully for all of us including Shaw, Dylan Thompson came in and saved the day at Clemson.  I honestly wonder what would have happened to the mindset of Carolina fans if #14 had lost at Death Valley.  Besides making Thompson an instant cult hero in the Gamecock annals, that win also allowed a HUGE exhale for us as a fan base. 

So perhaps it was fitting as we head to Tampa and the Outback Bowl, that the Gamecocks will be practicing at Garcia’s high school.  Pretend all you want that there is no Garcia elephant in the corner.  Spurrier being asked about it at a recent press conference, and the Head Ball Coach’s angry reaction say it all.  He knows there are people whispering it about what was lost at LSU and Florida, and what could have been lost at Clemson were it not for Dylan.  

The good news for Shaw is that 2013 offers him numerous chances to conquer his “El Guapo” if you will excuse the reference to “The Three Amigos.”  For example, we play at Georgia right off the bat in Athens and we’ll be counting on “the little bald QB that could” to land his first signature road win then.   In the meantime, let’s get a big win over Michigan and finish 11-2.
It’s a great time to be a Gamecock!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

THE CRANKSHAFT GAZETTE: Some random thoughts...


Steve Spurrier angry at Target for lack of coupons after Christmas
December 24, 2012
Steve Spurrier is known for his strict attention to detail when it comes to clipping coupons.  Friends and family talk about how he is always the first to arrive at the Harbison Boulevard Target the day after Christmas to “get ahead” for next year.  But the Head Ball Coach is protesting this week after Target failed to offer any store coupons that he could “stack” with manufacturer’s coupons.

“Yeah, I normally can save a good amount of money by playing Target off against Wal-Mart.  But those guys appear to be cheating now and I’m not putting up with that.

Spurrier had planned to buy a new set of oven mits and the new Nicky Minaj album but he now says no way.  “I think instead I will head over to Wal-Mart and pick up some scented candles.”

Garcia invites Connor Shaw to hang out at Busch Gardens

Stephen Garcia was excited to hear that Carolina was coming to Tampa for the Outback Bowl.  He immediately asked his Mom if he could invite his old buddy Connor to go to Busch Gardens together while USC was in town. Debbie Garcia thought it was a great idea.  “We plan to pick up Connor one day and I will drop the boys off by Cookie Monster’s Trading Post.  I hope they don’t go on Air Grover though.  They are big boys but I don’t want anyone getting hurt.” 
Shaw was so excited to get the call and he hasn’t been able to sleep since.  “I was hoping Stevie would call since we were going to be down there.  The Wild Surge is no fun unless he goes on it with me.” Shaw says he hopes the day ends with a sleepover at the Garcia’s house.  “Ms. Debbie makes the best pancakes and I have a new Iron Man sleeping bag.”  

10 things Steve Spurrier wanted for Christmas

10.          A new “Thirty-One” purse
9.            One of those guitars that is kind of like two guitars
8.            The latest Sarah Dessen book in paperback
7.            A Tapas Dinner with Barbara Walters
6.            Roller Blades
5.            Lee Majors’ jumpsuit from “Six Million Dollar Man”
4.            To teach a course at Midlands Tech on the history of Trinidad and Tobago
3.            A corn-cob pipe
2.            An internship as a Radio City Hall Rockette
1.            To get Lou Holtz and Mark May in the Octagon for some Ultimate Fighting Football Selections

MOO U NEWS: Top 10 Karaoke Songs being sung by Clemson folks at the Peach Bowl


10.        “Don’t fear the Rooster” (Alice in Chains)-  Dabo Swinney
9.            “You’re so vain” (Carly Simon)-  Chad Morris
8.            “High Enough” (Damn Yankees)-  Sammy Watkins
7.            “Wish I could Hide Away” (CCR)-  Chad Venables
6.            “Overrated” (Three Days Grace)-  Tajh Boyd
5.            “(I made a) Big Mistake” (Electric Eel Shock)  -  Dan Radakovich
4.            “Outta Here” (Esmee Denters)-  DeAndre Hopkins
3.            “No one knows who I am” (Linda Eder)-  Pete Yannity
2.            “You can call me Ray” (Ray J. Johnson)-  Jack Leggett
1.            “Mouth write a check” (Project Pat)- Dalton Freeman

Monday, December 10, 2012

I don’t envy Frank Martin…but I do support him!

As far as the fans are concerned in the SEC, football and baseball are the King and Prince in the Royal Court.  Outside of Kentucky, and sometimes Florida, basketball is largely ignored or at best is a distant third in the pecking order.    Now this opinion has nothing to do with TV contract revenue or which sport generates more funding for the schools or any of that blah-blah-blah.  I am talking purely about what the fans actually put enthusiasm and focus.  

That’s what makes Frank Martin’s job so difficult, and it’s why Gamecock fans need to get behind him and keep him enthused as he goes through his lumps these next few years.  Just like Spurrier and Tanner were allowed to do, if Martin can somehow survive through that VERY difficult first 4 or 5 seasons, the entire culture around basketball in Columbia might start to change.  

Folks may look back on the Tanner and Spurrier eras at this point and think they were all just instantaneous success stories but that is far from the truth.  After Spurrier’s fourth season, USC had been pistol-whipped by Florida, Clemson and Iowa and the coach was seriously thinking about leaving.  He instead plowed through it and our entire mindset about the gridiron has been altered.  

Now I will grant you that Coach Tanner’s road was a little easier, but he had more history and tradition on his side coming in.  Still, after losing to U-La-La in the 2000 Super Regionals, the nation’s best team on the diamond didn’t even get to Omaha.  It wasn’t until we had the miracle against Miami and knocked Clemson out of Omaha in 2002 that Tanner was completely secure.  

And if you think those two situations were tough, now think about what Coach Martin has in front of him.  Like Coach Tanner, he inherited a program that has tasted previous historical success.  The Frank McGuire era will always be viewed as the one time hoops ruled in South Carolina.  But the baseball program at least was still mediocre and had a pulse when Tanner took the reigns.  Bad, but not dead.  USC basketball was a corpse when Martin arrived.  And at least football had the SEC going for it which gave Spurrier the assists he needed with revenue, visibility and facilities.  Who gives a rat’s rear end about basketball outside of Rupp Arena in the SEC?  

I took my son to see the Carolina-Clemson hoops game last week.  What I saw was an ACC basketball team that was bigger, stronger and faster impose its will on us and beat us up.  It was really what we looked like in football imposing our will on Clemson at Death Valley this year.  A bigger, stronger and faster SEC football team just beating up an ACC team.    So no, I don’t envy Coach Martin, but I am dadgum glad he is in Columbia.  Given the time and patience and space he needs I think he could be our “hoops” Tanner or Spurrier.  

It’s a great time to be a Gamecock! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

MOO U News: Tajh Boyd lets someone else take his Heisman this year to set up big 2013

Clemson QB Tajh Boyd, who was named the greatest signal-caller in the history of College Football this week by Tiger Illustrated, Tigernet and the Orange & White, had a tough decision to make regarding this year’s Heisman.  Instead of hogging the award for himself, which in his mind he had the option to do, Boyd instead notified Heisman Officials that he was withdrawing his name for consideration until 2013. 

“I appreciate the fact that I would have won the trophy if I had asked for it, but I would rather win it next year along with Sammy Watkins.  We’ll be SO unbelievably good next year that they will give us each a Heisman.”  When asked why the two of them didn’t win it this year, Boyd said the reasons were clear.  “Some South Carolina policemen framed Sammy and made it look like he did drugs and controlled substances.  Sammy was actually on his way to the orphanage to pass out toys as we know but he unselfishly turned the other cheek so we could go unbeaten this year.”  Boyd went on to blame George W. Bush as well.
When asked who should win this year’s trophy as a result of his withdrawl, Tajh said he doesn’t have a favorite.  “I called all three of those guys and let them know they had a shot since I pulled out.  All three were so happy it almost sounded like they were laughing. “ 

MOO U News: Clemson pretending they are kind of in the BCS anyway


 Some of Clemson’s football players and coaches have started to show a major break with reality following the Tigers’ 4th straight loss to South Carolina.  The unfortunate mental schism has led to some strange public comments about the upcoming Chik-Fil-A/Peach Bowl on New Year’s Eve against LSU.  Clemson center Dalton Freeman, made famous for talking trash to Jadeveon Clowney a few weeks ago (nice work big guy), had this to say:  “This game has a BCS feel to it.” 
He is correct in the sense that a third-grade dance has the same feel to it as the Senior Prom, but there is major concern that trying to come to grips with constantly losing to the Gamecocks is mentally taking its toll on Clemson.  We asked long-time Tiger supporter and Six-Mile resident Erma Wallow if she felt like the Chik-Fil-A Bowl was part of the BCS.  “Sure it is.  I was just boiling up some chitlins the other day and mentioned to Enos that I’d rather be playing this game than playing in that Orange Bowl again.  West Virginia might be there and that didn’t work out so good.” 
We pointed out to Wallow that LSU this year is actually better than West Virginia was last year which led to a chuckle or two.  “Whatever you say child.  LSU is in the SEC and you saw what we did to Auburn.  I think we’ll be fine.  Have some hot sauce.”  

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mixed reaction to Outback Bowl is a GOOD sign!

Carolina’s reaction to being paired with Michigan in Tampa hasn’t been one of too much disappointment OR too much excitement.  I would say most of us feel like playing the Wolverines is a solid matchup, and one that offers us a chance to show off our rising program to the nation on New Year’s Day.  But we also hope it is a stepping stone to better bowls in the future, AND for the first time we deserve better than this bowl.  That’s a GOOD sign folks.  

The first time we went to the modern Outback Bowl in 2000, we were downright giddy, as we should have been.  40,000 Gamecocks jammed into Tampa and Ybor City and gave La Terasita its best New Year’s ever.  Then in 2001, we weren’t quite as enthused but we still felt like the Outback was a “big deal bowl” and we still felt great.  

What turned the worm on all this was the third appearance against Iowa.  We didn’t have ANY business being there that year and our fans knew it.  We had just had our rear ends handed to us by Florida and Clemson and we were in no mood for that trip.  If there was ever a year that we should have just taken a lower bowl and done so quietly, it was that season.  Instead, there was a cloud of negativity and nastiness around the trip and as expected it went badly.  Iowa rolled to an easy victory and Spurrier was actually thinking of leaving Columbia.  

But in NONE of those years did we think we “settled” for the Outback.  I think we do feel that way this year, and that’s okay.  But since that feeling of “deserving more” is there, we need to prove it valid.  We should go and flood Tampa again, get our 11th win for the 2nd straight year and head into the offseason on fire.  

Next year is ripe with opportunity.  Georgia finally will have to do more than get their nails done.  The pups play LSU although it’s in Athens, and they play at Clemson.  So their schedule for once has a minor pulse.  Meanwhile, the Gators play in Columbia and play at LSU.  We still have a three road-game in a row stretch next year, but at least we don’t play LSU or Alabama.  We travel to Athens, but we get the Gators at home.  Bottom line?  The goal for us should be 11 regular season wins.  That would allow for one hiccup, maybe in that ridiculous 3 game road stretch of Arkansas, Tennessee and Mizzou.  

The foundation for meeting this goal will be built if we take care of business in the Outback.  Michigan WILL be ready to play, as all teams that get a shot at SEC teams are in bowls.  Nebraska came out firing last year and the Blue and Gold will also.  If we react right, we will get a big win and shine!  It’s a great time to be a Gamecock!