Monday, January 21, 2013

Carolina is the steak, not the sizzle

When you are going through the growing pains of becoming a winning football program, AND you’re a program that follows the rules as tightly as USC does, you can’t avoid good players leaving early for the pros.  And in the context of this column, I am really not talking about players such as Alshon or Clowney.  Their going pro after 3 seasons would happen anywhere.   I am really talking about cases such as Sidney Rice or Ace Sanders.  In other words, less “crystal clear” decisions. 

Now at some schools, things happen behind closed doors that lead to a higher percentage of these “tweeners” remaining for another year.  And yes, it is irritating and you hope the old karma wheel circles around at some point but that has nothing to do with Carolina.  Outside of technical violations and “rampant tutoring” and the like, USC has a coach that chooses the straight and narrow path and I like it that way.  

But more tweeners will leave because of that, and we have to live with it in Columbia.  The Gamecocks could have chosen to remain the big-yapping “sizzle,” but instead we have dug in, built for the long-term and are the steak instead.  Some schools can be both and have more history at it.  Alabama is the most obvious example of course, but there aren’t many that can consistently combine the substance AND the hype.  

So if you’re a Carolina fan, ask yourself if you’d like to return to running our mouths all year, beating up on a weak schedule and then getting whipped by Clemson?  Yes, we may have had (gasp) 4 losses in the last 2 seasons.  Oh, the horror!  Yes, we may “only” be a consistent top-10 program now that is almost “disappointed” to be sitting at #7 to end a season.  I have lived long enough to see us have an active and current win streak of at least three games against Tennessee, Georgia and Clemson.  And of course the big one on that list is at 4 and counting. 

I do wish our fans could learn to enjoy things more but that will come I guess.  After  2012, all I heard was USC fans bellyaching over having to replace Antonio Allen, Melvin Ingram, Alshon, etc, etc.  What on EARTH were we going to do?  Annnnd we turn around and go 11-2 again and are right there in the top 10.  Much to no one’s surprise, now the bellyaching has started back up.  OH NO!  We have to replace Ace, DJ, Devin, etc.  What are we going to do???  Geez.  

Good programs graduate great players who must be replaced by other great players, and we’re doing that now.  Consistently.  No, we’re not as adept at manipulating the media as some other schools with hyper fools at the helm who ignore reality, and yes that does lead to some head-shaking and heavy breathing.   But we are what we are.  Carolina is not where we want to be, but we’re a hell of a lot better than we used to be.  I can live with that.   

22 wins, 4 losses, and ZERO “Moral Victories.”  Love it.  Bring on the Tarheels and 2013! 
What a great time to be a Gamecock! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

There is NOTHING Frank Martin can do about this year

I know it’s a tired cliché, but one that is applicable to the new Gamecock Basketball era under Frank’s going to take time.  Yes, it would have been nice to grab a win at Mississippi State or over Auburn in Columbia this weekend.  They may end up being our best chances at a conference win.  Regardless, we all knew that this year was going to be one to forget.  

This program is the definition of rebuilding in every sense of the word.  Darrin Horn left us in a messy pile of puke and got out of town.  Thank goodness we were able to land someone like Coach Martin to come in and clean this up.  There was never a chance that this particular campaign was going to be noteworthy in a positive way and it has nothing to do with the Coach.  

I love Martin’s intensity.  There aren’t many of us at the home games but those who are there get their money’s worth.  I am careful to eat my popcorn the right way because if I don’t Coach Martin will come up to my seat to “Coach” me on what I’m doing wrong.  This is an intense man and you either love his honesty and candor or you are going to be miserable until we start winning.  

I will NOT denigrate any individual player who wears the Gamecock uniform, but I can admit that overall we are a terrible basketball team.  Nobody likes to lose and I wish we didn’t have to choke down this medicine again because we’ve done it before.  Dave Odom was too cold and Darrin Horn was too hot.  I think Coach Martin will be the one who is just right.  We have actually been very close a couple of times to having a consistent winner in hoops.  If Eddie Fogler hadn’t gotten sour with McGee and recruiting he may still be coaching today.  If George Felton could have made better personal lifestyle choices, he could have been a legend in Columbia. 

Will Coach Martin be in Columbia for at least 7 seasons?  To me that is the key at USC.  Can the fans and the administration be patient enough to get this man past that critical point?  If so, we’re going to go through some difficult losses and disappointing seasons.  Hopefully there will also be some unexpected success mixed in that gives us a bridge to the future.  

At some point you have to pick a horse to ride and not keep changing saddles.  My money is on Coach Martin and I hope the Gamecock Nation will have his back as we suffer through the clean-up.  Under him we will win our first significant NCAA Tournament games since Frank McGuire “retired.”  

What a great time to be a Gamecock! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

More MOO U News: Roscoe Skunkles returning to Clemson Huddle House


The news wasn’t all bad for the Clemson family on Wednesday.  Long-time Egg-Cracker and Syrup Jar Filler Roscoe Skunkles, thought to be declaring himself eligible for the Anderson Huddle House chef draft, has decided to remain at the Clemson location for another year.  Bertha Penelope, who has followed Skunkles since he arrived in Tigertown, was overjoyed to hear her man would stay. 

“I have been coming here since I started my schoolin' back in 1998.  Or maybe it was last Tuesday.  Either way, old Roscoe was right there to crack my eggs and make sure I had some maple.”  Penelope knows that the Huddle House has some talented young chefs waiting in the wings, but that you can’t put a price on experience.  “Roscoe could have gone ahead and taken the money but he knows he has more to do here.  There will be an extra nickel on his next tip, I’ll tell you that much. “    

Skunkles says he just wasn’t ready to move up at this point, and that he had too many memories to just walk away.  “Shoot, I was here the night Richard Petty came in and used the bathroom.  Some people say it was just Larry the local meth dealer, but I think it was Petty. You can’t put a price on that.”  When reached for comment, the NASCAR legend said he was pretty sure the last time he used a Huddle House bathroom was during the Carter administration. 

MOO U News: Tajh Boyd returns to Clemson…Gamecock Nation Celebrates!


Carolina fans all over the Palmetto State were concerned that yet another whipping of Clemson this season meant that the Gamecock’s favorite Tiger, Tajh Boyd would leave early for the NFL.  Then when LSU self-destructed and handed the Upstate Udders the Peach Bowl the concern grew to outright panic.  Boyd had his first and only good game against a real opponent that night and the good money was on Tajh turning pro.  But all the midlands breathed a huge sigh of relief when Boyd decided to come back to Clemson. 

“Yeah, thankfully old Tajh is going to come back and lose to us one more time before leaving the upstate,” said longtime Gamecock supporter Duke Wilson of Camden.  “With a new QB under center they may have been able to break the streak.  It’s a great day for the Garnet and Black!”  That sentiment was shared by 1000s of Gamecock fans, who know that Boyd has been a big part of leading USC to their 4 straight wins. 


Dabo Swinney, Clemson football coach and part-time paste eater, put on a good face for the press when he heard the news.  “Timing is everything and LSU was just determined to give us that win.  So I guess we’ll have Tajh take us through one more fall of disappointment before we can move on.” 

Monday, January 7, 2013


We recently surpassed 75,000 hits on the COCK-A-BOOSTER in about a year and a half!!! We never thought that many people would actually care about the nonsense the post on this blog.  We enjoy it working on the site.   Thanks for reading it! What a great time to be a GAMECOCK!  What the heck!??  Let's go for 100,000...

This is a “down year” for the SEC? Ummm, okay.

Before I even write this column, I want to point out that I am NOT a conference cheerleader.  Outside of enjoying ticking off Clemson fans from time to time as needed (and that is always fun), I never get into the “SEC, SEC, SEC” homer nonsense.  The only argument I have ever heard that even reaches me on this topic is that Carolina’s finances are certainly helped by being in the conference.  No question that is true, but the SEC is going to ALWAYS be in good shape financially.  So I don’t need to have Georgia and Florida win their bowl games to protect the Gamecocks’ cash.  

Having said that, all the SEC Haters in the world are kidding themselves if they think this year’s bowls “prove” that the SEC is on its way down.  Morons.  I will have some special remarks for the ACC  in a bit but first let’s probe the overall tally in 2012-13.  Heading into the National Championship game on Monday, the Southeastern Conference is 5-3 in bowls and playing for the title on Monday.  WOW!  What a collapse. 
I don’t have the historical numbers in front of me and I have no plans to research for such an asinine “argument,” but I remember other years where the SEC lost 3 or 4 bowls and everyone was all lathered up that it was fading into mediocrity.  Give me a break.  The only thing more irritating than an SEC Homer is an SEC Hater.  Every time some random team beats an SEC team in a bowl you get this incredible overreaction that is both laughable and transparent.  

This brings me to the always delightful collection of insane lunatics in the Atlantic Coast Conference.  The ACC is 4-2 in the bowls this year and officially done with bowls.  BUT their fans are claiming Louisville’s win to make it 5-2.  So since they want to take that liberty, I will play in that pigpen and also give them Pitt’s humiliating loss to Ole Miss to make them 5-3.  

SO then they go one step further and are all ready to claim a Notre Dame win tomorrow over Bama as proof that the ACC is FINALLY on par with the SEC.  (Although Notre Dame is not joining the ACC for football.  You can’t make this up but anyway.)   Regardless, they better hope the Irish win after all of this silly talk.  Because if Bama wins, the SEC is 6-3 and will have landed their 7th straight national title.  You have to just laugh out loud imagining how the haters will spin that result.  “But, but, but…hey Clemson beat LSU by 1 point in the Peach Bowl and Louisville beat Florida.  That means something right?”  lol  I’ll get to that.
But first what if Notre Dame actually wins?  The ACC then is the 6-3 team and has a national title in their fans’ minds.  (Remember from earlier they are pulling in teams that aren’t in the conference yet to boost their hand. Including a team that specifically wouldn’t join the ACC if it meant being linked to them in football.  Awesome!)  

The truth is that you can’t rationally argue with someone thick enough to think that way, but I will try.  A long-time consistent position of mine is that “wanting to be there” and motivation are huge factors in individual bowl matchups.  As a Gamecock fan I can provide 1st hand evidence both ways.  When we won that 1st Outback Bowl, I believe that Ohio State was better on paper but didn’t want to be there.  They were in turmoil and we took advantage.  Then in the Pizza Bowl we were miserable being there and we were in turmoil with the Garcia stuff.  And Connecticut took full advantage.  For more of a national example, Utah beating Alabama is telling.  Go back and review the reaction to that game.  Alabama was finished and Utah was a rising star.  How did that fairy tale finish?   

So to The ACC, aka College Football’s “whipping boy” for a while now.  I ask you this…has there ever been a conference more DESPERATE for a good bowl season?  (Especially after your regular season finales against the SEC teams?)  The results?  First, Georgia Tech beats Southern Cal. Does anyone really think Southern Cal wanted to be there?  Be honest now.  Next, Virginia Tech beats Rutgers in overtime 13-10.  As Dom Deluise would say, that’s nice.  Not “thrilling” but nice.  Oh, and Florida State beats Northern Illinois.  Really?  

And so we’re left with the ACC’s signature win in the Peach Bowl.  If ANYONE has been overhyped in the last decade it is Clemson.  No team I can think of has done less with more according to the media.  I congratulate Clemson for finally being able to win a meaningful game under Dabo.  Seriously.  It was a nice win and Tajh played a great game.  But my goodness, if there was a team due for the breaks to go their way in a bowl it was the 70-point Tigers, and I am NOT hating on them.  It’s just a fact.  My rational Tigger pals and I have been talking since their win and I will concede that it gives old Dabbles a shot at redemption moving forward.  No doubt t does, and he may take advantage.  But we’ll see what that hyper pup can do with the car bumper since he’s finally caught it.  But you can’t deny the ACC that this is their best bowl season in years and we tip our caps.  

But save trying to make it a referendum on the SEC because you will lose that every time.  The bottom line is that there are 2 main questions here:  1. is the SEC overrated; 2. is the SEC the best conference in college football?  The answer to both is a resounding YES.  The SEC is overrated every season by ESPN and the rest of the media.  BUT, that fact does NOT change the fact that year in, year out it is still the best conference in college football.  And one 5-4 or 6-3 mark in a bowl isn’t going to change that. 
Now please never put me in a position again where I have to be an SEC homer again.

What a great time to be a Gamecock! 

Friday, January 4, 2013

GAMECOCK TIDBITS: Jadeveon Clowney picks up Grizzly Bear with one hand, swallows it whole

OK, so this might not be exactly 100% the truth...but it makes for good reading!

Gamecock All-American Defensive End Jadeveon Clowney, fresh off his return from the Outback Bowl and his assault on a Michigan running back, decided to visit Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia.  While there, the group he was with decided to grab a snack.  Clowney took them literally and reached into the bear exhibit, grabbing up a grizzly with one hand and swallowing it whole.  

“I was hungry and it was nice to be at an outdoor buffet.  It needed a little salt but it hit the spot,” said Clowney who went on to use one of the toucans as a toothpick.  Zoo officials said they were happy to have the Gamecock star at their facility but that they would prefer he only come after dinner next time. 

Several teammates reported that Clowney later had some indigestion from the bear meat, but was able to soothe his belly by picking up a tanker truck full of milk and drinking it down.  


GAMECOCK TIDBITS: Steve Spurrier says his post-Outback Bowl Riverdance the best ever

NOTE: Some of this may be slighly fabricated or made-up....Read with CAUTION!

Steve Spurrier decided he would celebrate the Gamecocks’ Outback Bowl victory by doing a very upbeat rendition of Riverdance in the locker room.  After he was done he declared to the media that his performance was the best ever and that the world should take notice.  “Yeah, old Jean Butler and Michael Flatley better watch out, cause the Head Dancer is making his move. ” The dance lasted just a minute or two but that was enough for Spurrier to declare himself the winner.  The winner of what is unclear at this point. 
Spurrier is known for turning everything into a competition, but no one knew of his love for the Irish Stepdance until recent weeks.  G. A. Mangus, a world-renowned ballroom dancer himself, said Spurrier became obsessed during the football season.  “Coach has always discussed how important baroque-influenced traditional music is to him, so we all figured he would eventually move into dance.  Then he read ‘The Humours of Planxty’ by Leagues O'Toole and the rest was history.”
Spurrier says he is looking into some type of exotic tango as his next challenge, or maybe getting on to “Dancing with the Stars.”  

More MOO U News: Gamecocks can just kiss my Orange Butt with their Outback Bowl and wins over us


Special Guest Columnist:  Boog Leafblower of Pendleton

(Mr. Leafblower is a long-time Clemson fan with three years of elementary education. 
He is the official bird-watcher of the Waffle Houses in Pickens County)

You know who I don’t like?  South Carolina.  We win the Peach Bowl on Noo Yeerz Eve and we get about 10 seconds to enjoy it before all the chicken lovers are right back in our face.  I tell you what, I get as mad as a cottonmouth in August just thinking about it.  

When I was a young’un, we used to beat dem Gamecocks every year.  The belt I used to beat up my mama and sister had Danny Ferd etched right in the leather.  What?  What does misspelled mean?  Shut up!  Anyway, every Saturday I would take the tractor out of the barn, crank it up and head down to Death Valley to watch my Tigers win.  

But now, I can’t even enjoy listening to my Tigers on the talking box with the knobs anymore without hearing something about Gamecock this and Carolina that.  It just makes me want to go and beat up my cousin and my wife.  And maybe even a second person too.   

And somebody better stop this thing with them beating us all the time.  A man can’t even go down to the general store to buy fresh pig poop anymore without hearing some USC fan chattering about beating Dabo over and over again.  It’s enough to make you want to strangle your Grandma, and I know all about that.  You want a winning streak?  Check my boxers after a third helping of possum chili.  

You know what?  Just shut up Gamecocks.  We beat LSU by 1 point in the Peach Bowl and that makes us national champs again.  Dabo said so and Dabo made it through 5th grade.  All you chicken people with your salad forks and fancy book-learning.  Your day is coming friend, and it will mean an orange pitchfork right in your behonkus.  

MOO U News: Spokesman for Dabo says post-game actions were tribute to intoxicated, mentally-challenged hyenas


Embarrassed by their football coach’s return into insanity after being heavily medicated and quiet for a month, Clemson University has quickly come up with their spin for Dabo Swinney’s going ape-poopy following the Peach Bowl.  The little coach in the sweatshirt that could actually physically assaulted ESPN’s female reporter after the game before losing his mind and declaring Clemson the national champions.  All of this happened because of a 1-point win over an SEC team that didn’t want to be there and had to make multiple errors in the 4th quarter to actually lose.  

“Coach Swinney’s unfortunate reaction to our bowl win was caused by a combination of factors, many of which were not his fault,” said Dunce Rattlecolddish, the Tiger’s AD and new chain-smoker.  “First, he forgot to take his required tranquilizer meds, which as you have seen since the humiliating loss to the Gamecocks has worked fine to keep him quiet.  A trainer just forgot to give him the shot which we regret.  Second, we had him watching Animal Planet before the game and a piece about mentally-challenged hyenas came on and well….monkey see, monkey do.”  

The embarrassed Clemson AD promises that the brief return by Swinney to making an idiot of himself and the school on national television will not be repeated.  “If we have to increase his meds and pay someone to keep a leash and muzzle on him full-time, then we’ll do it.  This is a school that used to know how to act like it is has had success before.   I mean we pummeled Tenneessee in the Peach Bowl just a few years ago and Tommy Bowden didn’t mess himself celebrating.  We’ll get this under control.  Most of us realize that, no, we actually aren’t the national champions.  He’s just a sweet little moron  and is our hyper pet, but overall we like him.” 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Thank You Seniors!

It’s not the only way to gauge a program’s growth and success, but tracking each Senior Class’s overall record and SEC record after 4 seasons says a lot about trends.  Last year’s Seniors left Carolina with a record of 34-19 and a conference mark of 18-15 (includes 2010 SEC Title Game).  Just one year later, we say goodbye to a group of seniors whose records are 38-15 overall and 20-13 in the conference (again including the 2010 SEC Title Game).  

So let’s look at the potential for next year’s graduates.  Entering the fall they will be 31-8 and 17-8 in the SEC.  Thanks to the 2009 marks of 7-6 and 3-5 SEC dropping off the 4-year rolling totals, there is a chance that this fall could actually show significant improvement across the board.  

The Gamecocks home games are:  UNC, Vandy, Kentucky, Miss. State, Florida, Coastal and Clemson.  Best case:  7-0.  Worst case:  5-2.  The road games are:  Georgia, Central Florida, Arkansas, Tennessee and Mizzou.  Best case:  5-0.  Worst case:  3-2.  Obviously using these numbers I feel like our “worst-case” scenario for this fall is 8-4 and the best case is 12-0.  

Being an “old-school” negative Gamecock fan, I admit it’s hard to shake the 3 decades of being disappointed and seeing potential land-mines around the corner.  But I also can see the program is clearly in the best shape it ever has been and I am loving every minute of it.  So even if we “only” go 9-3 next year and 5-3 in the conference, those seniors get to 40 wins in Columbia in 4 years.  Wow!  40-11 overall and 22-11 in the SEC, and that (under my assumptions) is pretty close to a “worst case.”  

To provide some perspective on what that means, consider where Carolina was after the Carquest Bowl win that followed the 1994 season.  We had just beaten Clemson 33-7 that year, landed the school’s 1st bowl win ever and I was graduating pretty happy with things.  I look back today at that and just laugh.  Those seniors had played only three SEC seasons of course, but you can still get the idea:  19-24-2 overall and 8-16 in the SEC. 

Now context details played into that of course.  Our coach at the time was in his first season and had won that bowl game and I was still “young and naïve.”  But yeah, I admit it I had convinced myself that things were okay at that point.  So you can see why I have to give that one extra thank you to this year’s seniors.  You guys were the group that went through the last couple of “struggling” seasons before giving us what we have now.  

What a great time to be a Gamecock!