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! 

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