Monday, July 22, 2013

More MOO U News: Dabo quietly arranging to seek asylum in Columbia after 5th straight loss

When Clemson loses its 5th straight game to South Carolina this November, Dabo Swinney will not be able to safely return to Tigertown.  These feelings were best expressed by Clemson Scholar and strawberry picker Cletus Bellybutton of Six Mile.  “He may think he’s the best moon pie in the still, but I ain’t choppin no more chesters.  Calling a fig a banana don’t get you no fritters.  Boy has to know that boy has to go.” 

As a result of that well-articulated threat, Swinney has been negotiating with officials at Carolina to be given asylum in Columbia following the game.  Dabo has done more than any Clemson coach ever to help build the Gamecock football program, and he is confident he will be protected.  “They know how much I have done for them and all I will need is a barn with some fresh hay.  It’s all good.”

MOO U News: Dabo and Tajh say Clowney needs to tweet or rant!

Clemson fans were outraged and offended this week when Gamecock star Jadeveon Clowney answered a question with an honest answer at the SEC Media Days.  “We made it very clear that if you’re going to trash talk in this state, we prefer you go on a staged rant or hide on twitter,” said Dabo, Clemson’s football coach and toe-jam chef.  “This guy is out of control.”  

The Tigers’ quarterback (who last year ran his “twitter” mouth about the Gamecock defense before he was planted like a crop repeatedly into the Death Valley turf by said defense) also responded to Clowney’s opinion by referring to himself repeatedly in the third person.  “Tajh Boyd can’t be concerned about what someone else is saying about Tajh Boyd,” said Tajh Boyd.  “Instead, Tajh Boyd must do what Tajh Boyd can to make Tajh Boyd the best Tajh Boyd that Tajh Boyd can be…Tajh Boyd.” 

Swimming in the deep end of the pool

Is South Carolina ready?

Okay Gamecock fans, we have what we’ve always wanted:  respect and a real opportunity.  Carolina is 22-4 over the last two seasons; we are in everyone’s top 10; we are picked by some in the credible media to actually win the SEC; we have a long-shot Heisman candidate winning an ESPY and saturated with national media; we are hated by our rivals for the right reasons for a change-  we beat them every year.  In short, we are the dog that has caught the car bumper.  

I have lived long enough to see us morph from a program that used to wildly celebrate a big upset every couple of years to a team that would view a 9-3 record as a complete failure.  A team that has moved from tearing down the goalposts after beating New Mexico State (true story) to a team that would implode over a close loss in Athens in September.  A team that had not won back-to-back games against Clemson in 40 years to a team that is salivating over the prospect of a fifth-straight win over the once-proud orange kitties.  For good measure, compared to previous seasons our schedule is actually sort-of fair compared to our peers.  It may not be a “perfect” chance but it’s as close to perfect as I have seen. 

Older Gamecock fans (if they are being honest) can only see the land mines on the path and are scared of what happens if we hit one.  I am a pretty negative “old-school” fan at heart, so I admit I think this way.  I ask myself all the time things like, “Can we win big with all new linebackers?”  “Do we have enough depth in the secondary?”  “Can Connor Shaw actually win in Athens?” “Can we survive the three-game road stretch” You get the idea.  

Meanwhile, as I have talked about in other columns, younger Gamecock fans are used to all the winning and success and are only excited about the good stuff.  Instead of my paranoid questions, they are asking things like, “Will I be able to get a ticket to the national title game?”  “Which SEC West team will we beat in Atlanta this year?”  “Will Clemson keep Dabbles after we beat them for the fifth straight time?”  Heck I wish I was like that and I am happy for them.  

But whether you are a Linus or a Pigpen, you know this is our best shot at joining the national elite for good.  We have had individual teams that have earned national respect but it didn’t last.  For example, I still view that 1987 team as one of the best we ever had and they had only 8 wins and 4 losses!  This team has a serious chance to get to 12 wins or more.  Can you imagine a group of seniors leaving Columbia with 44-10 record, an 8-0 mark against Clemson and Georgia, 2 SEC East Titles, 3 bowl wins, and SEC Championship, etc.?  

Things are as good as they have ever been in Columbia and it’s time to grab the gold. 
It’s a great time to be a Gamecock!

Friday, July 5, 2013

WARNING...2013 could be just like 2011

I know that I am viewed as a “pessimistic” or “negative” Gamecock fan sometimes and that’s a fair accusation some of the time.  But often it is honestly an objective analysis of the facts in front of me that folks don’t want to hear.  If you’re being honest about the first couple of weeks in the upcoming football season, there is a VERY plausible scenario that could happen which isn’t good for Carolina.  At least early in the season.   

Georgia enters this year completely obsessed with beating USC if for no other reason than shutting up our fan base.  They aren’t used to having a three-game losing streak to the Gamecocks, Spurrier or not.  Oh but what about their trip to Clemson you ask?  First, not a conference game.  Second, when was the last time Clemson was relevant in Georgia’s eyes (or anyone’s eyes outside of Heather Dinich or whatever her last name is)?  Third, Clemson feels that a win over Georgia would confirm that their win over LSU meant something.  Fourth, Georgia as usual will have most of their team in jail and missing the first game.  So if you’re being honest, how can you not pick Georgia to lose to Clemson that first weekend?   It won’t even be that close in my opinion.  And it won’t mean ANYTHING later in the year. 

Then Georgia turns around, after being angry and shellacked in a game they didn’t care about, and get the game they are completely focused on with Carolina.  They will be back at full-strength, at home and absolutely drooling fired-up.  AND Connor Shaw has yet to show he can lead the Gamecocks on the road into that kind of environment and get a win.  So if you’re being honest, it is VERY plausible, if not likely, that the first two weeks end with Clemson at 2-0 and Carolina and Georgia each 1-1.

That would be similar to 2011.  Then, Clemson caught Auburn napping up in Tigertown and whipped them by 14.  Carolina lost to Auburn at home during the week that Eric Hyman was completing his crucifixion of Stephen Garcia (following Garcia’s Grandfather’s funeral).  Everyone in Tigertown went Ape-Poopy with delight thinking that meant the USC resurgence was over.   The Tigers roared into the Top 5 and Clemson was 8-0!  And the Gamecocks ended up trouncing them 34-13. 

It stinks that scheduling luck and fate have set things up this way, but the good news is that we have a Coach that handles nonsense like this perfectly.  Dabo will inevitably pull a Dabo at some point even with the start listed above and the rest of the season will go accordingly.  You can set your watch to the predictability.
Yes, yes, this is all a worst-case scenario and hopefully I will be wrong on all counts.  I haven’t made my season game-by-game predictions yet so I might feel differently in August.  But the good news is that even if this does play out I don’t see Carolina losing but 2 games.  Three tops.  If 9-3 is considered a total failure in the SEC and at Williams-Brice, then we’ve come a long way baby! 

It’s a great time to be a Gamecock!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Lou Holtz and Mark May weigh in on Future Olympic Sites

The Committee that selects future host Cities for the Olympic Games got some unexpected advice this week.  ESPN College Football commentators Mark May and Lou Holtz got into a heated argument over which cities would be best for the 2022 Winter and 2024 Summer events.  “I don’t think there is any question that South Bend, Indiana should get the winter games and Columbia, SC the summer,” said Holtz, whose comments caused May to go ballistic in response.  “You’re out of your mind old man,” noted May who countered with two locations of his own.  “First off, Pittsburgh is a much better winter town and is already rumored for the 2026 winter games, so just look at the facts.  And for my money, Athens, Georgia gets the summer.  Athens?  Hello?”

We asked Mr. Vitali Smirnov of Russia, a prominent member of the International Olympic Committee what he thought of May and Holtz’s suggestions.  “I would rather watch them than Brent Musberger and Mike Tirico.  Vodka helps.”  

497,853 people in the world still don’t know Clowney

ESPN and Steve Spurrier have spent the off-season trying to promote  Gamecock star Jadeveon Clowney, but those efforts may be falling short.  Of the roughly 7 billion humans on the Earth, there are nearly half a million left that have never heard of #7 or seen the clip of his Outback Bowl hit against Michigan.  “Yeah, there are a bunch of folks in Belarus who we haven’t reached yet and I feel bad about that,” said Spurrier. 

The Head Ball Coach thinks the problem can be corrected by the time August practices start.  “There is a problem with our media outreach efforts in Minsk and Baranavinchy and we’re working on it.   We’ll get there.”  If Spurrier does complete the task, he will be allowed to beat up Nick Saban with a tire iron for 15 minutes before the kickoff against North Carolina.  

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

MORE MOO U News: Frank Howard under siege for mistreatment of his rock

Made-Up Story...Again...Don't Get Too Upset Clemson-ites!

New evidence has surfaced that former Clemson football coach Frank Howard used to use his famous rock as a “door-stop,” and that has rabid Tiger fans beside themselves.  Jimmy Don Spittle, an honors graduate from Moo U and Iva resident, could not believe the news.  “How would Coach Howard feel if he knew someone once used his rock that way?  I think we should immediately take Coach Howard’s name off the stadium.”  

Spittle says Coach Howard made it clear that anyone not giving a billion percent should keep their filthy hands off that rock.  “That includes Coach Howard, and he didn’t live up to his words.  I think we owe it to a legend like Frank Howard to make sure that his name is never associated with a hypocrite like Frank Howard.  He had a losing record to the Gamecocks too.” 

MOO U News: Dabo blames Rock Incident on Spurrier

Swinney Believes Spurrier Vandalize "Howard's Rock"

Coach Steve Spurrier is the one who cracked Howard’s Rock if you believe Dabo Swinney.  The little Coach that could in a sweatshirt says that despite an arrest of a Clemson fan recently in the case, and apparent video confirmation of the crime itself, he feels it was actually the Head Ball Coach.  “Look, I heard from someone’s twitter account that Spurrier did it and he hasn’t denied it,” said Swinney.  “That means he did it as far as I’m concerned.”  

Spurrier has never been suspected of involvement in the vandalism and is not considered a suspect by anyone.  But Swinney has a history of blaming things on Spurrier that he hasn’t done.  Remember that Tiger reporter making up a quote that allowed him to stage a very silly rant against the Gamecocks?  Well, the Tigers’ chief paste-eater says no such rant is coming this time because the last one led to another double-digit behind-kicking by Carolina.   “But Spurrier did this,” said Swinney, and “I ain’t apologizing.” 

Spurrier has his “Cocky” Back

For those Gamecock fans who are old enough to remember the Paul Dietzel era, you hear story after story about the success Herman Helms had at The State in spewing negativity to the point that a change was made.  Certainly the modern day moron over there has done his best to keep up that legacy of the “hometown” paper antagonizing USC for the sake of being confrontational. 

For the first time ever, that effort has failed and a Coach has survived.  Steve Spurrier’s first five seasons were an absolute grind.  Just like other legends that had come to Columbia, it appeared that the Head Ball Coach’s tenure would end badly.  At that point you could hear all kinds of “Dietzel the sequel” references from old-school Carolina fans.  

Instead of that “typical” ending, Spurrier roars into season #9 with his best roster ever and the national spotlight on Williams-Brice like it’s never been before.  The Gamecocks have a very difficult schedule as they always do and will, but this one appears to be manageable.  The SEC road trips include Athens, Mizzou, Fayetteville and Knoxville.  A bonus trip to Central Florida is badly-timed and dangerous but it is there. 
For the first time since he has been in Columbia, you get the sense that the HBC is actually “happy” with his quarterbacks.  Connor Shaw is the angelic choir boy with the great work ethic (Spurrier’s ideal QB).  Then you have the more media-friendly “gunslinger” Dylan Thompson.  Thompson being there when things get tough for Shaw or the little guy gets beat up a bit has paid dividends already.  (See Clemson and the Outback Bowl)  

So why is this the year that Spurrier seems to have finally turned back into the “cocky” ball coach we all used to hate in Gainesville?  After all, there are certainly some BIG question marks about this season:  1. Can USC’s new linebackers get the job done?  2.  Is there enough depth in the secondary?  3.  Can Connor Shaw finally win a really big marquee game on the road?  

I get it that Spurrier doesn’t have to worry himself with the first two defense concerns but he has to know that #3 lingers in the air in a big way.   Shaw has done just about everything else you can do as a QB at Carolina….except win that signature road win as a starter.  Miss. State and Tennessee in 2011 were nice wins of course, as were Vandy and Kentucky in 2012.  But Alshon rescued us in Starkville by making a tremendous catch and the Vols were sleepwalking through one of their worst years ever and we end up slipping away 14-3.  

Fair or unfair those wins are overshadowed by the losses at LSU and Florida last year and the disastrous trip to Fayetteville in 2012.  At some point this season, Shaw (who has been brilliant in Columbia), must lead us to a victory on his own on the road under pressure circumstances.  That is part of an SEC QB’s legacy.  I would say that there is one golden opportunity for that early on this fall:  Between the hedges.   If he does, then Spurrier’s return to swagger and cockiness will be justified!  Go get ‘em Connor.  It’s the chance you have been waiting for.  

It’s a great time to be a Gamecock!