Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Connor’s Chance

As predicted, Georgia went up to Clemson with little to play for, fumbled and bumbled around giving away a touchdown and missing a field goal.  Clemson took advantage and played a flawless game.  They had their entire world invested into winning that game and they did.  Now, since our upstate neighbors only play 2 or 3 real games per year, they get to pull their orange car flags, jerseys/road trash pick-up shirts, and spittoons out of the closets and go nuts.  They will likely be unbeaten when they come to Columbia.   

Meanwhile, Jawja gets most of their suspended thugs back on the roster  and they actually have incentive when the Gamecocks come to town.  The flea-covered leg-humpers will be shaking their drooling jowls with zesto and barking up a storm between the hedges.  And I can promise you that Mark Richt’s game plan will be to force Connor Shaw to lead us to victory.  Just as Clemson dared Aaron Murray to beat them and he couldn’t, we will see if #14 can finally land a signature road win.  

Shaw is 18-3 as a starter, but he is 11-0 in Columbia and 3-0 in neutral stadiums.  He is only 4-3 in true road games.  His four wins are:  Vanderbilt (17-13), Mississippi State (14-10), Tennessee (14-3) and Kentucky (38-17).  With all due respect, none of those games were in a hostile atmosphere against a good team, and none of the performances were memorable.     

To me, the three losses (Arkansas, LSU and Florida) loom larger in the brain this week as we go to the Alpo dish.  Winning a big road game is the “final fig leaf” for Shaw.  If he can do it, I think you could make a very strong argument for him as the best quarterback we have ever seen in Columbia.  I mean that.  That sentiment will likely ruffle up the Jeff Grantz lovers and Steve Taneyhill-ites but it’s the truth.  

Am I saying that he isn’t “one of the best” already?  Of course he is.  But to be the best ever, in my humble opinion, he must either win a big road game or land a division title.  Yes, yes, I know we could lose on Saturday and still win the division.  And based on Georgia’s play at Clemson that is possible.  

But really this week is Connor’s chance.  I know that Shaw shuns the spotlight and prefers being the quiet leader like Phil Petty was.  I respect that.  But even Petty understood when he had to step up and put the team on his shoulders.  Shaw’s shoulders will be tested on Saturday.  Oh, the Clowney debate will dominate the headlines and suck up most of the media discussion.  But ignore all of that and keep your eye on #14.  Will he leave Carolina with a huge hole in his legacy, or will we seriously start thinking of him as our best quarterback ever?  

It’s a great time to be a Gamecock!

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