Thursday, November 7, 2013

Small Senior Class will be leaving a legacy

Whatever the rest of the football season holds, this year’s tiny senior class will walk out of Columbia with historic numbers.  There are only five scholarship seniors on the roster, but just consider their impact on the record books at USC .  These numbers will only go up before the year ends of course, with at least three more home games and a bowl to go: 

  •  38-11 overall record
  • 22-9 record in SEC games (all 4 seasons with winning conference records)
  • 17-4 record in SEC East games
  • 3-0 record against Clemson
  • 8-3 record against the East’s “Big 3” of Georgia, Tennessee and Florida
  • The two biggest bowl wins in the program’s history
  •  Carolina’s 1st SEC East Championship
  • 23-2 record in Williams-Brice Stadium

Go ahead and poke whatever holes you want in these stats, but they are the facts.  If you are one of the many Carolina fans who just cannot be happy about anything, then of course you can choose to focus what is not there.  And you will which is fine.  

As for me, I am happy that I have lived to see this era for the Garnet and Black.  You don’t even have to go back very far to consider the historical context at which we are looking.   Take the seniors who left USC following the 1999-2000 season campaign.  That class carried out a 12-32 overall record, and an SEC mark of 7-25.  Oh, and they went to 0 bowls and went 1-3 against the Tigers.  I don’t point this out to take shots at previous Gamecock teams.  I was right there pulling for them every season then too.  This comparison is merely to illustrate just how far things have come in less than 15 years.  

The good news is that with at least 16 starters returning for 2014, and a MUCH more favorable schedule then, next year’s seniors have a great shot on IMPROVING these numbers.  The 2010 team’s record of 9-5 overall, 5-3 SEC and their bowl loss drops off the numbers.  Granted, the SEC East drops off as well but I digress.  So if the current team beats Florida and finishes 10-3 overall hypothetically, they would begin next year at 32-7 and 18-6 in the SEC!  

I can remember crying after the Carquest Bowl in 1995 because of our “historic” win over West Virginia!  Now we would be horrified to have to settle for that bowl.  I still have tons of DVD copies of individual upset wins through the 80s and 90s because that was all we had to enjoy then.  So sit back and enjoy every second of these last 4 or 5 games.  Sop up every second of Connor Shaw’s last few efforts at the Bluff Road Pigskin Poultry factory.  Because it hasn’t ever been this good before at Carolina, and we haven’t even hit the ceiling yet.   

It’s a great time to be a Gamecock!

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