Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Cockabooster “negativity” myth

Well the old Cockabooster is getting just ROASTED in the feedback this week because I had the unmitigated TEMERITY to point out that there hasn’t been a 5-game win streak in the Carolina-Clemson rivalry in my lifetime.  And until I actually see one, I will not be picking USC to tame the Tigers after Thanksgiving.  What surprised me most about the comments and emails I have been getting is an almost universal sentiment that I always pick against the Gamecocks. Nonsense.  I just took a look back and found very few times I have picked against South Carolina.  

Oh, but what about Clemson?  “YOU ALWAYS PICK CLEMSON!”  Before Spurrier arrived, well, that’s right.  I did almost always pick Clemson before 2005.  DUH!  Clemson almost always won before 2005.  From 1971-2004 (the years I was alive pre-Spurrier), the rivalry record was 24-9-1.  Clemson had at least 3 separate 4-game winning streaks in that time.

But since Spurrier arrived I haven’t been nearly as negative about our chances with Clemson.  I did pick them in 4 of the first 5 games in the Spurrier era.  In four of those picks I was right.  I missed the winner only in 2009 when we got our current win streak started.  Then I picked us to win both in 2010 and 2011, and we won both.  So at that point, the Head Ball Coach had led us to four victories over the Tigers and I had picked us to win in three of those games!

Enter 2012 and my picking the kittens due to Connor Shaw’s absence.  What else is there to say except I just missed it.  Badly.  I had no idea Dylan Thompson would be able to go up there and get it done.  He did and it was great! 

Now for next week, I reiterate my thoughts that lead me to choose the Klimpletons: 

1 I have never seen a 5-game winning streak in this series.  I will believe one can happen when I see it.

2. Unlike 2009 and 2011, the ACC officials have something they need to protect in this year’s game:  Clemson’s at-large BCS bid.  Clemson was already headed to the ACC title game with no hope of more in 2009.  Nothing to protect.  In 2011, there was nothing there to protect either.  But this year, ESPN and the ACC are desperate to get a 2nd team into the mix.  I can assure you we won’t see a holding call against Clemson and they will be allowed to just maul our receivers.  Get ready for it folks. 

3.  Clemson’s one real strength plays right into our one real weakness (in my opinion).  The middle of our secondary and our young linebackers have been gashed pretty often this year.  Assuming Clemson can keep Sammy off the dope before kickoff, they are going to get some good yardage and big plays.  And points. 

Now I fully acknowledge we have some things in our favor as well:

1.  Connor Shaw is unbeaten as a starter at home.

2.  We are ALWAYS tough to beat in Williams-Brice, especially during this winning streak. 

3.  If Mike Davis is healthy, he could certainly change the game into a ball-control contest that favors us in a big way. 

4.  Dabo Swinney is still the Coach at Clemson.  He’s like Ricky Bobby only not as funny or successful.  You can actually see him saying “I piss excellence” or some other line from Talladega Nights if you think about it.  (Trademark Dabo Swinney, Inc.)  LOL

So yes, you can make a case for both teams.  Frankly, the five-game win streak thing is what I am most hung up on so hopefully I am wrong in my pick.  In the meantime, hopefully some of my fellow Gamecocks will back away from the ledge.  As I’ve said many times, if every Clemson QB wants to get beat up for three seasons just to grab a win as they head out the door, I am good with that. 

It’s a great time to be a Gamecock!

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