Monday, November 4, 2013

To play or not to play….Bama that is

Carolina is a lot of things when it comes to football, but don’t ever call us boring.  With ¾ of the season behind us, there is a lot we know, and even more we don’t know, about this particular team.  The Gamecocks rolled into the fall on a wave of hype generated from one play in the Outback Bowl win.  Clowney was a word that was crammed down every person’s throat in the sports world, and it set up an impossible circumstance for the youngest team in the nation.
Because of that, and despite an almost heroic year from Connor Shaw, many USC fans are almost disappointed by our 7-2 mark.  If not outright disappointed, then certainly “underwhelmed.”  Either way it is a garbage feeling.  Don’t give me any nonsense about raised expectations either.  This was about swallowing the myth that despite losing as much as we did from last year’s team, we wouldn’t miss a beat.  Carolina fans should be elated over where we are right now. 

This especially holds true when looking into the future, where 16 or 17 starters will be returning to face a MUCH more favorable schedule.  This year the Gamecocks had 5 of their first 8 games on the road.  In 2014, USC has 5 of its first 7 at home, and the two road trips are to Vandy and Kentucky. 

So what to make of the rest of 2013?  First off, we must beat the Gators.  Nothing else in the recently debated “scenarios” happens without us winning that last conference game at home.  And yes, if we do, it certainly will trigger some serious scoreboard watching in other games.  Auburn will certainly be favored against Georgia (unless they stub their toe in Knoxville), and Mizzou must survive both Ole Miss on the road and Johnny Football at home. 

So I will put words to it:  If Carolina beats Florida, you could say accurately that we look like the “favorite” to win the East.  But do we actually “want to” win the East?  Of course we do, as you always want a shot to play for the championship.  Plus Clemson has a senior QB and fantastic receiver (when he is not high), and they are out of their minds desperate to get a win over SC before they leave Tigertown.  So the Sugar Bowl is not “guaranteed” just because we topple the Gators.  We must also beat Coastal and Clemson and then have Mizzou or Georgia get beat by Bama in Atlanta for that to work. 

All of this “confusion” to me makes things very simple:  just win baby.  The rest will take care of itself.  If we lose to Florida, we’re 99% out in the East.  And if we lose to Clemson AND stumble into the East but get beat up by Bama that would tumble us down to maybe the Music City Bowl.  So to be frank, winning out is the only desirable choice.  That puts us in a “no-lose” situation.  We either win the East again, and get a shot at the SEC championship (having just beaten the Tiggers yet again), or we would get the Sugar Bowl at-large bid. 

Item 1 on the agenda:  Skin the Citrus Lizards from the Gainesville Bog, and take care of business against the Chanticleers!  Then on that Monday check in with me to see where things stand.  J

It’s a great time to be a Gamecock!

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