Saturday, October 20, 2007

Vandy Stuns Gamecocks

USC losses 17-6 to Vanderbilt.

USC is the 15th team ranked in the top 10 to lose this year -- and VU (4-3, 2-3) defeats a team ranked as high as sixth for only the second time ever. VU beat No. 6 LSU in 1937.
The Commodores led 17-0 after the first quarter on three drives combined totaled 76 yards and 12 plays. Two came after turnovers by USC in its first five plays; the third after a punt by the Gamecocks out of their end zone to the USC 43.

Despite arguably Spurrier's worst loss in his three-year tenure, the Gamecocks (6-2, 3-2 in the Southeastern Conference) still control their own destiny. Win out and USC wins the Eastern Division for the first time. For now, however, USC is tied with Georgia (5-2, 3-2), which was idle Saturday, and No. 14 Florida (5-2, 3-2). The problem for USC is the toughest part of its SEC schedule is ahead, with back-to-back trips to No. 20 Tennessee (4-3, 2-2) and Arkansas (4-3, 2-3) before returning home against the Gators.

Box Score

Friday, October 19, 2007

Keys to a Win vs. Vandy

5 Keys to a Win vs. Vandy for the Gamecocks:

1. USC must continue to make the most of scoring opportunities.....The Gamecocks have scored on all but three of their 26 trips inside the red zone and one those three came as USC ran out the clock instead of trying to score in 38-23 victory over Kentucky. The Gamecocks have scored 18 touchdowns (10 passing and eight running) inside the red zone while place-kicker Ryan Succop has hit all five of his field goal attempts (inside the 20). Carolina must seize the opportunities given to them by Vandy, whether it is a fumble or a INT....take advantage of their mistakes.

2. USC O Line must be better....The O line must get it together and erase the 2nd half performance at UNC. Vandy has a good D and a good pass rush so it is time for our O line to have a great game. Give Smelley/Mitchell time to throw and create running lanes for Boyd/Davis. USC has given up an SEC-worst 19 sacks behind a line that remains in flux at the guard better. Watch out for and contain Vanderbilt senior LB Jonathan Goff who had 14 tackles, including 12 solo, against Georgia, both of which tied career highs. He also had a sack and a quarterback hurry. Attention O line -Keep him in check.

3. The Two Headed Beast must flourish ---Whether it is Blake or Chris at QB, the passing offense for USC must succeed against Vandy. Smelley has completed 56 percent of his passes for 982 yards and nine touchdowns; Mitchell has a 60 percent completion rate with 391 passing yards and three touchdowns. Each has thrown four interceptions. One of the two or both has to step up a lead the offense.....our passing offense must have success for Boyd/Davis to have good games.

4. If you see blood, go for the kill---USC must finish the game strong and let's win big b/c five of SC's six wins have been by an average of 11.2 points; the sixth was a 38-3 victory against South Carolina State. Don't let up or think about Tenn next week...beat the socks off of them, no more close games please.

5. SC must contain Earl Bennett---Junior leads the league in receptions (7.33 per game) and is second in receiving yards (88.3). That has been done with blanket coverage from everyone Vandy has faced this season. He is dangerous and the USC secondary should keep him in front of them. Also don't blow a coverage assignment or miss a tackle on him b/c if so the TD Vandy.
Prediction - USC 34 Vandy 17

Ohhh GAy

The state newspaper started it off with "The Ole Doll Coach" yesterday and then followed up it with a gamecock scooter story. What are some reason why Stephen Garcia would be riding around town in Jean shorts and a scooter?

What is next Ron Morris for AD, or even better Clemson’s new head coach.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A little chat and some Bowl Projections

Another hat tip to our friend at The Dead Guy's SEC site, he posted about the newly released bowl projections which I share with you below. Seems Carolina is moving on up the "prediction ladder."

Check out where some are predicting the Gamecocks to go 'bowling' this year.....Do you agree?

Here's the Bowl Predictions from:
CBS Sportsline
Fox Sports

In other news, seems Blakey-y will get some PT this week....our friend at Garnet and Black writes about it here. I am not sure what to think about Blake-y getting some reps. Part of me says he may deserve it since he is a senior and all but I think we should not screw up a offense that needs to find rhythm. A QB has to have trust and rhythm with his offensive weapons and it seemed (at least in the 1st half) Smelley was getting there. Doing a two QB approach may hurt things but who knows.....I guess let's trust Spurrier since he is paid the big bucks and is a offense guru. What do you guys think out there about Spurrier's decision?

Lastly, what the heck is all this about???? A dress up game with Steve.....what is the world coming too (h/t:

USC Thoughts

“We made it harder than it had to be,” USC Senior RB Cory Boyd said walking back to the locker room after the UNC win (from the state paper).

That quote say it all about USC’s inability to put teams away. The Gamecocks have little trouble proving their superiority over lesser opponents. They can put those teams on the ropes as they did Saturday against a vastly inferior UNC squad. But USC cannot deliver a knockout punch. Thus, the final 21-15 score and the heart-thumping finish when USC defenders needed to bat down a ball in the end zone as time expired.

Funny, because there was a time not that long ago when USC would have lost this kind of game. The game-clinching field goal would have clanked off the upright, as happened Saturday, and the last-ditch pass by UNC would have fallen in the hands of a receiver.

So you have to give USC credit for somehow getting over that hump this season. The Gamecocks manage to win despite playing BAD at times. They win ugly. But the important thing is they win.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Who is your Heisman Fav?

We have reached the mid point of the season and now time to turn it up a notch for most teams as they head into the 'meat' of the schedule. As crazy as this football season is and how no one is safe in the Top 25, who are you thinking will win the Heisman this year?

ESPN has it nicely laid out here.

I think it is Matt Ryan's to win.

If he and the BC crew can win the ACC and BC remain in the Top 5 then the trophy is his. I say this b/c McFad got shut down against Auburn on national TV (Auburn held the junior to 17 yards on 43 carries. McFadden added 5 yards on one catch and 29 yards on one return.) Not to mention his team is not helping his chances - The loss to the Tigers drops the Razorbacks to 0-3 in the SEC.

Tebow is too young but he will win a Heisman before he leaves UF, just not this year.

Hart at UM is still overshadowed by the App State loss and not to mention a recent ankle injury hurt want was a great performance this past weekend.

Then there is the guy out west - DeSean Jackson- right, you are saying "who"....well he is flashy and can play ball but Cal just does not have the national exposure to make him a contender. Not to mention he was held to four catches for 5 yards and one rush for 8 yards this past weekend.

My dark horse is Colt Brennan, just b/c he puts up insane passing numbers and if UH goes undefeated then it could be a "feel good story" to give him the Heisman since the team even if 12-0 will not get a BCS bid.

So who are you placing bets on to win the Heisman this year?

Below is the 5 leading candidates, according to most everyone so far this season.

1. DeSean Jackson, Cal
2. Darren McFadden, Arkansas
3. Colt Brennan, Hawaii
4. Matt Ryan, Boston College
5. Mike Hart, Michigan

A Baylor coach did what?

Baylor offensive line coach Eric Schnupp was cited for urinating on a bar in a Waco tavern. Though he was not arrested, he was cited for a class C misdemeanor which carries a $258 fine. On Tuesday Coach Guy Morriss, who was happy to have his name in the news, said Schnupp is suspended indefinitely.

The suspension of Schnupp comes at a time Baylor can little afford to lose coaches. Last week Baylor 3-4 (0-3) nearly broke through for their first conference win on the road against Top-25 Kansas. Falling behind 3-0 early in the game, Baylor stormed back against the Jayhawks to go on an 11 play 50 yard drive that ended with an emphatic field goal of their own. Tied 3-3 Baylor handed the game over to Coach Schnupp to try to win the game with their vaunted running attack. Apparently, someone on the Coaching staff (Fire Guy Morriss!!) forgot that Baylor can't run the ball and is ranked 112th in the country in rushing offense. Did I mention Schnupp is the o-line coach? Without being able to run the ball (48 yards on 19 attempts), Baylor was unable to hang with the Jayhawks and lost a nail-biter 58-10.

What does relieving oneself on a bar have to do with Coaching the offensive line? Well, nothing really, but if you relieve yourself on a bar, while the police are already there for another reason and you get caught, then you are fair game to be ridiculed. The real question is how did Baylor, the world's largest baptist university, allow a counter-pisser to be involved with their fine university. Apparently, they didn't do their research. It seems Schnupp was a member of the University of Miami football team from 1995-2000.

Don't try to act out things you see
on the back of a pick-up truck

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It is tough in the SEC East

Take a minute and look at the SEC East, then look at the AP top 25. Five teams from the SEC East are ranked in the top 21 in The Associated Press poll released Sunday.

And three of the SEC's seven ranked teams are in the top eight -- No. 5 LSU, No. 6 South Carolina and No. 8 Kentucky. Florida is No. 14th, Auburn No. 18, Tennessee No. 20 and Georgia No. 21.

Only Vanderbilt (3-3), which lost on a last-second field goal to Georgia on Saturday and travels to USC this week, isn't ranked among the East teams.

South Carolina has the following remaining games:

10/20/07 vs. Vanderbilt
10/27/07 at Tennessee
11/03/07 at Arkansas
11/10/07 vs. Florida
11/24/07 vs. Clemson
Anyone what to comment on predicting the remaining games, as far as wins/losses? Can USC run the table and win out?

could it be

Florida was ranked #6 last year when the BCS polls came out, went on to win the national championship

South Carolina is ranked number 6 in the BCS poll this year------ USC will____________________________

Monday, October 15, 2007

SC Pass Defense no longer #1 but Clemson is

After allowing North Carolina qb T.J. Yates to throw for 285 yards, USC dropped from first to third nationally in pass defense (149.1 yards a game). After being known as having best pass defense in the nation, the torch is passed to Clemson. It did not help that the Gamecocks were without three of their top defensive backs at the end of Saturday’s game. Starting cornerback Carlos Thomas (neck) and reserve safety Stoney Woodson (hamstring) did not play. Starting safety Darian Stewart (knee) left after breaking up a Hail Mary pass on the next-to-last snap.

The Gamecocks now trail Clemson (135.2) and LSU (149.0).

USC vs. UT game to be on ESPN

Announced today in the news outlets is that The University of South Carolina's game in Knoxville against Tennessee on Oct. 27 will kickoff at 7:45 p.m. and be televised by ESPN.

It will be USC's third game this year on ESPN.

UT leads the series 20-3-2, including a 12-1 mark at Neyland Stadium. But the Gamecocks beat UT 16-15 on Oct. 29, 2005, in their last trip to Knoxville.

I am glad that we will be playing the game at night b/c it seems our team does better on the field at night rather than day games.

Oh - This weeks ESPN College GameDay will be live from Lexington, KY as the #7 Kentucky Wildcats host the #15 Florida Gators.....I like UK's chances going into this game and a UF loss would help USC's chances but then that leaves UK with one loss....hmmmmm.....thoughts?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

BCS Observations

The first BCS standings came out this week. The top 15 are as follows:

1. Ohio State
2. South Florida
3. Boston College
4. LSU
5. Oklahoma
6. South Carolina
7. Kentucky
8. Arizona State
9. West Virginia
10. Oregon
11. Virginia Tech
12. California
13. Kansas
14. Southern Cal
15. Florida

Two components of the BCS, the Coaches Poll and the Harris Poll, are public and have been widely published for weeks. The computer rankings, on the other hand, are not nearly as public. If one looks at the way the computers have the rankings, the top 15 is very different.

The Computers have the rankings as follows (omitting the highest and lowest ranking for each team of course):

1. South Florida 1.000
2. LSU .9300
3. South Carolina .8600
4. Kentucky .8500
t5. Ohio State .8300
t5. Arizona State .8300
t7. Kansas .6600
t7. Virginia Tech .6600
9. West Virginia .6400
10. Oklahoma .5500
11. Auburn .5300
12. Oregon .5000
t13. California .4800
t13. Virginia .4800
15. Missouri .4300

Where's Southern Cal? 22. at .0900

South Florida is #1 in at least 7 of the 8 computer polls. Pretty good for a team that was thought to be an also-ran in the Big East at the beginning of the year.

The SEC has spots 2-4 in the computers. Perhaps their reputation as the best conference is not simply media hype.

The Conferences break down this way SEC: 4; Pac-10: 3; the rest 2 each.

If the two human polls are taken as representative of reputation, preseason predictions and hype and the computer polls are taken as indicative of numbers, then who of the BCS top 15 is benefiting from reputation, preseason prediction, and hype and who is being hurt the most?


1. Southern Cal +.5736
2. Oklahoma +.31845
3. Florida +.1878
4. California +.17995


1. Kentucky -.25005
2. Arizona State -.2203
3. Kansas -.21445
4. South Carolina -.1752

Thus, Southern Cal and Oklahoma are way overrated in the polls. Kentucky, Arizona State, and Kansas are way underrated.

Why are these teams overrated or underrated? Another way to look at it might be why are some teams getting so much credit in the polls and not from the computers? It could be bias; it could be reputation; it could be hype; it could be ignorance. I think it is something much simpler: the preseason poll. Take for instance the Coach's Preseason Poll. The overrated teams were ranked 1, 8, 3, 12, and 10. The underrated teams were ranked NR (1 vote), NR (1 vote), NR (0 votes), NR (90) votes.

It takes a long time to either climb the polls or to fall out of them. Too often (all the time) a team's rank in the poll is based significantly on where they were ranked last week, which was in turn based on the week before, so on and so forth until you get to preseason rankings. The preseason rankings are not based on football, but are based on the predictions of people who year in year out are proven wrong. Maybe we ought to consider no polls for at least a few weeks so that our rankings of football teams can be based, at least in part, on football.

(Numbers derived this way: In the BCS formula, each team is awarded a percentage score for their ranking in the polls. The percentage is determined by dividing the points (or votes) a team received by the total points possible. The number used by the BCS to represent the computer formulas is done in a similar manner, but each team's highest and lowest ranking is omitted. I simply subtracted the computer average from the poll average.)

Delenda est Clemson

Movin' On Up....

That is right big guy, show that Gamecock pride....The USC Gamecocks moved up today in both the Associated Press and the USA Today college football polls. In the AP poll, USC went up one position from No. 7 to No. 6. In the ESPN poll, the Gamecocks went from No. 12 to No. 8.

Oh and in the BCS poll...SC is #6!

BCS standings -/- POLLS

A Tell of Two Halfs

It took the hands of McKinley (above) to tip the pass of UNC that was caught at the 1 yard line to save the day and secure victory in the final seconds of the game.
Seventh-ranked University of South Carolina withstood a second-half rally and became bowl-eligible in the process Saturday with a 21-15 non-conference victory over the University of North Carolina before 61,000 fans at Kenan Stadium. Thank god for our defense which was led by E Cook and Eric Norwood, both of whom had great games.

Here are some links to some good articles about the game yesterday:

Review of the 5 Keys

Gamecocks beat the Tarheels 21 to 15 yesterday. So, what do we take away from the UNC win...just that it was a win and move on. Not the flashy win we need nor a great game. It will go down as a 'W' and at the end of the day that is all that matters, right?

Let's review the 5 keys to a win we posted here earlier:

1. Smelley must be on 'q'--- USC quarterback Chris Smelley was 17 for 26 with 172 yards passing to go with 1 INT and 3 TDs. Not a bad day but what hurt him (besides the O line performance) was a weak 2nd half. USC threw just 7 passes in the 2nd half and managed just 62 yards on 23 plays. He did have scoring passes to three different receivers, covering 3 yards to Dion Lecorn, 30 yards to McKinley and 12 yards to Jared Cook. I give him and the offense a 'C+.'

2. SC Special Teams --- Gamecocks missed a crucial FG towards the end that could have "saved the drama for your mommy," but they did hold UNC KR Tate to just 60 yards total on KRs and 6 yards on PRs. The one highlight was the hit SC's Cody Wells put on UNC KR Tate. It knocked Tate out for the game and made for a good replay. I have to give them a 'C' also.

3. SC Defense must continue the trend --- Heck of a game was played in the 1st half - they shut down UNC but the second half was a different ball game. USC gave up 286 yards in the 2nd half to 112 yards in the 1st half. UNC passed for 221 yards of its 286 yards in the 2nd half. The 2nd half the defense looked lost at times (I know they had a ton of injuries) but at least the D stood tall at the end of the game to knock down 2 hail mary try's. I give this key a "B-" only b/c the defense won the game for us at the end.

4. Boyd / Davis must run run run --- Boyd had 95 yards rushing and Mike Davis had 28 yards. Mike Davis has a fumble but again in the second half the entire offense was poor. These two could not find running room so I have to give this key a "C" rating b/c they played well for the first 30 mins.

5. Gamecock TE play --- Saunders/Cook/Boyd did good things. Andy Boyd was forced out of the game with a injury but Cook played nicely when given a chance (which was only in the 1st half). Cook had 3 rec for 55 yards and a TD. So I give them a "C+" here due to the fact that again in the 1st half it was clicking but in the 2nd it was not there.

It was not a stellar performance but the 1st half was enough (barely) to win...thoughts?