Thursday, August 17, 2006

For reading at work.....

After searching the internet for articles to read on College Football and to alleviate the "itch" that the General caused in his first post on SC football. (I do not know about you but I am looking forward to this upcoming season not only for SC football but for the sport in general.)

So here are some articles that are worthy of a quick read and to kill some time at work today.

I ran across two on that are good. The first can be found here, it discusses a debate that always comes up NFL vs. College football. So readership which do you prefer and why?

Second article can be found here, it discusses the "New Rules for College Football Fans" for 2006. Pretty funny article but some of the points raised remind me of some SC fans. Any new rules ya'll wish to add concerning college football?

Who are the "Sleepers" this year??? Read it here. And look at number three!

Looking for an analysis of the SEC, here is a good breakdown. And for the ACC fans, read more here.

So out of the "contenders" that the national media are watching and predicting to battle it out for the championship this year....who do you guys think will win it all?? List goes like this (depending on who you talk with) Notre Dame, USC, LSU, Auburn, West Virginia, Ohio State, Texas, California, Florida State, TCU, Louisville, Oklahoma. So who will it be???

So let's hear some comments....

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The problem with working with people?

I am usually pretty easy to get along with, but some times people just piss me off. Usually while driving, but that is a different blog. First of all, if you can’t park you car, just leave it running and let a homeless black man steal it. It would be a lot easier for all of us, instead of sitting in the parking garage at 7:55 waiting for you to back your mini-Van into a compact car spot.

2nd- If I make small talk with you in the elevator, act like you care for the 30 second ride to your floor. There is no music to cover up the dead silence so it is better to speak. Example yesterday, I step onto the elevator and Chris the IT guy is standing there.

Me: What is going on?
Chris: No much
Me: how did you break your arm?
Chris: I don’t know what you are talking about
ME: I guess you are just getting ready for football season ( big Clemson fan-orange cast on his arm)
Chris: What are you talking about?

Doors open on our floor, I say under my breath, Jack ass

Chris: I broke my figure, it that what you wanted to know.

That is all you had to say.

So this starts me into a downward spiral of sending hate all over the office, HR lady calls me a tells me that corporate HR has turned down my application for education reimbursement due to the face my receipt looks like a fake. I let Maria who barely speaks English have it on the phone for about 10 minutes. I gave her an ear full about Hispanics working in HR, should be able to speak English to SC having the highest rise in Hispanic population since 2000.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The long awaited South Carolina football preview

This preview will be a three part series focusing on offense, defense, and schedule analysis in turn. Here, first is the offensive preview.

You can’t talk about South Carolina’s offense without talking about Steve Spurrier. The hallmark of previous Spurrier offenses at Florida and Duke has always been scoring, and lots of it. Spurrier directed offenses routinely posted 50+ points in an outing and have been known to put up excess of 60 and even 70.

That being said, little of this kind of offensive genius was seen last season. The offense averaged 23.7 points a game, hardly evidence of an offensive juggernaut. This is not to say that Spurrier has lost something; rather, much of the blame for such a low output can be explained by players learning a completely new offense. With another spring and summer practice under their belt expectations are rightfully higher for the coming season. That the Spurrier offense can be wildly successful has been repeatedly proven with different players and different teams. Assume that Spurrier will have a winning game plan every time out. The success of the offense will depend largely on the performance of the players themselves, predicated on their ability assimilate, understand, and execute what they are being taught.

Wide Receiver

As a whole the receiving corps should be a strength of the gamecock offense. Everyone knows about Sidney Rice. The redshirt sophomore caught 70 passes for 1143 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. He is pre-season all-everything. The only thing that can derail Sidney is Sidney. Often caught up in the hype, tremendous freshman seasons are followed up by sophomore slumps. That being said, Sidney has worked hard in the off-season and appears to be just as good as last year if summer practice is any indication. Expect Sidney to draw more double teams, more safeties over the top and more bump and run coverages. Though he has the ability to overcome the increased attention, numbers like last year will be difficult to come by.

Overshadowed by Rice is the rest of a very capable receiving corps. Number 11 Kenny McKinley has proven to be an able receiver and a legitimate deep threat. After starting only six games, McKinley caught 25 passes for 291 yards and a touchdown. A high school quarterback, McKinley combines good athletic ability with an innate knowledge of how to get open. His continued improvement on last year’s performance will make ignoring him in favor of double coverage of Rice, a dangerous proposition.

South Carolina fans will see familiar number 10 on the field, but it will not be the miraculous return of Ko Simpson. Wearing the number this year is Noah Whiteside, who is rumored to have lost number one for his off-season work ethic. Whiteside has been an enigma to many since his arrival in Columbia. He appears to have all of the tools necessary to be a big-time receiver, but never seems to become a consistent playmaker despite flashes of excellence. Improvement by Whiteside could make the receiving corps incredibly potent against opposing defenses.

Tight ends Andy Boyd and Jared Cook should provide a useful outlet for gamecock quarterbacks. Boyd, the more experienced of the two, is a solid blocker who has been hampered by injuries. Jared Cook appears to be the more athletically gifted. After an impressive spring game, Cook may challenge for time early and could be another useful weapon for the offense.

Other receivers of note include O.J. Murdock and Mike West. Murdock, the highly touted recruit, is a fast and talented receiver. He may work his way into the receiving rotation and could ably fill in should an injury cut down any of the starters. Mike West, the converted linebacker, is one of the fastest players on the team. That being said, early indications from practice suggest that he has been trouble with, well, catching. Think of stonehands from necessary roughness.

Running Back

Running back is a deep position for the Gamecocks. After an impressive freshman season Mike Davis returns as the projected starter. His freshman season in which he rushed for 666 yards and 5 touchdowns on 146 carries was most notable for his continued improvement. Davis appeared to become a smarter running back each game. Taking what was given to him rather than trying to create something that wasn’t there helped Davis and the offense improve. If he continues to improve Davis will be something special in the near future.

Splitting time with Davis will be Cory Boyd. Returning from a 1 year suspension Boyd appears to be picking up where he left off. An explosive back, Boyd can create match up problems for any defense because he is such an able receiver. His presence gives the gamecocks a potent one-two punch.

Sophomore Bobby Wallace, a small, speedy back, waits in the wings to prove himself. Moderately successful by freshman standards, Wallace’s speed could be his ticket to the field. It will still be difficult for him to find playing time behind Boyd and Davis.


The key to a successful Spurrier offense has always been a capable quarterback who can quickly and correctly read defenses and audible. The quarterback doesn’t have to be the most athletically gifted or a Heisman trophy contender (though they often are because of the gaudy numbers the offense produces). Really what is needed is a competent passer who minimizes mistakes (Think Phil Petty).

Blake Mitchell returns as the likely starter. A gifted quarterback from LaGrange, Georgia, Mitchell appeared to be growing into the Spurrier quarterback mold at the end of last season. That being said, late in the season he often zeroed in on Sidney Rice instead of properly using his progression. Given Rice’s ability, the tendency was understandable; however, if Mitchell is to emerge as a leading quarterback in the conference (and de facto in the nation) he must continue to learn to use his progression and avoid forcing passes – no matter how great the receiver.

Mitchell is technically a solid quarterback. His release is not unbelievably fast, but it is adequate. In early practices he continues to exhibit ‘happy feet’ – a tendency to shuffle one’s feet after having set up for the pass. He has relatively good touch when it is needed and doesn’t have many problems with the ball floating on him when it shouldn’t. If he can continue to fine tune his skills, Mitchell should lead the offense to high scoring outputs.

The back-ups are for the most part capable quarterbacks who will have to wait their turns. Freshman Chris Smelley has begun to impress in fall practices. He appears to be a remarkably polished quarterback for such a young age. He will certainly compete for the back-up job. His biggest weakness is unfamiliarity with the offense. Tommy Beecher and Cade Thompson will also be in the mix.

Offensive Line

Offensive Line is by far the most difficult area to forecast. There are no reliable statistics to show how an individual lineman is doing – grading out is an arbitrary and misleading measure. A unit can be judged based on rushing yards gained, sacks allowed, etc. If that was the factor in deciding how this year’s line would do, the news would be bad. Last year too many sacks were given up, too little time was given to the quarterbacks, and too few holes were opened for far too short a time.

Those things aside, there is reason to be optimistic about the line. In the off season they were the hardest working position according to all reports. Recent recruiting has brought in much larger (and hopefully stronger) players to pave the way. Those players that are here have another year of experience, for better or for worse.

Experience, size and strength are really the only reliable factors to use in talking about how a line will perform. Those factors could mean anything, or they could mean nothing. For what it’s worth the line has enough experience and size. If they are as dedicated as summer reports lead most to believe, they could improve on last year’s performance.

Do not confuse the unreliability of predicting an offensive line’s performance with the importance of the line. As talented as the skill positions are (and they are quite talented) they will each and everyone be rendered moot without adequate play from the line. The line need not be great or even blow people off the ball, but they must create some holes and give some protection if this offense is to succeed.

X-Factor Syvelle Newton

Syvelle Newton returns from a torn Achilles tendon injury. Reports indicate he has recovered well and will be ready to go at the start of the season. Where he will play is a bigger question. He is suited to play as both a running back and receiver. Both of those positions are strengths of team, and because of that there has been talk of moving Syvelle to safety. That talk appears to have dissipated.

Syvelle is a capable ball catcher and elusive running back. In all likelihood he will see time at both positions. Should any injuries occur (and they most always do) he can fill in. Look for him to be utilized in special situations, in special plays or as part of the receiving rotation. Wherever he is, he will be an asset to the position and an impact player on the field.

A little Oil Education and the DOER....

LOHD Education Time - On June 29th 2006, the House of Representatives passed the Deep Ocean Energy Resources (DOER) act. The legislation is now in the news and the mudslinging has begun. Conservative organizations and media like the Washington Times are pushing the main agenda, which is to open up areas of the US Outer Continental Shelf to oil & natural gas E&P.

The nearer the oil is to the surface, and the easier it flows through the formation containing it, the cheaper it is to extract. The larger and thicker the formation that contains the oil, the longer that reservoir will produce and thus the more profitable it will be. The largest such reservoir in the world is Ghawar in Saudi Arabia. It is an enormous field, the crown jewel in earth's energy treasure chest. Ghawar has produced several million barrels of oil a day for fifty years. It will continue to produce significantly for many years to come. But there are signs Ghawar may be at or near peak production. (Depends on who you ask?)

If reservoir managers do their job right, maximum production from a given field tends to come when half the recoverable oil is extracted. From that point on, production will irreversibly decline. Much of the world's oil today comes from a dozen or so large mega-fields each of which produces well over a million bbl/day. Total global oil consumption is over 80 million bbl/day and the US uses about 20 million of those barrels.

The problem is not that we're running out of oil. What we're facing is a price squeeze as a result of global demand outstripping global supply combined with the looming threat of a global production decline. There is no spare capacity in the system. That means that any disruption in supply, or any increase in demand, will produce more price pressure (i.e wars, hurricanes). All these large fields are past, at, or near peak production. Just the threat of a disruption is enough to send the price soaring in the commodities market. And one thing we can be reasonably sure of: there are no undiscovered Ghawars, because we would have found them by now.

Because the price of a barrel of oil has increased so dramatically in the last few years, energy companies now have incentive to develop smaller wells which require more upfront investment and have much shorter production lives. That takes capital. Perhaps that's why some large energy companies have begun to divest themselves of natural gas and other, non-petroleum, energy businesses.

To replace the several million barrels of oil a day that may soon be missing from world production, as we slide down the massive production peak, means we'd need to find, drill, and began production from hundreds or even thousands of much smaller wells just to stay even--that doesn't even take growth in world demand into account. It's questionable if enough small pockets of oil exist off the US coast to reverse the coming peak oil decline. What pockets of oil are offshore, will likely only make sense to fully develop when oil rises even higher in cost.

There are large reservoirs of oil that remain untapped, but they're untapped for a reason. The Orinoco Tar Belts in Venezuela are estimated to contain almost two-trillion barrels of oil. Sounds pretty good, until we add on the fact that this oil is far too deep to mine and way to viscous to drill and pump. Based on what we know now, the DOER might take a penny or two off the price of gas five to ten years down the road--if that.

While the DOER will probably do little to relieve gas prices for everyday consumers, it certainly won't hurt. There's plenty of money for energy companies to make from these smaller fields, many jobs for Americans, and any new field, no matter how small, reduces our dependence on foreign oil.

The immediate concerns are primarily environmental ones and we're not talking about ANWR or polar bears here. The DOER could adversely affect some of the most expensive real estate in the US. When and if the new legislation is enacted into law, it will open new energy opportunities up and down the East Coast and around the Florida peninsula. And the only protection for coastal residents and local ecosystems will be the 'watchful' eye of whatever oversight and regulatory orgs the neocons haven't yet bled completely dry on the lucrative alter of the oil industry lobby.

Did I mention Cuba has its' eyes on this resource in the Gulf, because they know of the positives associated with tapping this reserve. So what is the nation to do??? Go along with DOER or continue to suffer the prices of oil....leave some comments!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Seems the list just got longer....

The list as many of us know it goes like this.....things guaranteed in life---- "death and taxes."

Well, I would like to add one to the list and that is high gas prices. Seems the days of gas under a dollar are long gone or heck, just last year it was around 2 bucks. I can remember gas for 75 cents (I know I am old) and we all know the stories from our parents about the price of gas. Now we are around 3 dollars (today set record high at $3.03 nation wide average) and no relief in sight not to mention a weak pipeline up in polar bear country. So let's all get use to those high gases prices and "take one for the team."

OR until the American public causes enough outrage to force the automobile companies to change the way they do business. I will say the gasoline powered engine is a wonderful invention and helped the US soar in the 20th century. But this is the 21st century and it is now time to re-think our policies. Maybe allow off-shore drilling in the US or drill in Alaska and for god's sake loosen the regulations for oil refineries. Do you realize there has not been a refinery built in the US in 30 years???? So when the Gulf gets hit again by a hurricane look out (again)....But it is time to look at alternative fuels like wind, solar, corps, E85 fuels and many others. Time for SC to step to the plate, we have a good thing going here with hydrogen and fuel cell research (thanks to USC and Clemson)......keep pumping money until these programs.

I ran across a good sight for those interested, find it here. Any other additions to the list?
Stay tuned....