Sunday, September 30, 2007

Kentucky Week...

The Record
4-1 (1-0 SEC East, 2-1 SEC), #11 AP Poll/#18 USAToday Coaches' Poll
Winning the type of game that Tommy Bowden always loses, Steve Spurrier guides the Gamecocks to what he calls “one of the best overall games, maybe the best, we've had in the three years I've been here.”

The Previous Week
Beat Mississippi State 38-21 in Columbia
Smelley looked sharp on an early drive as USC took a 7-0 lead, much to the delight of the disturbingly-sparse home crowd. It didn’t take the Gamecocks long to assert themselves in this one—announcing to the world that this year’s team is for real. Unfortunately, it didn’t take Mississippi State long to come right back—announcing to the world that this year’s Bulldog squad isn’t going to roll over.

After those 1st quarter salvos, things swung back-and-forth, with USC strolling into halftime with a thin 17-14 lead. Things were looking OK, but not nearly consistent enough to finish off Sylvester Croom’s much-improved Bulldogs. Halfway through, this one was still a toss-up. Surely the Gamecocks would come out clicking and clacking to start the second half—proving they were worthy of their #16 ranking.

But early into the second half, things were looking shakier that before. After a couple of seriously rough USC series, MSU took a 21-17 lead. Smelley was all over the place, we were piling up the penalties, and even our pimp kicker, Ryan Succop, missed a field goal.

Then, with the block of a punt, everything changed. After a couple of near-misses last week, we had finally blocked a kick, and Shane Beamer had earned his paycheck. Under his guidance, the special teams have steadily improved every week. And now that we’ve tasted some of that Beamer Ball magic, our opponents will be on-notice. Don’t let your guard down, or you’ll be on the ass end of a Pontiac Game-Changing Performance.

From that point on…it was over. We got touchdowns. The crowd was into it. And the defense was stifling. Coach Spurrier finally had his complete game.

The Upcoming Week
Thursday versus Kentucky in Columbia
While the Gamecocks have been compiling an admirable 4-1 start, the Kentucky Wildcats have attracted even more national acclaim—running out to a 5-0 record and a #8 national ranking.

Who saw this coming? Seriously? ESPN is probably crapping their pants as a #8 vs. #11 showdown got dropped in their laps…on a Thursday night. While it was not a stretch a month ago to call this one an important game, did anyone really think the game would take on an importance of this magnitude?

Every Gamecock who walked out of Commonwealth Stadium last year knew that we had barely survived. A game that we all thought had been in hand had suddenly turned dangerous, as Kentucky roared back and took a Hail Mary shot at the end for a win. Spurrier was pissed—infamously calling out Ron Cooper for an explanation on what happened. But as the season went on, Kentucky continued to win (including a hilarious victory over Clemson in the Music City Bowl). And by the end of the season, no one could deny that Rich Brooks had done the unthinkable and had started to build a legitimate program at Kentucky.

Which brings us to Thursday. The winner will take control of the SEC East, with Florida heading into a chainsaw down in Baton Rouge, and Georgia and Tennessee locked in a veritable elimination game in Knoxville. It’s starting to be a bit of a cliché around here, but is it not too far-fetched to call this one of the biggest games in Carolina history? The winner will be guaranteed a spot in next week’s Top 10, be in control of their own destiny, and stake their claim as “the new kid in charge” of the SEC East. The loser will go home dreaming of what might have been.

The Team
It wasn’t always pretty, but the offense clicked more often than not, eventually racking up 38 points. Smelley now has a bona fide conference victory under his belt and the confidence of his teammates. Boyd and Davis are continuing to successfully mix it up on the ground, something we will need to do with authority this week against Kentucky’s suspect rushing defense.

The defense stepped-up with the loss of Jasper Brinkley and finally kept an opponent’s rushing attack in check. At the same time, our passing defense moved up one spot in the rankings…to #1 in the country. But all of that means nothing as they face their first real test of the season in the high-flying Wildcats.

And the special teams…all of a sudden, they are truly special. For the first time in…who knows how long…maybe forever…I feel confident that we can make a game-changing play on special teams.

The Gamecock Nation
For years, we’ve been spoon-fed laudations about how we are the greatest fans in the country. And while we’ve been enjoying the praise, we’ve gotten fat and lazy. I’ve been to every Carolina home game since 1996, and its hard not to notice a trend. During the meat of the Lou Holtz years, The W-B was packed out, even for most of the crap games. But now, even though we’re a much better team, our stadium is noticeably emptier for our non-marquee games.

Well finally, someone has lashed out…that someone being Steve Spurrier. This morning on his weekly coach’s show, he launched a salvo at our fans, challenging them to attend every game…even the pedestrian ones like Mississippi State. It’s shameful that our fans have become so pansy-assed that they need their head coach to beg for them to come to games.

What the hell has happened to our so-called “loyal” fans? Hell, you can’t even call them fair-weather fans, because it was fucking gorgeous in Columbia on Saturday, and they STILL weren’t there. When you’re more concerned about the traffic on Bluff Road than the tackling on the field, you need to re-evaluate your priorities and roll-over your dead-weight season tickets to any one of the thousands of fans who would love to have your seats.

So if you can’t, for whatever pathetic reason, make it up to Columbia this Thursday, please, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, give your tickets to someone who will.

Dear Urban Meyer, Tim Tebow, et al...

Karma is a bitch.

Ryan Succop

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Clemson/Georgia Tech...a disaster waiting to happen

On a roll and rising fast in the polls, Clemson is a team gaining heat on the national scene. Off to a 4-0 start against some unquestionably super-awesome competition, the Tigers look like they just might be the best team in the ACC. Which is kind of like saying Ricky Martin is the best member of Menudo.

Georgia Tech is heading into a tailspin...hard and fast. Looking good at 2-0, they've tanked the last two against an admittedly good BC team and...Virginia? Really? Virginia? Things are not looking good down at GT, and I'm not just talking about the coeds.

To most people, this would sound like a mismatch. But to people who know the history of this series...and especially the history of Tommy sounds like it's the perfect time for Clemson to shit their pants.

After more than eight years in Tigertown, Tommy's legacy is already etched in stone. Sure, he can win some big games, pull off a few upsets, but he will always, ALWAYS, drop a total turd at some point during the season. Wake, Duke, Wake doesn't matter. Just when things start to look rosy, a land mine of crap will explode all over their faces, sending the locals into hysterics. The fans will question all they hold dear, until Tommy rises from the dead, again delivering an upset victory. Then another moment of incontinence, then another monumental victory...and so on.

Well friends, it's time for Tommy to drop another Howard's Rock-sized deuce into the laps of the Tiger faithful.

But you never know; it might not be this week. Tommy strung the delusional Tigers along all the way to an 8-0 record in 2000 before they home...leading to these wonderful Georgia Tech. But even if they get past the Yellow Jackets this time, the flaming bag of poo is still out there. Whether it be GT, Maryland, Duke, or's coming. Have your Depends ready, Clemson fans. Because you know you can feel it coming...and when it're gonna need a new O-ring.

(Photos courtesy the fine folks at The Hive)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

#95–#91 of...

Since some people are still hungover from the LSU game, let's use this humpday to make a clean break. Forget about football for one night and get some culture. But before you head to Blockbuster, take a gander at these questionable classics in our continuing Top 100 countdown.

#95 - Moulin Rouge! (2001)
This movie is on crack. I’m not kidding…it should come with its own epilepsy warning. Within the first batshit crazy 15 minutes, you already know whether you’re going to love it or hate it—and I love every single absinthe-soaked second of it. While I’m hardly a romantic soul, this movie is SO stupidly romantic, SO wrapped up in its own insanity, you just can’t peel your eyes away. might just think it's the most horrifying thing you've ever seen.

#94 - Full Metal Jacket (1987)
There are “training is hell” movies and there are “war is hell” movies. This one is both. Like two sides of the same record, each half has its own vibe while working together toward the same Kubrickian goal. Unfortunately, Jacket tends to get lost in the Kubrick shuffle when compared to his earlier stuff. Sure, it spawned a romantic 2 Live Crew ode to horniness and created a cottage "Hey, it's that Marine guy" industry for R. Lee Ermey, but it deserves to be remembered for a lot more than that. Me love you long time.

#93 - Fantasia (1940)
Only Mickey Mouse could get little kids to sit still and listen to classical music for two hours. In this age of Shreks where every animated movie is over-stuffed with endless (and soon-to-be-dated) pop culture references, it’s refreshing to some good old pure, timeless animation. It’s a shame there’s not much of an audience for a movie like this today...not enough Starbucks jokes.

#92 - Miller’s Crossing (1990)
Probably the Coens' best, but still one of their least seen. It’s without a doubt right up there in the pantheon of gangster flicks. Absolutely classic is the wacky, hyper-violent “musical number/assassination action sequence” involving Albert Finney, a tommy gun, and some assassins—all set to the song “Danny Boy.” Just think The Godfather plus O Brother, Where Art Thou?. If you like either of those movies, you owe it to yourself to see this one.

#91 - Clerks (1994)
An inspiration to anyone who has ever worked behind a counter and dealt with the stupidity of the average customer. This is the movie that started the six-movie cult “Jay and Silent Bob” franchise. And that’s not even including their epic appearance in Scream 3. This tiny little movie’s impact was huge—helping to put indie movies on the map. Great soundtrack, too.

The rest of the countdown so far...

Cocks beware...exceptionaly clever MSU fans will pumble you with their smack

Normally, I wouldn't take a shot at a kid...for fear of being berated by Mike Gundy. But this picture, taken during last year's College World Series, deserves comment.

Here we have a young State fan that was clearly just set up for failure. Allowed to craft this sign by his dictionary-deficient parents—and a proud product of our country's 48th Smartest State—little Billy Bulldog never had a chance. So give a wide grammatical berth to MSU fans this weekend in The W-B, lest you be pumbled.

(Photo courtesy of a reader at the awesome With Leather)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

This lapdance needs more cowbell

Straight from Starkghanistan, I bring you some of Mississippi State's finest. As an exotic dancer, this young Bulldog's form leaves a lot to be desired. But I think I see some offensive line potential here. Look at the perfect stance, the lateral movement, the ability to get low to the ground...someone get Coach Croom on the phone, ASAP.

Oh, and get me a barf bag while you're at it.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Mississippi State Week...

The Record
3-1 (1-0 SEC East, 1-1 SEC), #16 AP Poll/#21 USAToday Coaches' Poll
Losing is never good. But when you lose and then only drop four spots, you must be doing something right.

The Previous Week
Lost to LSU 28-16 in Baton Rouge
We all learned a tough lesson from SOS after the Auburn game last year…don’t cheer for your team when they lose. So I wasn’t cheering in celebration last Saturday night, but walking back to our car from Death Valley, I couldn’t help but feel pretty good about the whole experience. Considering the 48-7 depantsing Virginia Tech got down there a few weeks ago, our Gamecocks came out looking practically victorious. I’m not sure whether that says more about how hilariously awful the ACC is or how much progress USC has made in becoming competitive against any SEC team anywhere. Losing by only 12 in the brutally oppressive home stadium of the nation’s best team appears downright courageous compared to what most people thought might happen.

But you could turn that score inside and out still not figure out quite what it means, though. I’ll be the first to admit that it FELT like we lost by more than that. But upon closer inspection, one LSU touchdown was on special teams, and another was surrendered on a short field after a turnover. I expected big things out of our defense, but they surpassed even those expectations by really only giving up two honest-to-goodness scoring drives against the Bayou Bengals.

The offense is another story. Unable to find a running game against the LSU defense (I can’t wait to see what they do to Tebow), we turned to the air…and eventually to Chris Smelley. It’s not that Blake was horrible, it’s just that he wasn’t getting things done. When you quarterback for Steve Spurrier, you are expected to get your team into the end zone…period. When you don’t, it’s time to find someone who can. Smelley turned out to be that guy. He wasn’t stellar either, but he got us going in the 4th quarter, making things a lot more respectable.

The Upcoming Week
Saturday versus Mississippi State in Columbia
The Chris Smelley Experience gets underway for real this Saturday. The team is now his. Screw it up, and we’re back to Mitchell. Yep, we’ve got ourselves a Steve Spurrier Quarterback Controversy™! SOS has jerked around QBs to great success, so it should be fun to see what the competition evolves into this Saturday.

But how about that opponent…Mississippi State? 3-1 and playing with a lot more spunk than last year’s team, the Bulldogs are not a team to be overlooked. By beating Auburn, they announced to the rest of the SEC that they are genuinely up for a fight. Honestly they’re the perfect competition for us this weekend. If Smelley were to go nuts against Southwest Dingleberry State, what could we seriously take from it? Mississippi State is a good team that is certainly capable of beating us, so a win on Saturday would be a win well deserved…regardless of whoever is leading the charge.

The Team
A 12-point loss at LSU should not hurt our team’s morale in the slightest. This was, by far, the most daunting game on our schedule. And to perform that admirably, they should believe they can beat anyone.

But for the Gamecocks to make it to Atlanta, we’re going to have to overcome a lot more than our own insecurities. This afternoon, news came from the team that Jasper Brinkley is now done for the season. The linchpin for our highly-ranked defense, Jasper was without a doubt the straight-up nastiest Gamecock to take the field in years. And in a defense whose only one true weakness is run defense, losing a future NFL first round linebacker is even more of a kick to the gut. Who will step up? Ingram? Shackleford? This is a crippling blow that must be overcome before Kentucky’s pinball machine offense comes into town for next week’s monster matchup.

The Gamecock Nation
When you’re in the hunt for conference championships, moral victories just aren’t going to cut it. But even with the defeat in Death Valley and the loss of Brinkley, we still have every reason to be confident that this team can be special. Is that a moral victory? Maybe, but if my belief in this team is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

Looking ahead, it’s hard not to salivate over a 7-1 record and Top 10 ranking heading into Knoxville. It’s right there on the schedule just waiting to be taken. A Top 15 showdown with Kentucky next Thursday looms as a huge roadblock to that dream, but beat MSU this week and we could be in for something epic.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Reauxd Trip!

Every five years, Gamecock fans are handed a gift of a road trip. Other SEC West trips may roll on and off the schedule—ranging from the dreadful (Starkghanistan) to the nearly impossible to get to (Fayetteville). But every five years, shining like a bourbon-infused beacon, is Baton Rouge.

Just a hop-skip-and-a-jump over the bayou from New Orleans (we’ll get back to that in a minute), Baton Rouge takes the cauldron of excitement that is college football, and adds a whole bucket of Cajun crazy. As a visiting fan, you will endure endless “Tiger Bait!” taunting…and you will like it! Respond to these taunts with a laugh and you will probably be rewarded in return with free beer and free food. Don’t worry if you can’t pronounce what they give you…and certainly don’t ask what’s in it. Just eat it; it’s good.

After our last trip to LSU, many Carolina fans returned with tales of verbal and physical abuse. We saw no such thing. I’m not denying that it happened, I’m just saying that if you go into that inferno with thin skin…you’re probably asking to be hurt in some way. Suck it up and enjoy the abuse. Coonass love is tough love.

While you’re there, you need to walk around the campus, hit the bookstore, and then walk over the Parade Grounds towards downtown. There you will find The Chimes…a great bar/restaurant where you can down a few before or after the game. When we were there last time, people were lubing up for the night game while taking in the feeble JP 12:30 game on TV. This year, the day game kind of cuts down on the pre-game festivities, so maybe you should swing by after the game. Just don’t taunt them too abusively after our win.

Before you head into the stadium, you have to check out the $3 million Tiger habitat. The beloved Mike V kicked the bucket earlier this year, so be on the lookout for the brand new Mike VI. He may look cute, but he would not hesitate for a second to go all Siegfried & Roy on your ass. This Saturday’s game also just so happens to be Mike VI’s debut in Death Valley. He’s never been into the stadium before on gameday, so God knows what’s going to happen. When you bring a flesh-eating beast into your stadium, you are asking for bloodshed. Sir Big Spur might peck at your finger, Uga might shit on your carpet, and Ralphie might trample you if you get in his way, but Mike VI is clearly the only live mascot in America that would jump at the chance to disembowel you and happily much on your innards while your heart is still beating.


Once you’re inside the stadium, expect it to be loud. If you’ve been to The Swamp, you’ll know what you’re in for…very similar. Pray that your team keeps things under control, because if the LSU fans sense blood, they’ll ratchet up the sound, the Tigers will respond, and things could get ugly in a hurry. Any Gamecocks who survived the trip in 2002 will remember the disastrous third quarter when everything fell apart. To this day, I still swear that something happened to our team in the lockerroom. I don’t know if that infamous Cajun Magic is to blame, but we walked out at halftime a different team. After that, our season—and Lou Holtz’s tenure at USC—was as good as dead.

Regardless of the outcome this time, I guarantee you will have a good time in Baton Rouge. And while you’re down there, you may want to swing by a little town called New Orleans. I hear they may have a few good bars there, so my crew will be checking it out Thursday night, Friday night, and maybe even Saturday night. See you there...laissez les bons temps rouler!

And Go Cocks.

Pat O'Briens and the Goblet of Fire

Monday, September 17, 2007

Gameday to Sabanation...Corso admires the view

Prepare for the full intra-rectal Saban rimjob from ESPN this week.

Should we start feeling sorry for Jimmy Clausen?

Nah. Another year, another "Yakety Sax" Notre Dame highlight reel from MGoBlog.

Remember that brief moment in time when Charlie Weis was mentioned to replace Lou Holtz? I shudder to think.

LSU Week...

The Record
3-0 (1-0 SEC East, 1-0 SEC), #12 AP Poll/#14 USAToday Coaches' Poll
#12? Really? #12? The 12th best team in the nation? The same University of South Carolina Gamecocks who played in Williams-Brice Stadium Saturday night? There are only 11 teams better than us? #12? This is gonna be a looooong week…

The Previous Week
Beat SC State 38-3 in Columbia
"I wasn't throwing the ball as well I can," Mitchell said. "I just played like crap really." You don’t say? When you set out to be a “Steve Spurrier Quarterback,” please try to be a little more Wuerffel, a little less Grossman. Blake was chucking the pigskin all over the field like Quincy Carter, but mercifully directing most of the giveaways deep downfield. However, when a team turns the ball over 5 times and still wins by 35, something had to be going right. The running game was unstoppable, chewing up chunks of yardage and moving us steadily down the field. The defense was incredible again, smothering the hapless SC State offense and getting the ball back to our manic-depressive offense early and often.

The Upcoming Week
Saturday versus LSU in Baton Rouge
They’ve been called the best team in the SEC, and possibly the country. They’ve also been called a gorilla with a chainsaw for a dick. But this week we’re calling them gracious hosts. After a long Friday night in New Orleans (see you at Patty O’s, Blake!), it’s off to Baton Rouge for a relatively early 3:30 game. As a fan, it sucks to miss out on a night game in Death Valley, but it’s gotta help our chances of winning. Since 1960, LSU is 202-59-3 at home in night games and only 19-22-3 in day games. We’ll take any advantage we can get.

The Team
Go ahead and laugh at our ranking and crack on our quarterbacks, but I really don’t care…we’re 3-0. No matter how rough we may have looked so far, we’re still putting together what might become one of our best seasons ever. This team is starting to take on the identity of one of those teams that runs the ball, plays great defense, and just manages to win. It may look ugly, but we’re dragging you down with us. It worked for Ohio State in 2002.

The Gamecock Nation
Is this the biggest game in USC history? It could be. If we win, we would vault into the top 10 and have realistic shot at being 8-0 heading in to Knoxville. But if we lose…what do we lose? Get blown out and it could be a very short stay in the rankings, but keep it respectable and we could hang around in the top 20. Hell, look at what LSU did to VT and the Hokies are already back up at #17. What’s the shame in losing at the #2 team in the country?

But why talk about losing when we can win this sucker? It’s not that far-fetched. As fans, we need to look at this game with confidence. Even if you’re not confident we’re going to win, you need to be confident that we can win. Don’t take too much away from the laughable SC State game. We were there, we were in the stadium, we saw our team stumble into a 35-point win. But let’s keep it on the downlow, nobody has to know.

As a program, I think we’re passed the days of getting romped on the road. This is a different USC team and we should expect a different outcome. It’s going to take a monumental effort from the Gamecocks, but this team can do it. The rest of the nation clearly didn’t watch the SC State game, because they vaulted us way into the top 15. And if that’s where they want to put us, then we should act like we belong. Starting today, the University of South Carolina Gamecocks are a top 15 program. So act like you’ve been there before…even if you haven’t.

Friday, September 14, 2007

SC State Pre-Game...

Contrary to the buzz around Gamecock Nation, we are not playing LSU this week. It's SC State, people, SC State. Focus!

The Game
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Williams-Brice Stadium
Columbia, SC

The Set-Up
Stuck between an emotional upset win in Athens and a looming opportunity of historical proportions in Baton Rouge, the SC State game sets up like a trap game if there ever was one.

The Bulldogs have been waiting 100 years to play this game…and who could blame them? It’s mind-boggling to think that we’ve never met SC State on the gridiron. Heck, we even played a boatload of games against The Citadel down in Orangeburg, yet we’ve never crossed paths with the hometown Bulldogs.

The SC State faithful will come to town ready to party. I went to an SC State/Furman game up in Paladin Stadium several years ago, and it was a raucous atmosphere…an atmosphere not frequently seen in the shadow of Paris Mountain, let me assure you. It was a culture clash for sure, but a fun time was had by all.

There’s no reason why this Saturday should be any different as we welcome our fellow South Cackalackians to Columbia. Rumors of turmoil surrounding the game are disappointing, and frankly, a little embarrassing. But if you, Mr. Confederate Flag at Gameday Guy, decide that this Saturday would be a dandy time to pull out your relic banner, you honestly deserve whatever comes to you.

This is a historic meeting between two proud fanbases that are separated by a handful of miles, but not by the undying love of their schools. I look forward to kicking-off a new era of competition between the Gamecocks and Bulldogs tomorrow night at 7:00pm. Oh, and halftime…that should be fun, too.

The Deciding Factor
Talent. Skill. Speed. Honestly, there’s no way this should even be close. App State, App State, App State…yeah, I know. But SC State isn’t even close to the same level as Appy, or even Wofford, within the FCS. There is a talent gap here of epic proportions. When you’re playing with Clemson’s rejects, you know you’ve got problems.

I have a lot of respect for Buddy Pough, but he just doesn’t have the weapons to keep up in the arms race that will be going on in The W-B Saturday night.

The Final
South Carolina, 42
SC State, 14

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Learn you some movies...

You've waited 100 years for this Saturday's USC/SC State matchup, so what's two more days? And no matter how much we want to, it's not really healthy to talk about football all the time...or so I've been told. So let's take a step back from football and have ourselves a cultural breather before the weekend.

Crack open your Netflix queue and get ready to fill it up, because you're about to get yourself edumacated about some film. Here's our first weekly installment—#100-#96—of what will surely be the most definitive Top 100 movie list ever...

#100 - Starship Troopers (1997)
Gleefully retarded on the surface, this movie has a LOT more going on than it seems. You've got shiny special effects, pretty actors acting pretty poorly, and hilarious fascist propaganda. And while our heroes are off killing the bugs, you're left to ponder the deeper themes of fascism, patriotism, loyalty, bravery, unisex showers, the starship-piloting abilities of Denise Richards, and the profound creepiness of Jake Busey.

#99 - Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
Cruel, sadistic, and razor-sharp, it’s literally two hours of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton ripping each other to shreds. Kind of a direct ancestor to Closer, this movie is loaded with enough verbal and emotional abuse to shock even today’s viewers...not bad for a 40-year old movie. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll probably need a couple hours of therapy to cleanse yourself.

#98 - The Big Lebowski (1998)
One of the most quotable movies of all-time, this one is best savored with friends on multiple, multiple viewings. And a little pot wouldn't hurt, either. But it’s more than just a stupid stoner comedy. It's an absurd, stylish, and complex stupid stoner comedy...courtesy of the Coen Brothers. It's not their best…but it's definitely my favorite and without a doubt their most addictive. And proud we are of all of them.

#97 - Stagecoach (1939)
By Deadwood standards, this movie is a little dated, and surprisingly F-bomb free. But since this is the Western that started it all, I'll give it a break. I don't want to make excuses, but you just kind of have to get past the stiff acting. And the stilted dialogue. And the opressively sappy music. And the white actors as Indians. But other than that stuff. It's actually still really good, in a crappy old movie kind of way.

#96 - Scream (1996)
For good or bad, Scream single-handedly revived the horror genre. And while theaters today are littered with crappy clones, none can even come close to the cleverness of the original. Loaded with pop-culture references, self-aware dialogue, snarky characters, sight gags, and red's like Halloween meets Clueless. Of special note: the Rose McGowan garage scene.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Gamecock Gazette: USC band gets a beatdown

It's been a while, but finally here's a new Gazette. And for the record, I have nothing but love for the band.


Remember that time we beat Georgia?

Less than 60 hours after the clock hit 00:00 in Athens, this arrives in my mailbox...

Postcard front

Postcard back

Some cynics are asking why the Gamecock Club is spending money on this instead of sending our band to LSU. Others are dismissing the mailing as another plea for cash. Both sides are probably a little bit right. But, damn, if it didn't feel great to open my mailbox and see it.

We beat Georgia? Hells yeah, we did!

In the end, it probably didn't cost much at all to send it out...far less than what it would cost to send a band to Louisiana. The goodwill this thing generates is worth far more as our program ramps up and donors see their Gamecock Club $$$ turn into an upper deck on the North End Zone. And if we pull off a stunner in Baton Rouge next week, the Club can exhaust their entire yearly budget on sending each member a singing telegram, for all I care.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

FIELD TRIP: The Cocks went down to Georgia

...on an afternoon train to Georgia.

What better place to kickoff the 2007 season (no offense to Louisiana-Lafayette last week) than in what might be the epitome of "Southern Football"...Athens, Georgia. It was a beautiful, hot, sticky SEC Saturday, and the University of Georgia did not disappoint. All of the stereotypes were out in full force...the rabid rednecks, the sloppy drunks, and the uniformly-attired ladies.

Yep, it's a Georgia game.

Fun with onomatopoeia.

Scattered amongst all the tailgating were signs that we were still traipsing around a school of higher learning. Or at least a place that masqueraded as one the other six days of the week. This is, after all, the place that made a science out of meat.

Is there a Doctorate of Meatology?

Is this where they keep their large animals or their large animal trailers? Either way, it's tenaciously guarded.

After surviving the long walk to Sanford Stadium (and a gracious Bulldog tailgate that wickedly tried to subdue their enemies with free beer), we finally made it into what has been immortalized in song as...

...the Cesspool of the South.

Questions of culture aside, there is nothing quite like a game down Between the Hedges. It doesn't have the free spirit of LSU or the ear-splitting roar of The Swamp, but Georgia just oozes Southernness...for good or bad. It's just a fun place to watch a football game. Especially when your offense wastes little time in marching towards the end zone.

Penetrate, penetrate, Cocks stick it in.

A quick Cory Boyd scamper later, we were up 7-0. Little did we know, that would be the game's only touchdown. And ultimately, the deciding one.

But scoring touchdowns isn't the only problem that plagues the Bulldog nation. A quick glance at the ad boards led to a shocking discovery.

Wait a second, does that say...?

Wow...I'm impressed by Georgia's openness and willingness to address the needs and concerns of the transgendered members of the Bulldog nation.

What? Oh...I get it...SEATEXchange. Sorry, after a steady diet of alcohol it looked a little like something else.

Speaking of genitals, the Bulldogs had theirs surgically removed by the Cocks all game long. And by the end of the game, we had rolled up an ugly win...but a win nonetheless.

I caught this in the two or three seconds before they took it down.

Cocks storm the field.

We left the stadium victorious, leaving behind a UGA team that has lost five straight SEC East games. The neutered Bulldogs were left to themselves, pondering the emasculating defeat at the hands of the Cocks, and perhaps contemplating a visit to

"Mommy, the big, mean Spurrier man did it to us again."

Hollywood + NFL = Football never looked so good

I'm sure you've all seen this by now...but it's still worth a post. I love me some football and love me some movies, and this Michael Mann directed commerical is the perfect marriage of both. Last year's David Fincher commercial with Vick and T.O. was slick, but too video gamey. Mann doesn't hold back on the CG, but it all still looks real. Until the very end, that is. I can believe all that other stuff, but there ain't no way Steven Jackson is going to score on the Steelers at the goal line.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Is it too late for ABC to back out?

(Click it. It gets bigger.)

It's a trainwreck. A public execution. You don't want to watch. You can't look away. While the college football world laughs, the sad folks in South Bend and Ann Arbor will be glued to their TVs, both knowing that if their team's over. Hell, even the winner has got nothing to win. No one is coming out of this one looking good.

SC State Week...

The Record
2-0 (1-0 SEC East, 1-0 SEC), #17 AP Poll/#23 USAToday Coaches' Poll
Two wins. Zero losses. You can't ask for a better start to the 2007 season. This also marks our first appearance in the polls this season.

The Previous Week
Beat Georgia 16-12 in Athens
You know the facts...if we beat UGA, we have a good year. If we lose to UGA, we struggle to make a bowl. So go ahead and check this one off our to-do list. That's one down on our slaughterhouse road schedule for this season, with LSU, Tennessee, and Arkansas still to come. I didn't know many USC fans who were counting on a win down Between the Hedges, so I'm considering this one a steal. Either way, we won, it's in the books, and we're moving on.

The Upcoming Week
Saturday versus SC State in Columbia
SC State comes to town, bringing with them the mysterious force known as the Black College Football Experience. You and I know there is no way we should lose this game, no matter what coachspeak you hear this week. But let's not rule anything out here, lest we become Michigan. We are South Carolina, after all. Our disappointment knows no bounds.

The Team
We're in a good place right now. To say we came out of Athens with a win against #11 Georgia is an accomplishment...and we didn't even play that well. It was really only Mitchell's first game and he already seemed on track. Our running backs were tough and picked up yards when we needed them. We're still looking for some receivers to help out McKinley, but it's only a matter of time before our young WR corps gets up to game speed.

Our defense? La-La game notwithstanding, they looked pretty tough. If we keep up that same intensity we saw down in Athens, we might just have a chance in Baton Rouge in two weeks.

The Gamecock Nation
Saturday's win was probably far more monumental than just a road upset against a highly-ranked rival. It wasn't just a harbinger of a good season, it was a milestone for the entire Gamecock Football program that can be traced back to the day the Furman Paladins kicked our asses 44-0 on December 24, 1892. On that day, our program started off 0-1, and we've seemingly been playing catch-up ever since.

We are not a bad program, we a mediocre program. And a stunningly consistent one at that. For going into this season, the University of South Carolina Gamecock football program had compiled a record of 515-517-44. If you haven't done the math by now, I'll just go ahead and tell you...we are now a .500 program. It's taken years to scratch and claw back from the disastrous records of the 60s and 90s, but now we're here...back at even.

All indications point to nothing but progress from here on out. And hopefully, by about 10:00pm Saturday night, the University of South Carolina will officially be a winning football program.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

That went well

South Carolina 16, Georgia 12

Just some quick thoughts here. So we got out of Athens with a win. The Gamecocks were uninspiringly solid throughout, taking the lead early in the first quarter and never looking back. The offense wasn't pretty, but they made more than enough plays to keep a small scoring cushion over the Bulldogs. This was one of those games that the old Carolina would have slowly let bleed away. So it was especially refreshing to see our running backs take over late in the 4th quarter, gaining a couple of first downs and chewing up the clock.

But the story of the game had to be our defense. In a complete 180 from last week, we had playmakers flying to the ball from all angles. They weren't LSU-nasty, but they were surprisingly aggressive. Stafford was under duress for much of the game, throwing off target and missing receivers right and left. The luster from last week's Oklahoma State win has worn off quickly and Stafford will need to hit a couple reps of keglifts to get his arm back on track. It was a performance that was dictated entirely by our stifling defense. Kudos to Tyrone Nix for turning things around so drastically in only one week.

And it wouldn't be a Georgia game without mention of their legendarily short-tempered redneck fans. As our Head Ball Coach walked off the field at halftime with a 10-3 lead, he was met with a chorus of boos from the Bulldog faithful. So, being ever so polite, he responded with a wave. "Weren't they giving me an ovation? I didn't realize I was that important to them," Spurrier said.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Georgia Pre-Game...

Much like fellow South Carolinian Stephen Colbert, I like to think with my gut. It requires little-to-no effort, it doesn’t need to be defended by facts, and it’s not as hard on the noggin. So in that spirit, I will be presenting a pre-game Gut Check every week. You can read great breakdowns and analyses at any number of places on these Internets. But I won’t tell you who I think is going to win…I will tell you who I feel is going to win the game.

The Game
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Sanford Stadium
Athens, GA
5:45 (ESPN)

The Set-Up
This is a game we Gamecocks like to feel is a rivalry. Ask a Georgia fan, you’ll probably get a much different answer. But to us…this is as close as we’ve gotten to beating one of the big boys on a regular basis.

Most of the recent games have been competitive affairs, with memorable plays that swung the outcomes in one way or the other. Quincy Carter’s liberal distribution of the football…Brian Scott’s clutch goal line catch…Pollack’s whatever-that-was…Pinnock’s fumble…the missed PAT and field goal in 2005…it’s a litany of gamechanging moments, so who knows what awaits in 2007?

Much has also been made of the importance of this game. In what is essentially an early-season elimination game, the winner has an early step-up in the East, while the loser is already behind the 8-ball. It’s not coincidence that the two greatest seasons in recent USC history have all started with an early-season win against Georgia.

For this season’s game, there are still a lot of question marks left up on South Carolina’s board. How will our drinkin’ fightin’ dancin’ QB do in his 2007 debut? How much did we hold back against La-La? Will our much ballyhooed defense assert themselves this week? Can we get pressure on the keg-lifting sophomore Stafford?

All technically good questions, but regardless of the inevitable answers, this one is going to come down to the intangibles. For the first season in recent memory, the Gamecocks are coming into this game with some momentum carried over from the previous season. Also, we have a talented but young group of players who could click (and clack) at any moment. So why not now?

The Deciding Factor
We have a coach who is walking into a snake pit of hatred possibly unparalleled in college environment in which he thrives. Just take a look at how SOS has gotten our team to perform in the road games against our four most hated rivals since he’s been here:
• Georgia (05): L, 15-17
• Tennessee (05): W, 16-15
• Florida (06): L, 16-17
• Clemson (06): W, 31-28

Sure they’re not all wins, but this is a road competitive streak against our four biggest rivals that is unmatched in recent Carolina history. And it is no coincidence. It will be close…but we will emerge from Between the Hedges victorious. And probably covered in projectile piss, beer, and chewin' tobbacy.

The Final
South Carolina, 24
Georgia, 21

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Have you ever been Xperienced?

Black College Football: The Xperience...the video game you've been looking for if that plain old "White College Football Experience" just isn't fulfilling enough.

Seriously, this is a new video game coming out this November. Aside from the obvious racial head-scratchingness, I have a few other questions. Does my attendance at the USC/SC State game count as a "Black College Football Xperience"? When does Latino College Football: Las Xperiencia come out?

Hopefully, all questions will be answered once we get some hands-on gametime with non-honkey features like (per the game website):

• Nerjyzed - There's that time when your senses are heightened. You block out everything, but what matters. You forget your insecurities, your fears and the limits of nature. Run faster. Feel stronger. Smile with fierce determination as you realize the machine you have become. You are Nerjyzed and the crowd is going wild.

Finally...a video game that has enough street cred to overcome the insecurities of its players! NCAA 2008 is just way too emo.

• Interactive Halftime Battle of the Bands - You need a break from that first half, but there's no time to rest. A game is on the line and its up to you to lead the band. You step into the boots of the drum major as the crowd anxiously awaits your high stepping entrance. The routine plays through your mind -the cues, the notes. It's a complexity you feel at home with and you wouldn't trade it for a thing. You take the stage, knowing the momentum of the game is in your hands now. Out perform. Out awe. And you just might give your team the boost it needs to walk away with the win.

Now this is a feature every Carolina fan can appreciate, as we all know that the band's performance on the field and in the stands has a direct impact on the outcome of the game. The press release does not indicate whether an "Earth, Wind, & Fire" or "Chicago" medley is available for rocking out to.

Clearly, I am far too white for this game.

2001 Gamecock Gazettes

Not hot off the presses, here they are...the 2001 editions of the Gamecock Gazette...all 14 of them. This includes the Lorenzen/Boyd issue that was a bit of a hit back in the day. Unfortunately, that issue coincided with my realization that, "Wait, I have to do one of these every week?" Much like how I expect to be feeling after a month or so of this blog.