Wednesday, September 28, 2011

GAMECOCK NEWS: South Carolina Football; State Championship? Don’t you mean NATIONAL Championship?

After moving to Chicago a few years ago, I quickly realized that South Carolina was not the center of the college football universe.  These Big 10 (or 12 or whatever that conference is now) fans here in the Midwest just aren’t that open to watching or discussing good ol’ Gamecock football.  It’s a shame too, because that’s some damn good football.  But, what if we South Carolinians just forced the nation to participate in the action?

I know, you’re thinking ‘well, how can we do that, Patrick?’

Thanks.  I’m glad you asked.  If this were any other year, the only line of attack for nationwide involvement would be just that; a line of attack (i.e. country-wide propaganda followed by mass-kidnappings).  This year, however, we can do it another, safer way.  We can force our awe-inspiring rooster crows and dim-witted Tiger chants upon this nation in true Outbreak fashion (the one with the monkeys).  I’m talking about the South Carolina Gamecocks meeting the Clemson Tigers in the Superdome on January 9th, 2012.
If you’re still reading, you must be from SC.  Or, you are just a pretty cool dude/gal.  

So, before I continue, let me just say that YES it’s painfully obvious to me how bizarre this scenario must sound to most fans out there.  And YES, I’ve already had my nightcap of cheap scotch as I write this.  That doesn’t mean I’m not delivering one, big, giant truth bomb that no non-SC native’s ears are ready to hear.  South Carolina can still improve their weaknesses and have a shot at winning the SEC title (which, almost by default, puts us in the Superdome on the 9th).  And, as much as it pains me to admit, Clemson actually does have a shot at being the curiously color-schemed opponent we face in that championship.  Hear me out…

The case for the Gamecocks:  First of all, what happened to all the hype about USC going all the way?  Am I the only Carolina fan spreading the propaganda?  Well, after watching our first four wins, I don’t blame the rest of you for hopping off the train.  That is, the BCS Championship hype train (or Cockaboose).  Here are a couple questions to ask yourselves.  Can Marcus Lattimore continue carrying the ball 20-25 times per game?  Can Stephen Garcia snap out of his funk and throw at least half as many TDs as he does INTs?  If those two answers are yes and our defensive front keeps taking teams to Murder Town (population: 0), then we’re all set to make this the year of the Gamecock.

The case for the Tigers:  Is Clemson an over-rated team?  Of course.  Does Dabo Swinney have what it takes to coach this team to a national title?  I don’t think so.  Could they still do it?  The actual title?  Not a snowball’s chance in hell.  The title game?  Yup, absolutely.  Look, I’m not going to sit here and praise CU, because I think their four Ws have been just as sloppy as ours.  But, this team has beaten four 2010 champions back-to-back in Troy (Sun Belt Champs), Wofford (Southern Champs), Auburn (SEC and Nat’l Champs), and Florida State (ACC Atlantic and Chick-fil-A Bowl Champs).  If they can squeeeeeeeeze by Virginia Tech (ACC Champs) on the road this weekend, then that will make if five back-to-back and that will also mean that some of Clemson’s toughest games will be behind them.  That is, until they stroll into good ol’ Billy Brice on November 26th.
The case for a rematch:  Ok, so we’ve gotten this far.  If you’re by any chance still with me, then this rematch piece should be an easy sell.  Think about it.   Both South Carolina and Clemson are going to be in the top ten after crucial wins this weekend.  Clemson will need to remain undefeated to stay in the top ten by November 26th.  But, pending other teams’ losses, this actually would put them in the top five.  South Carolina could slip to Arkansas (assuming the Razorbacks beat A&M and get back into the top ten, themselves, by then) and still sneak back into the top ten after a big win against Florida at home two weeks prior.  There is no doubt in my mind what happens when these two teams meet in Columbia.  It’s a three-peat, baby!   Clemson will take their anger out on one of the Tech teams (Georgia or Virginia) in the ACC Championship, while Carolina will use the momentum to start a fire in Atlanta against either Alabama or LSU for the SEC Championship.  It’ll probably be the latter team representing the West, and we all know what happened last year.

So, that’s it.  Any questions? 

Gamecock fans, remember where you heard it first (and, see you at the Auburn game this weekend!).  Non-SC fans, please feel free to use the comments section as your complaint box and I’ll try my best to entertain your protests with one-liner sarcasm.  Clemson fans, I’ll CU in New Orleans!

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