Friday, January 3, 2014

Previewing the Garnet Bowl: Making Fun of Clemson and Ohio State

It has been fun watching Clemson fans and Ohio State fan trash talk each other over twitter. The trash talk tends to take this pattern:

"You are overrated, play in a joke of a conference and play a terrible schedule"- Buckeye Fan

"NO! You are overrated, play in a joke of a conference and play a terrible schedule"- Clemson Fan

For once, both fan bases are correct.

Both fan bases have so much in common that they should be fast friends. They both are truly overrated, both play in a joke of a conference and play a terrible schedule. They also have issues beating the Gamecocks. Combined, both teams have a current seven game losing streak to the Gamecocks. This truly should be called the Garnet Bowl.

The Big Ten and ACC are also true mirror images of each other. One dominates in lacrosse, the other in ice hockey, while both are awful in football.

I lived in Ohio for two years so I have a unique perspective on this game. I hate both fan bases but in Clemson's defense, I hate their fan base mainly because they are the rival of my alma mater.

When it comes to the Buckeyes I had no opinion of them or their fan base before I lived there. Two years later and I thought they were the most delusional and self righteous fan base on the planet. 

Chances are if I went to any other school I would have no hatred towards Clemson, but just living in Ohio will quickly make you hate the Buckeyes and their fans. Advantage Clemson on that front.

Both fan bases hate the SEC but do it in different ways. Clemson fans understand that the SEC is the best conference in the country and just hate the fact that their rival school is in it and they are not. Clemson fans hate the SEC more than Gamecock fans love the SEC. Proof of this was found all over twitter on New Year's Eve when Duke stormed out to an early lead on the Aggies. The twitter timelines of Clemson fans were priceless. Clemson fans would give their remaining front tooth for an invitation to the SEC. 

Buckeye fans also hate the SEC but remain in denial. At one time the Big Ten was a power conference and they can't seem to let that go. They view the SEC as a creation of the media and not really that good. They would never want to join the SEC even if the Big Ten disbanded and there was an invitation waiting for them. They feel the SEC is beneath them. This logic is what makes Buckeye fans the most unintentional comical fan base in the country. 

The Buckeye line of thinking has followed this pattern over the years:

Phase 1: We are the best program in the country and there should be a rematch with Michigan for the title game. Big Ten is dominant. Did you see that classic game with Michigan?

Phase 2: We are better than Florida and just did not execute!

Phase 3: At least we do things the right way here unlike the SEC with their thugs and their cheating. What a joke!

Phase 4: So what, it was just tattoos and who cares if Tressel lied. All programs do that!

Phase 5: Why don't these SEC teams come up to Big Ten country in November or December and play us? They are scared. It is obvious. Come play us in the cold and snow!

As I was saying, they are the most unintentional funny fan base in the country. 

Clemson logic is not much brighter. Clemson lives in the almanac when it comes to the rivalry with the Gamecocks. They actually want you to believe that the five losses in a row to the Gamecocks does not bother them at all since they have the lead in the overall series. It is especially comical when it comes from someone who is barely twenty years old.

Clemson fans also love to talk about their second BCS bowl game in three seasons and the lack of BCS bowl appearances and conference titles by the Gamecocks, the team they have not beaten since Bush was in office.


Once again, when pressed Clemson fans admit that the SEC is the best conference in football but if a Gamecock fan dares bring this up as the reason for their lack of conference titles and BCS bowl game appearances it is chalked up as "riding the coattails of the SEC" by our orange friends.

Hilarious logic considering if the BCS did not have the two team per conference limit, the Gamecocks would be in their third straight BCS bowl game this year.

The BCS is a welfare system and Clemson is that guy you hate who plays the system and thinks they have made it. They are the 25 year old with the "bad back" who is collecting a disability check from the government while working a job part time under the table and in their free time selling their prescription pain meds. Of course, the welfare system stops next season and you will actually have to earn your way into the bigger bowls. Uh oh.

Then there is the conference title argument. Clemson fans love to bring this up. Love to bring up the lack of titles for the Gamecocks. Yet the Gamecocks were not in a conference for a number of years and then joined the SEC in 1992. To win the SEC, you usually need to be the best team in the country. Of course that is just me riding the coattails of the SEC and not bringing up facts. Speaking of facts, guess how many ACC titles Clemson has since the Gamecocks have joined the SEC? 7? 5? How about 1? Yes, Clemson has one ACC title since 1992. Let me repeat that, they have one.

Now one is still more than the Gamecocks over that time but what did Clemson do in that season that they won the ACC? Well, they were beaten easily by the Gamecocks, finished with a worse record than the Gamecocks, finished behind the Gamecocks in the final rankings and oh yeah, they gave up a bowl record 70 points in the Orange Bowl to the Big East champs. Yes, that is their one conference title season that Clemson fans are so proud of since the Gamecocks stopped being an independent and joined the SEC conference. 


Over the last five years, Clemson fans seem to take pride in the academics of their school and the class of their fans. They have preached that. Reminds me of Phase 3 of Buckeye fans. Weird how that works.


Look at that Clemson "class"

The latest is how Spurrier shows a lack of class by jabbing Clemson with his barbs. They forget that Dabo started it with his famous rant that Clemson fans love to repeat every chance they get.


The title of the video says "Dabo Fires Back at Spurrier", of course the quote that was attributed to Spurrier was incorrect, it was said by Todd Ellis. It is widely known that Dabo knew this and even privately asked the reporter to ask him about the quote so he could give his well rehearsed rant.



 He was probably up practicing in front of the mirror the night before. That is all fine. He wanted to play the game with Spurrier. He wanted to poke the master after he just got done losing to him again. Nothing wrong with that. The problem now is since Dabo started it, Spurrier gets to decide when it ends. Keep waiting Clemson fans. It is far from over and Spurrier will remind you every chance he gets. Thank Dabo for that.

So tonight it is Clemson vs Ohio State. Dumb vs Dumber. Bin Laden vs Hitler. Who do you root for? Who will win? I have no idea to be honest with you. Maybe it will end in an 85-85 tie with a record for missed tackles. It is a win-win situation for me. One of them has to lose and I get to make fun of both of them. If I had to make a prediction I am leaning towards Ohio State simply based on how good Michigan State looked against Stanford. 

Prediction: Ohio State 88 Clemson 85. The game should be over by Sunday afternoon. Enjoy. 





Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Predicting the Capital One Bowl



Why Wisconsin Can Win

Gamecock nation is in a fit of rage over being a three point underdog to a team from the lousy Big Ten Conference. The Gamecocks are ranked higher, have a better record and have more talent. However, football is about matchups. Wisconsin has a great running game and the Gamecocks have struggled at times to stop the run. Wisconsin will pound the ball and negate the talent gap by keeping the Gamecocks offense off the field making for a very frustrating day in Orlando for the Gamecocks.

Why Carolina Can Win

The Gamecocks are the better team. They have more talent, more speed and have been tested more during the season. Wisconsin will struggle to adjust to the speed of the Gamecocks and if they get behind early will struggle to get back in the game with their one dimensional offense.

Prediction

It will be closer than many think and I believe the Gamecocks will trail for most of the game. Our run defense has improved over the season but it is still  a weakness. The key will be first down. Wisconsin will hold their own, run the ball, keep our offense off the field. It will be a struggle but I just don't see Connor Shaw losing in his last college game. Look for another late game thriller. Shaw scores on a scramble very late in the game to give the Gamecocks the win 31-28

Thursday, December 12, 2013

We Will Always Have Dabo

I ranted yesterday about the Tennessee game and the frustrations I have with Spurrier. I meant what I said but sometimes you need a reminder just how good we have it. Spurrier is a legend and our rivals have Dabo. He is truly the gift that keeps on giving. 

Clemson fans think I hate him, not at all. I hope he gets a lifetime contract. It is one thing to beat your rival but it is another to watch your rival's coach make a fool of himself and the program with his statements. 

There is a small part of me that wants to see Clemson beat Ohio State just to watch Dabo overreact in the interview after the game. I am sure if this were to happen he would talk about how close his team is to being the best in the country. Of course, if they played the #1 team in the country ten times, they would win five. Right?

Will Clemson and Dabo "bounce" back in the Orange Bowl against their overrated brother from Columbus, Ohio? We will see.

I think this picture sums up the difference between the two programs and it starts with the head coach. It is great to be a Gamecock

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Lingering Loss to Tennessee




The Tennessee loss lingers. It may hurt more now than it did when it actually happened and believe me it hurt a ton back then.

As Gamecock fans we are faced with the could haves, the should haves and the might haves. We should have clobbered Tennessee, we could have played for the SEC title and we might have been playing for the national title. Let that sink in for a bit, how do you feel? Yeah, I feel sick to my stomach too.

Let’s be realistic, Auburn would have been a very tough team to beat in the SEC title game. I would like to think our defense could shut down their one dimensional offense, but Alabama couldn’t do it, so more than likely neither could we. We would have been able to score on them, but would it have been enough? Probably not, but who knows. We don’t get the chance to find out.

Chances are a loss to Auburn in the SEC title game would have put us in the exact spot we are in now, outside looking in at a BCS bowl game. That is probably what would have happened but that scenario doesn’t leave the same feeling in your gut as what we may have lost by not beating Tennessee, a team that would end the season with just one conference win...ONE!

Who do we blame? The same guy who said following the game he had a real tough time sleeping. Yeah, I know the feeling!

I like Steve Spurrier a lot. I am thankful for him. He is without a doubt the greatest Gamecock coach ever. He is the main person responsible for the Gamecocks having their greatest run in the history of the football program.

We have a chance to be a top ten team for the third straight year in a row. Spurrier is responsible for that. He is also responsible for turning history on its head when it comes to the rivalry with that smaller school in the upstate.

He needs a statue, a street named after him, maybe even both. He took a mediocre program and made us elite. Being a Gamecock, it is tough not to be a Spurrier fan when faced with those facts. I love Steve. I will say it one more time....I LOVE THE HEAD BALL COACH....but...

....he deserves the complete blame for the Tennessee loss.



His in-game coaching over the past couple years has been mind boggling at times. He has spoiled us. He has raised the bar on our expectations to the point that I am writing about feeling sick over a 10-2 season and a trip to the Capital One Bowl.

In many ways, Spurrier is his own worst enemy. If he hadn’t built the program up like he has we would have been content with the idea it just couldn’t be done here. He has shown it can be done here and now we expect and ask questions when we lose to inferior teams that cost us a chance to play for all the marbles.

The Tennessee loss is inexcusable on so many levels. The refusal to run the ball, the wasting of timeouts and the just hideous clock management are all reasons why we lost to Tennessee and Auburn two years earlier at home. That Auburn loss also ruined our chance to play for an SEC title.

We almost lost to Central Florida earlier in the year due to our refusal to run the football. Coming into the game, the one weakness that Central Florida had was their run defense. Instead of coming out and pounding the ball on the ground, we came out throwing and got behind. Luckily the light went on for Spurrier in the second half as we did what we should have done all game long, run the ball.

Tennessee’s strength was their defensive backs. They were considered a solid pass coverage team. This was something that Spurrier talked about a lot following the game. It was like his way of convincing us and himself that this Tennessee team did have some talent. It left me even angrier, if their strength is their pass defense, then why the hell did we keep on throwing the ball?!

The loss still linger and it still hurts. More than anything, the loss is still frustrating. That is a good sign. It is a sign that our program really is on the move. Which brings me to the phone message left by a good friend.

Unlike myself, my friend grew up in the state and has been a Gamecock since he could walk. He graduated from Carolina with me and bleeds garnet and black.

We talk and text often during games and of course after games. We were both frustrated after the Tennessee loss, scratch that, we were both angry! My friend needed to vent and so two days after the Tennessee loss he called me. I didn’t answer and it went to voice mail. Below is his voice mail accompanied with some pictures to make it a bit more humorous..

WARNING!!!!! There is profanity. Do not listen at work or around children unless you have really good headphones. Enjoy





Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Truth About Clowney and the SEC Chant.


We have heard the jokes all season long from Clemson fans about the lack of Clowney's "production". We have been told he has been having an awful season and is a quitter. He has been banged up with a rib issue, an ankle issue and is putting off surgery to have bone spurs removed until after the season. Yeah, he sounds like a quitter.

Now let's talk production, are his numbers down? Yes they are. Did Clowney suddenly get worse? Of course not. His numbers are down for a few reasons. He has been banged up like we mentioned and not only are teams double and triple teaming him....yes triple teaming him, they are also running away from him. I know what you are saying, a typical coot making excuses. That is fine, but let's take a look at the unbiased evidence. Here is a play against Arkansas.





 Ok, I know what you are saying. "It is just one play, way to cherry pick". Fine, let's take a look at some of the unbiased analysts take who chart every single play. Here is a tweet from Kevin Weidl of ESPN during the Georgia game


Of Clowney's 20 pass rush attempts. I had 6 pressures, 1 sack and 1 pass deflection. He was doubled 5 times and GA ran quick game 7 times.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

History Favors the Gamecocks Over Clemson



Clemson leads the overall series, we are reminded of that all the time it seems. However, the rivalry has never been bigger than it is right now. Both programs are in the middle of a great run. This is the best era in Gamecock football history. Coming into Saturday, Clemson has won 41 games over the last four seasons. They have no national championships to show for it or wins over the Gamecocks but this has also been a very successful time in Clemson football history.

It is rare that both programs are really good at the same time. There used to be a theory that there wasn't enough talent in the state for both teams to be good at the same time. Since 1980, only 4 times have the Gamecocks and Clemson played each other when both were ranked. Saturday night will be the fifth time, the the third straight year and the first time that both teams will meet while being ranked in the top ten.

The Gamecocks are 3-1 in these games with the only loss coming in 2000 when Rod Gardner PUSHED the Tigers to the victory in Death Valley 16-14. I was there and the frustrating part about that game is the Gardner no call push off was just the third worst call of the game.



The 1987 meeting held the honors as being the best combined rankings of the teams in the series. The Gamecocks were ranked 12th and Clemson was ranked 8th. The Gamecocks would prevail thanks to that loud Williams-Brice crowd and of course Brad Edwards.

 

1987 Carolina 20-7
2000 Clemson 16-14*********
2011 Carolina 34-13
 2012 Carolina 27-17

 History is on the Gamecocks side for a change.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Welcome to Little Auburn Week

I learned something new last week and I haven't stopped laughing since. I always heard a reference to Clemson copying Auburn but I didn't think much of it. Clemson never struck me as a real creative school. Their nickname is Tigers, their fight song is Tiger Rag and they play in Death Valley. Yawn.

It all began on twitter when a Clemson fan said the Gamecocks were not real original with the Fear the Thumb slogan. True, but the slogan is not meant to be original, it is meant to be used for any situation when you are about to drop five straight wins on your rival. It has been used by other teams in the past and will be used again in the future. It goes right up there with Three Peat etc.

That remark by the Clemson fan led to some research on the creation of the Clemson football program. Here is what I found out. Apparently Walter M. Riggs was a graduate of Auburn and came to Clemson to start the football program. Lacking money, he borrowed some of Auburn's old practice jerseys. These jerseys would be the game jerseys for Clemson. The jerseys were blue but because they were so old they had begun to fade to a purple color. Nice!













The name Tigers was not taken from Auburn however, the team voted on Tigers because they were inspired by the Princeton Tigers who had just won the national title. The bandwagon mentality is in their DNA.

Then you have the infamous "ALL IN" slogan. The Clemson fans want you to believe Dabo coined it when he took over the job when Tommy Bowden was fired. Not so fast my tater. A little research pulled up this t-shirt from 2005.


So it is officially Little Auburn week for the Gamecocks. The Gamecocks are coming off a 70-10 win over Coastal Carolina and Clemson knocked off The Citadel while wearing all purple. I guess Auburn must have received some new practice jerseys.

“Clemson is Auburn with a lake" - Lewis Grizzard

SEC envy and Clemson has been going on for quite some time I guess.