Saturday, September 16, 2006


1. It's Wofford. It's a 1-AA team. If the Gamecocks can't beat the Terriers, it's time to fold the tent for the year.
2. Syvelle Newton. The starting QB has actually thrown a touchdown this year, meaning he makes up exactly half the number of players involved in a TD pass so far.
3. Steve Spurrier. Despite having done no research, I can say with relative confidence that Spurrier has probably never even come close to losing to a 1-AA team.
4. The defense. On average, it has allowed just 9 points a game this year -- none to Mississippi State, and 18 to Georgia. Despite a few slip-ups in the UGA game, you can't blame Tyrone's guys for that loss.
5. A potentially Mitchell-less game. Which means no horrendously-timed INT.

1. Disaster. A meteor could fall from the sky and kill everyone on the South Carolina sideline. A hole in the earth could open up below the Gamecock's locker room.
2. Stupidity. Blake Mitchell could take every QB on the depth chart to Five Points and get them absolutely smashed an hour before the game.
3. Deception. Florida could decide to swing by the USC campus, don the Terriers' uniforms, and play in disguise following their game against Tennessee.
4. Underperformance. This is South Carolina. Nothing -- nothing -- is impossible on the downside.
5. Hubris. If you think you're going to coast through a game, you usually won't. Spurrier and Co. will have to keep the players focused, but they should be able to.

PREDICTION: South Carolina 42, Wofford 3
RECORD: Outcome -- 1-0-1 (Did not call Georgia game); Score (within a TD of each teams' score) -- 0-1-1

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Give Oregon one thing -- they're never afraid to make a fashion statement, even if it's a bad one. The boys from Eugene now have (gulp) 384 uniform combinations to choose from.

And every one of this is just hideous, hideous ugly.

Heidi Klum's worst nightmare.


Oh, boy, where to start. Everybody's favorite redneck QB, Blake Mitchell, has been sidelined for ... well, we don't know. But given Spurrier's track record, it could be a loooong time.

USC starting quarterback Blake Mitchell was arrested Wednesday and charged after allegedly punching a bouncer in the face during an early-morning incident at a Five Points bar.
Mitchell turned himself in on the simple assault charge at the Richland County jail, where he was released Wednesday evening on a personal recognizance bond.
Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier suspended Mitchell indefinitely and said the redshirt junior would not play in Saturday’s game against Wofford. ...
According to a Columbia police report, Mitchell was at Pavlov’s on Greene Street at 1:45 a.m. when he started a “verbal altercation” with Kylan Ertzberger, 19, who was working the door.
The report said Ertzberger told Mitchell “he did not have a problem with him” but objected to the 21-year-old Mitchell trying to bring “underage girls” into the bar. When Ertzberger turned to walk away, Mitchell punched him in his left eye, according to the report. ...
Mitchell might be eligible to apply for pretrial intervention, a one-time diversion program that allows defendants to expunge certain charges from their records upon completion of community service, counseling or other requirements.

Let us count the ways this is stupid. First of all: Never, EVER get in a fight with a freaking bouncer. It's generally not a fight you will win. Especially when the bouncher is a 5-11, 263-pound former offensive lineman and you are a 6-3, 212-pound QB.

(Is it possible we could recruit this Ertzberger guy?)

Secondly: If you are the starting QB and are under fire, putting the head coach in a situation where he has to bench you is more than stupid. It's what you call a special kind of dumb.

But Blake is holding up a great USC tradition: Pre-trial intervention, which might now actually have more Gamecock athletes involved in it than have been involved in scoring drives this year.

At least Blake has his father, Alvin "Nugget" Mitchell, coming to help him.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Okay, do we really want to recruit this guy?

WR Jason Barnes (6-4 195) of Charlotte attended the USC-Georgia game last
weekend. ... According to a source familiar with what Barnes was saying at the
USC game, he came out of the visit favoring the Gamecocks.

I mean, he does recognize that the object of football is to, you know, score, right?

Spurrier hears that Barnes leans toward USC after Saturday.


Confounded by the lack of a clear-cut starter at QB, South Carolina HBC Steve Spurrier announced today that the school's science professors are working on a genetic blend of the three choices, tentatively named Blakevelle Newsmelley.

"Well, we've been unable to get any of the quarterbacks to carry out the ballplays we need," Spurrier said. "So we're going to try something a little different, see if that works."

Spurrier had promised a new-look offense, even alluding to the possibility of a QB controversy.

But the idea of combining the experienced but inept Blake Mitchell with "the savior" Chris Smelley and the until-now underutilized Syvelle Newton is seen as something of a surprise.

Preparing for genetic experimentation.

Players have been unavailable for comment after Spurrier barred them from talking to the media.

"I have to do this. That's why I'm here," Spurrier said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. "I don't deserve it, either. Write about our defense."

(C&F NOTE: The last quote is actually real. That's how bad it's gotten. Not only does Spurrier acknowledge the existence of the defense, he wants the attention on them.)


For those that haven't heard, ABC has decided to pimp GameDay out to ESPN on ABC's Saturday Night Football. After suggesting that GameDay would be headed to Knoxville for the Tennessee/Florida showdown -- while shunning Auburn/LSU -- the powers at ABC have instead decided that the crew will head over to the thrilling matchup between the network's BESTEST, MOST FAVORITEST TEAMS EVERERER!!!!

Nebraska at the other USC.

I could go to the effort of a thorough discussion of what is obviously cheap marketing.

Or I could point to the discussion taking place at EDSBS.

Which one do you think this link leads to?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Once again, Clemson is paying players. Thing is, the NCAA says it's okay.

CLEMSON, S.C. -- Clemson received permission Monday from the NCAA to provide assistance to a freshman football player who is taking care of his younger brother.
Ray Ray McElrathbey, 19, has temporary custody of his 11-year-old brother, Fahmarr, because of his mother's continuing drug problems and his father's gambling addiction. The brothers have moved from foster homes and now share an apartment near the Clemson campus. ...
The brothers had been living solely off McElrathbey's scholarship, but Clemson plans to establish a trust fund to coordinate financial contributions to help pay for normal living expenses, Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips said in a release.

Now, as much as I would like for anyone named "Ray Ray McElrathbey" to be able to remain in college football, and as much as I feel for his family, let's look at who we're dealing with here. Clemson doesn't have what you would call a sterling record in this department. Indeed, "pay-to-play" is more than just a part of the New Jersey political system.

I have no problem with the NCAA allowing coaches and their families to provide child care and transportation, etc. But the trust fund bothers me just a touch. The NCAA is essentially saying, "Yes, program with a bad record, you can pay another player, even though there are probably other students across the country in a similar situation whose schools don't give a rip about them because they don't play football."

Myles Brand: Allowing payola, but cracking down on Native American-themed mascots.

Maybe he can help us get some justice.

Monday, September 11, 2006

THE RANKS: The shake-up begins

I didn't get to do much of the preview and post-view stuff because of travel. (Who holds a wedding during football season?) But you've got to do the Top 25 every week. Again, this poll is based on performance, not preseason hype. So now that some teams have begun to play more than just 6A-high-school-level opposition, let the polls move.

1 (Last week: 1) Notre Dame: v. Penn State, 41-17. Oh, yeah. That offense is hurting. Georgia Tech exposed a weakness. We were too quick to jump on the Notre Dame bandwagon. Putting ND at No. 1 was a ... good decision.

2 (3) Ohio State: at Texas, 24-7. Whipping the defending national champions in their home stadium deserves the No. 2 spot for now. The schedule still has plenty of challenges and sleeper games, though.

3 (2) Florida: v. UCF, 42-0. Chris Leak will never adjust to Urban Meyer's offense. He'll struggle and be replaced by Tim Tebow. He'll ... throw for 352 yards and four TDs against a not-horrendous opponent. I still think they'll end up above OSU in the end. But, again, this is based on performance and not expectations.
4 (4) West Virginia: v. Eastern Washington, 52-3. Torches another hapless rival. Waits for Louisville.

A severe couch-burning warning has been issued for all of West Virginia.

5 (5) LSU: v. Arizona, 45-3. Now, I am impressed. A little.

6 (11) Auburn: at Mississippi State, 34-0. Challenging to say exactly what this means. South Carolina beat them 15-0, then got dropped by UGha. But they're showing a bit of promise.
7 (9) Louisville: at Temple, 62-0. v. Kentucky, 59-28 (9/3). Temple demolished. Questions still linger about the lack of Bush, but everything looks good.
8 (10) Georgia: at South Carolina, 18-0. Can JoePa retire so Bobby Bowden will retire so Mark Richt will go to FSU?
9 (6) Texas: v. Ohio State, loss, 24-7. Gotta tumble. Haven't done much.
10 (17) Florida State: v. Troy State, 24-17. at Miami (Fla.), 13-10. Win over Miami moves them up. One-TD win against Troy State does not help.

11 (8) Iowa: at Syracuse, 20-13, 2 OT. Only saving grace? They can blame lackluster showing against biggest joke in the Big Least on lack of Drew Tate.
12 (14) Southern California: BYE.
13 (13) Michigan: v. Central Michigan, 41-17. Vanderbilt. Central Michigan. What a list of victories.
14 (7) Penn State: at Notre Dame, loss, 41-17. JoePa reverting to on-again, off-again pattern.
15 (12) Clemson: at Boston College, loss, 34-33, 2 OT. Tommy Bowden strikes again. But FSU game could be saving grace.
16-T (16) TCU: v. UC-Davis, 46-13. at Baylor, 17-7 (9/3). Could be fly in ointment. Could just be fly. Who knows?
16-T (15) Miami (Fla): v. Florida A&M, 51-10. v. FSU, loss, 13-10 (9/4). Loss to FSU takes its toll. Win against FAMU does not help.
17 (18) Georgia Tech: v. Samford, 38-6. What can you say? It was Samford.
18 (23) Virginia Tech: at North Carolina, 35-10. Opponent a bit better than Northeastern. But not much.
19 (21) Tennessee: v. Air Force, 31-30. Could have been a loss. Fulmer has some 'splaining to do. But they move up because others do worse.
20 (22) Nebraska: v. Nicholls State, 56-7. A faceoff with the other USC (Southern Cal) will give a better idea of where they are.
21 (24) Oregon: at Fresno State, 31-24. 'Sno usually gives BCS league teams a run for their money. Maybe that explains it. Maybe.
22 (NR) Rutgers: v. Illinois, 33-0. Rutgers debuts. Never, ever thought I'd say that.
23 (NR) Oklahoma: v. Washington, 37-20. Still a lot of questions. But who else are you going to put here?
24 (NR) California: v. Minnesota, 42-17. Bouncing in and out. But outright body-slam put on Minnesota worth noting.
25 (19) Alabama: v. Vanderbilt, 13-10. Beat Vandy, after rallying, by a field goal, at home? C&F overestimated. I wanted bacly to kick them off the list, but no one else does well enough to justify it.

DROPPING OUT: Texas Tech needs overtime to beat UTEP, 38-35 ... South Carolina falls to Georgia, 18-0, marking first shutout of Spurrier since Ronald Reagan was president ...

ON THE BUBBLE: Purdue still can't quite clear the hurdle ... Akron takes down N.C. State after scaring Penn State ...