Category Archives: South Carolina Gamecocks
I’ve reached a point in life over the past couple of years where the drive to North Carolina for Thanksgiving has severely inhibited my ability to do the best things done in unison: drink bourbon and watch football.
Leave on Friday? Immediately tick off the family, who feels more time together is warranted. Get stuck in Black Friday chaos traffic in both Charlotte and the Commerce outlets.
Leave on Saturday? Miss out on some great football. Especially with relevant Michigan/Ohio State, scary Georgia/Tech, and a full Rivalry Week slate. Current plan is a 6:30am departure on Saturday.
Leave on Thursday? Out of the question.
Leave on Sunday? Just too damn late. Familial judgment for nonstop guttural yells at the TV for 11 hours on Saturday.
For the rest of you single people who live more than three hours away from your favorite viewing spot, how do you pull it off? Inquiring minds need to know.
The NFL Games Are Over, And Usually Boring Anyway: THURSDAY RUCKUS
Texas Tech at Texas, 7:30, FS1: It’s not Texas/A&M, but the storylines are still fun. Can Texas score enough points to keep up with Tech? Hell naw. Is Charlie Strong going to bolt for Miami? He certainly should. Is this game timed perfectly if you, like me, do the Thanksgiving late lunch? Damn straight.
Friday: Like Saturday, but with Saturday Still to Come
Send the ladies to the mall. There’s more than enough entertainment available. I have to subset a Friday now.
#16 Navy at #19 Houston, ABC: Likely determines which New Years’ Six bowl you don’t watch because of the mid-major involved. Keenan Reynolds is a wizard at the triple option (like, Tech wins 4 more games with him wizard) and Tom Herman is (insert one of 13 vacant FBS jobs here’s) next coach. In two weeks if they lose.
Miami at Pitt, ESPN2: The weirdest ‘Rivalry Week’ rivalry of them all, Pitt is pretty good. All three of their losses are to teams currently ranked in the (AP) top 11. And Miami is probably a loss to Cincinnati away from itself being ranked. GOOD, WEIRD, ACC FOOTBALL! CURING YOUR HANGOVERS SINCE…idk. Today?
Mizzou at Arkansas, CBS, 2:30: Remember last year, when we had a significant rooting interest in an emerging Arkansas team, who was coming off of consecutive shutouts of Ole Miss and LSU? I miss those days. I’d rather have Mizzou play SEC East Patsy in Atlanta than damn Florida. *sigh*
#5 Iowa at Nebraska, ABC, 3:30: Go Huskers. I may watch B1G football on purpose. Dream scenario: Nebraska wins, Iowa beats Michigan State in the B1G championship, we are spared that conference in the Playoff.
#10 Baylor at #18 TCU, ESPN, 7:30: This is just a damn treat. Both teams may be without their starting (in Baylor’s case, second string as well) QB’s, but both will still hang at least 35 points. SEC fan or not, you don’t appreciate football if you don’t watch this.
P.S.: There are other games of note, but most involve eliminated Pac-12 teams. If you stick to the above, you’ll not be cast off by your family.
Saturday, Where I May Attempt to Leave NC at 6AM
Jon Gruden has nothing on my footballgasm for this day. LEGGO
Obviously, there’s Georgia at Georgia Tech, ESPN2. I want to cut that off after Georgia goes up 35-0 on 4 Tech fumbles in the first 8 minutes of action.
#3 (YES THESE ARE LAST WEEK’S CFP RANKINGS) Ohio State at #12 Michigan (ABC): I mean…Harbaugh vs. Meyer has a TON of appeal. OSU’s offense, which should be patently unstoppable, against Michigan’s defense, which has not dominated like it did early on…this is just going to be an incredible game. Get a two TV setup like the one I plan to walk into just after noon on Saturday.
#1 Clemson at South Carolina, ESPN: Clemson’s last chance to Clemson before they Clemson against UNC.
Virginia Tech at Virginia, ESPNU: Perfect world for UNC fan: UVA wins to preserve Mike London’s job, and in so doing keeps Tech out of a bowl for the first time since like, the 80’s.
Louisville at Kentucky, SECN: Getting the ACC/SEC challenge out of the way early, huh? Kentucky can still meet my ‘they’ll make a bowl’ prediction with a win. Or Bobby Petrino is in attendance, which is fun anyway.
3:30, Also Loaded:
Iron Bowl, CBS: Go Tigers. I said it.
#17 UNC at N.C. State, ABC/ESPN2: Shit, we’re going to crap the bed. (Remembers State’s 7 wins are against the following: Troy, Eastern Kentucky, Old Dominion, South Alabama, Wake Forest, Boston College, Syracuse.) Nope, still not comfortable.
Penn State at #9 Michigan State, ESPN: I don’t know if Christian Hackenburg is good. I tried to watch some of their game against Michigan, and I saw him get sacked twice, throw 4-yard outs on 3rd and 8, and the offense punt from the Michigan 34. James Franklin brought 2015 Vanderbilt offense to 2015 Penn State, and the fact that he coaches two mediocre teams is amazing.
UCLA at #24 USC, ABC/ESPN2: Literally cannot NOT be fun. Jim Mora is going for his fourth straight different USC head coach’s scalp, which is amazing on so many levels.
The Night Slate: On One Hand, Year’s Best Combination. On The Other, Hell on Your ‘Prev CH’ Button:
The three highlights are simple: Bedlam (ABC, 8) pits #7 Oklahoma and #6 Oklahoma State. ESPN gets #14 Florida State at #8 Florida (ESPN, 7:30). Oh, and #4 Notre Dame at #11 Stanford is on FOX at 8 just to sufficiently blow our collective minds with overrated football.
But the undercard may be more intriguing.
Les Miles 200% deserves to keep his job. His record over the last five years trumps Saban’s last five at LSU. He would be a saint even in Athens. Yet, he’s coaching for his job as Texas A&M visits #15 LSU (7:30, SECN). Unreal.
Additionally, there’s the small matter of the Egg Bowl, which I’ve counted on for hilarity for my whole adult life. 7:15, ESPN2, Mississippi State at (randomly) #22 Ole Miss. Thank me later.
This is a big college football weekend! No, there are no glamorous, beautiful, (I hate this word) epic top-10 matchups that can shatter the playoff picture, but there are a TON of good games that will go a long ways towards shaking down divisions (Pac-12 North, ACC Coastal, SEC East), and even more upset potential in stupid conferences (looking at you, Big Ten). There are weird games, mid-majors against P5 teams, and everything else you could want for a Halloween weekend filled with overtly cheesy ESPN graphics. TO THE GAMES!
Thursday is of interest.
If you follow my work, you know why. North Carolina at #23 Pitt (7, ESPN) is the first of three consecutive weeks of the Coastal’s three undefeated contenders going head-to-head. We pair that with ‘sneaky could still be good but at this point likely aren’t good’ West Virginia at #5 TCU (7:30, FS1). For God’s sake, will someone go ahead and put TCU out of its misery?
Even the nightcap has some intrigue, as disappointing Oregon travels to disappointing Arizona State (10:30, ESPN).
Saturday nooners: I mean…not horrible?
The SEC has two entertaining ones, as #19 Ole Miss at Auburn (ESPN) and South Carolina at Texas A&M (SECN) both tee up early. Ole Miss still controls its destiny in the West, but has (this is amazing) lost 5 straight road games as the favorite. Texas A&M had glow-in-the-dark helmets for Halloween…but won’t be wearing them, because, you know…noon.
Otherwise, there are three B1G games featuring middle-of-the-road teams, and two ACC games doing the same, with one including #17 Florida State hosting Syracuse (ABC). Stick to your SEC roots here.
Cocktail Party Simulcasts: Possible fun, but eh.
If Verne chokes out any chance of a Georgia East title in the first quarter, your contingency plan is as follows:
#12 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech, 3:30, ESPN: Oklahoma State is probably number 2 in my fraud rankings to this point in this season (Iowa exists). Texas Tech should be able to score with them in Lubbock. If nothing else, the O/U is 79 and the spread is only 3. That’s your typical Big XII football right there!
#3 Clemson at N.C. State, 3:30, ABC: Clemson, by many metrics, has been the best team in college football this year. Dabo Swinney has attacked the ‘Clemsoning’ meme to an almost embarrassing extent. Weird things happen to ACC favorites in Raleigh, although State’s 5 wins (Troy, Presbyterian, Old Dominion, South Alabama, Wake Forest) are about as fraudulent as 5 wins can possibly be.
Maryland at #10 Iowa (ESPN2) and #12 Oklahoma at Kansas (FS1) are also mid-afternooners, but we’re talking some hot garbage by then. Switch back to Georgia/Florida at this point, and curse the injuries, Verne, and, of course, the Florida Gators.
Early evening, pre #PACtion: kinda weak.
A lot more ‘well, this could be fun, but probably won’t be’ games to note.
The headliner for SEC fans is Tennessee at Kentucky (7:30, SECN) in a game that will likely determine third place in the SEC East, project calls for Butch Jones’ head or annoying Tennessee hype heading into November, and Kentucky’s bid for bowl eligibility.
Beyond that? I hate to do it, but #9 Notre Dame is the headliner. They travel to Philly to take on undefeated #21 Temple with GameDay in the house. This at least caused my favorite Hatin’ Ass Spurrier quote of the season.
If GameDay needs help shooting in Philadelphia, they might wanna call Marvin Harrison.
#15 Michigan at Minnesota (7, ESPN): This just feels like a stupid one where Michigan could stumble.
Miami at #22 Duke (7, ESPNU): Hoping for a motivated Miami “it was Al Golden, not us” performance in front of the packed house of 32,000 in Durham.
Vanderbilt at #18 Houston (7, ESPN2): THIS GAME’S IN HOUSTON!?!?! It was bad enough for Vandy when we realized a) Houston was good and b) this more or less represents Vandy’s SoCon Challenge game for the year. Having said that, watch Vandy pull some BS and win.
Nightcaps are my new addiction.
And Washington State is 3-1 in the Pac-12. #8 Stanford at Washington State (10:30, ESPN) probably won’t be a game, but if it is…it decides the Pac-12 North (actually, probably not, because Wazzu has no chance of going 8-1 in that league, right?)
And actually, that’s it! Give me November, where all of the games are meaningful, the weather is cold, and the football is above average.
We covered a lot of this in the DudeYouPodcast, which has still yet to win any awards, but the SEC race is starting to take shape.
As of right now, Ole Miss and LSU control their respective destinies in the West, and Georgia and Florida do in the East. GUESS WHAT: we’ll know who’s going to win the East (barring unforeseen dumbassery) by 7 o’clock on Halloween. I don’t know how I feel about that.
Today, the twist on the stock report will be divisional rankings, predicting for remaining opponents and doling out odds for winning the division.
- Florida 6-1 (4-1): Georgia, Vanderbilt, at South Carolina, FAU, Florida State– Pretty simple. If Florida wins on Saturday, they’re going to cruise to the SEC Championship at 11-1 or 10-2. Even if they lose to Vandy or SC. ODDS: 79%
- Georgia 5-2, (3-2): Florida, Kentucky, at Auburn, Georgia Southern, at Georgia Tech– Nothing between 7-5 and 9-3 will surprise me at this point, but I’m holding out hope that 10-2 is still attainable. More on what it’ll take to beat Florida later this week. ODDS: 18%
- Tennessee 3-4, (1-3): at Kentucky, South Carolina, North Texas, at Missouri, Vanderbilt– I’m now a heavy BUY on Tennessee for the rest of the year, their defense looked terrific at Alabama on Saturday. I think they win out (and thus finish 2nd in the East if Georgia falters). They would need a tiebreaker with the Dawgs (meaning UGA beats Florida then loses elsewhere) to make it. ODDS: 3%
- Kentucky 4-3 (2-3): Tennessee, at Georgia, at Vandy, Charlotte, Louisville– Probably blew its outside shot to reach Atlanta with its loss at Mississippi State, as their road would include Florida losing out in the SEC. Or crazy tiebreakers. The goal for Kentucky, as has been all season, is bowl eligibility. ODDS (of bowl): 80% (of SEC East) 0%
- Missouri 4-4 (1-4), South Carolina 3-4 (1-4), Vandy 3-4, (1-3): We’re just going to lump these together. As we’ve done for about a month now. It’s highly likely that none of these teams reach a bowl. All three have tricky nonconference tilts (BYU, Clemson, Houston, respectively). South Carolina scheduled a win against the Citadel, but can they win two at A&M/at Tenessee/Florida/Clemson? Hell no. Mizzou hasn’t scored a touchdown since October 3. ODDS (for any of the three to reach a bowl. Just one of them.) 14%
- Alabama 7-1 (4-1): LSU, at Mississippi State, Charleston Southern, at Auburn– even with LSU on the schedule, the Tide still has the easiest road among the West’s contenders. And they defend the pass well again. And I’m not willing to bet against them, ever. ODDS: 55%
- LSU 7-0 (4-0): at Alabama, Arkansas, at Ole Miss, Texas A&M– brutal. Not gonna talk about Leo Fournette, because Brandon Harris is maybe becoming the type of QB that gives Alabama fits? He can escape the pocket and push the ball downfield. I still don’t enough have faith in Kevin Steele as a DC to coordinate wins against Ole Miss and A&M to close, Alabama notwithstanding. ODDS: 28%
- Ole Miss 6-2 (3-1): at Auburn, Arkansas, LSU, at Mississippi State– They still technically control their own destiny in the West. They have their toughest remaining opponent in Oxford. They could finish 6-6 against this schedule. Or, obviously, 10-2. ODDS: 14%
- Texas A&M 5-2 (2-2): South Carolina, Auburn, Western Carolina, at Vandy, at LSU– So…realistically, at LSU is the only likely loss left on A&M’s schedule. To get to Atlanta, they’d need a 3-way tiebreaker at 2 losses with Bama or Ole Miss (who beat them) and LSU (whom they would have to potentially beat). Even given their anemic performance and the inexplicable play of Kyle Allen the past two weeks…that can happen. ODDS: 3%.
- Arkansas 3-4 (2-2): UT Martin, at Ole Miss, at LSU, Mississippi State, Mizzou– Let’s assume they beat UT Martin and Mizzou. They can win one of the other three, right? Then, do they go to a bowl game and DESTROY someone like they did Texas last year? And we deal with top-15 Arkansas again next year? Make it happen Bert! ODDS (bowl): 61%.
- Mississippi State 6-2 (2-2): at Mizzou, Alabama, at Arkansas, Ole Miss– snuck into the top 25 with a win over Kentucky, and could end up winning 9 games if things break right. Let’s tip our caps to Dak Prescott and Dan Mullen, noting that I have yet to see this team play this season. ODDS (SEC West): 0%, (playing spoiler vs. Alabama): 11%.
- Auburn 4-3 (1-3): at Texas A&M, Georgia, Idaho, Alabama– The 4OT loss to Arkansas may have crippled their postseason efforts. I’m all about that result. ODDS (of making a bowl): 42%, because I’m scared as hell of that game on Nov 14.
After a week off to mourn Georgia’s likely fate, the SEC Stock Report is back with a much clearer picture of how this bad boy’s going to play out. Since I still have no idea what to do with Georgia’s stock, we’re going to take a different approach and try to pare the league into “Contenders”, “Eliminated”, and everything in between. So, what happened in Week 7, and who can we get all bullish/bearish about?
Alabama, LSU, Florida.
I don’t trust anyone else (we’ll get to that). For Alabama, it looks again like one of those years in which it requires a perfect storm to beat them. -5 in turnovers against Ole Miss certainly fits the bill, but with an improving Jake Coker, a secondary which has now progressed from ‘black eye’ to ‘indubitable strength’, and dominant trench play on both sides…yeah. Probably the best team in the country again.
With LSU? I don’t trust them as much, but a ‘pedestrian’ 180 yards from Leonard Fournette against Florida’s defense serves notice that they might have a puncher’s chance in Tuscaloosa in three weeks. Spencer Hall wrote about LSU’s return to crazy here, and that always makes them a threat. As does the fact that they have won or played for the national championship every fourth year since 2003.
Florida…yeah, we’ve made it to this point. I was relieved to see them lose to LSU on Saturday, but Treon Harris is proving, again, that Jim McElwain is some kind of quarterback savant, and the Gators are officially a problem. Amazingly, a miracle win for Georgia in two weeks puts the Dawgs in the driver’s seat in the East yet again. A loss, and it’s taps. I don’t see the Gators losing to Vandy or South Carolina.
4-6: I DON’T TRUST YOU, BUT COLLEGE FOOTBALL IS WEIRD SOMETIMES
Georgia, Ole Miss, Texas A&M
Georgia is here by virtue of the Cocktail Party being a de facto East title game (assuming, then, that the Dawgs can handle their own vs. Kentucky and at Auburn). Puncher’s chance status.
Ole Miss is a team I REALLY don’t trust due to an utter lack of a running game, but they control their own destiny. Three of their final five are at home, and their road tests are Auburn and Mississippi State. Despite the loss at Memphis, the Black Bears remain a threat.
Oh, and Ole Miss’ opponent this week? Texas A&M! Knockout game in the West, and the only worthwhile football on this week. After Ole Miss, A&M should go untested until the finale at LSU. A tiebreaker scenario in which A&M visits one-loss-to-Bama LSU would be incredible.
7: YOU HAVE TWO LOSSES AND PLAY AT ALABAMA. SORRY.
You may be pretty good, but you should hold on to fourth quarter leads.
You may suck, and *punches laptop monitor*
8-9: A PAIR OF DECENT SEC WEST TEAMS
Mississippi State and Arkansas.
Rendered largely irrelevant via early losses. Not extremely notable programs. Not going to win the West, but may ruin someone’s season. Life in Mississippi and Arkansas remains sad and plodding.
10-14: AUBURN AND THE FOUR DWARVES
I’m actually glad Auburn won at Kentucky, because it helped allay fears that Kentucky may…you know…be a threat in the East. (It’s a thing!) For Auburn, it put them one upset win away (at Arkansas, Ole Miss, at Texas A&M,
Georgia, Alabama) from bowl eligibility.
South Carolina beat Vandy, and Steve Spurrier was in Ann Arbor. So that settles the “worst team in the SEC” debate for the season.
Thanks for forgetting how to play offense as the last remnants of your Big XII days move on, Missouri.
Day late, dollar short, crazy week. I hope you enjoyed the rare Thursday night SEC action (did you even know this was taking place?) and whatever transpired between UCLA and Stanford.
On to the weekend!
GROUP OF FIVE FRIDAY GAME STRONG
Hey, why not? There are three semi-watchable games involving teams fighting for a shot to play in a bowl game more prestigious than any UGA has played since 2008 (queue audible kidney punch sound):
Cincinnati at BYU (ESPN, 8) and #24 Houston at Tulane (ESPNU, 9) both have imminent watchability potential. Tom Herman’s Houston team has become downright Kevin Sumlin-era fun. Honestly, that’s the only reason for this section of the column. #21 Boise State visits Utah State (9, CBSSN) and, if you get CBSSN (not sure if I do)… Chuckie Keeton is a DAMN fine QB to watch and Boise State has been non-Boise State-y this year. A lot of rockfights coming from Idaho.
THE NOON SLOT HAS AT LEAST THREE WATCHABLE GAMES
And I’m not even including ranked-vs-ranked #18 Iowa at #20 Northwestern (ABC/Deuce, 12) because that just sounds like a sad rockfight that, when combined with Georgia’s results in October, will make you swear off football forever.
#13 Ole Miss at Memphis (other side of ABC/Deuce ledger) really could be a nice out-of-conference challenge for the Black Bears, and Justin Fuente’s stepping stone to the USC/Texas/South Carolina/Maryland/fallout of those four job.
On the Worldwide Leader, Louisville visits #11 Florida State. Dalvin Cook and the O-line are Florida State’s entire offense, and that has been shockingly sufficient thus far. I’m here to tell you that a not-awake Tallahassee crowd, Bobby Petrino magic, and a strong Louisville D could spring an upset (NOTE: I also picked Miami to beat FSU last weekend. It’s one of those ‘wrong til you’re right and claim to be a genius’ picks).
The highlight of the nooners, though? BAYLOR PLAYS A SEMI-REAL DEFENSE! West Virginia at #2 Baylor (FOX) is a rematch of Baylor’s lone loss last year, so Art Briles either goes scorched earth…or this, too, is wildly compelling.
WE DON’T HAVE VERNE THIS WEEK, THANK GOD
#10 Alabama at #9 Texas A&M (3:30, CBS) does, though, and this game will be informative in numerous ways:
- Is Texas A&M for real?
- Does the Verne curse extend to other programs? (I don’t think it does.)
In the words of Bart Scott, “CAN’T WAIT.”
Speaking of intriguing, #7 Michigan State at #12 Michigan (3:30, ESPN) has all of the intrigue I didn’t want it to have. Michigan has pitched three straight shutouts, and a fourth against a sneaky-not-that-good Sparty is possible.
Otherwise, the 3:30’s are somewhat ‘meh’. You have 2001-3 appointment watch Virginia Tech at Miami (ESPNU) and just-lost-to-Texas #19 Oklahoma at K-State (ABC).
That should be MORE than enough to skip the Steve Spurrier-less Vandy at South Carolina (SECN, 4) game that you have ZERO reason to watch.
NIGHT GAMES THAT MAY LEAD TO SECOND-SCREENING THE DAWGS
A lot of them.
#8 Florida at #6 LSU (ESPN, 7) loses a little bit of luster, because nobody goes to Death Valley and wins, especially when the road team loses its star QB for PED’s.
USC at #14 Notre Dame (7:30, NBC) and Penn State at #1 Ohio State (8, ABC) are SO compelling…in the past tense, where the past tense includes the preseason AND if you happen to be watching the games with Grandpappy. If you are, bask in his confusion at Ohio State wearing black unis.
For ‘weird things happening’ potential, WE GOT YOU. #3 TCU travels to Ames (7:30, ESPN2) and #5 Clemson hosts just-lost-to-Wake-in-a-3-0-heartbreaker BC on the U at 7.
(P.S.– the Dawgs kick off against Mizzou at 7:30 on the SEC Network. Word)