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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

1984 Gamecock Football Simulation: Week 2

The Gamecocks beat Duke 21-0 in real life in 1984 to go 2-0. The simulated 1984 Gamecocks had a much tougher time. Williams-Brice Stadium saw a downpour for much of the game turning it into a sloppy field and sloppy play. Thomas Dendy fumbled on his first two carries leading to some easy Duke points.

Duke led 16-14 late in the third quarter when Mike Hold hit Ira Hillary on a 48 yard touchdown pass to give the Gamecocks the lead.

The Gamecocks would tack on another touchdown thanks to the running of Kent Hagood who went over 100 yards again on the ground.

There were nine turnovers in the game, five by South Carolina. The Gamecocks overcame the miscues to win 28-16 and will host Georgia next week. Georgia is 2-0 and coming off a 16-13 win over Clemson.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

SEC/ACC Football Power Rankings and Predictions: Week 9

We check in with the Jeff Sagarin rankings and are reminded again just how dominant the SEC conference continue to be. The only change I have made is rounding the power number up for each team. It is why you will see some teams with the same power number but ranked ahead of each other.

Week 9 SEC/ACC Power Rankings
Power Number
1. Ole Miss97
2. Alabama97
3. Auburn97
4. Mississippi State94
5. Georgia92
6. Florida State88
7. LSU88
8. Texas A&M86
9. Clemson85
10 Missouri81
11 Florida81
12. Louisville80
13. Tennessee80
14. Arkansas79
15. South Carolina79
16. Virginia Tech78
17. Duke78
18. Miami77
19. Kentucky74
20. Georgia Tech74
21. Pittsburgh74
22. Virginia73
23. Boston College73
24. North Carolina71
25. Syracuse71
26. N.C State68
27. Vanderbilt59
28. Wake Forest54

Using the power numbers we now look at the games for this week and predict the results. Home teams get a three to four point boost to their power rankings depending on their home field advantage.

Miss StateKentuckyMiss St by 16Miss State -15
VandyMissouriMissouri by 25Missouri -23.5
Ole MissLSUOle Miss by 5Ole Miss -3.5
South CarolinaAuburnAuburn by 21Auburn -19
AlabamaTennesseeAlabama by 13Tennessee +17
UNCVirginiaVirginia by 5UNC +6.5
BCWake ForestBC by 16BC -13.5
GTPittPitt by 3NA
SUClemsonClemson by 18Clemson -14.5

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

1984 Gamecock Football Simulation: Week 1

30 years ago the Gamecocks had one of their best seasons in school history. The Gamecocks climbed to #2 in the poll following a win over Florida State and improving their record to 9-0. 

The national title was within grasp when the Gamecocks traveled to Navy and lost. The Gamecocks would beat Clemson the following week and then lose to Oklahoma State in the Gator Bowl to finish the season 10-2 and ranked #11 in the final AP Poll. They were ranked #7 following the regular season.

While our Gamecocks struggle to find their way in 2014, 1984 is a magical reminder of a special team and a special season. The Second and Ten football simulator can help us all remember that special team. I have decided to celebrate the 30 year anniversary of this historic Gamecock team by simulating the season week by week. This is the same simulator that I used to do the World Cup of College Football.

I will take the controls of the 1984 Gamecocks and call plays, manage depth charts and "coach" the games. Joe Morrison will be with me in spirit I am sure. With the playoffs in the air for the first time in 2014, I will take the final regular season rankings and create a 4 team playoff.

The first week matchup in 1984 was against The Citadel. In real life the Gamecocks struggled and held on to beat the Bulldogs 31-24.

In the first week of the simulation the Gamecocks at time struggled but pulled away late 35-7.

The Gamecocks strength in 1984 was their running game and defense. Their depth at running back was very similar to the depth the 2014 Gamecocks enjoy. Kent Hagood, Thomas Dendy and Quinton Lewis lead the way. Then there are the quarterbacks who are both dangerous running the ball in Mike Hold and Allen Mitchell.

The Gamecocks would rush for 398 yards in the Week 1 simulation and hold The Citadel to just 24 yards on the ground. That was the difference in the ball game. Hagood would lead the way with 127 yards on the ground.

Below is the break down of the Week 1 simulation. Keep in mind, the Second and Ten simulator does not recognize college teams that are not Division I. Therefore, The Citadel is just a generic non division I team. It might be why the simulated Gamecocks had a much easier time than they did in real life.

The Gamecocks face Duke next week. Duke has a pretty explosive offense and it should challenge this Gamecock defense. Stay tuned.

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Texas A&M Post Game Analysis: Licking Our Wounds

I woke up Friday hoping it was all a dream. I woke up Saturday hoping for the same thing. It is Sunday now and it has finally set in, Thursday night was not a dream.

Going into the game I was about 95% sure the Gamecocks would win. I was about 50% sure we would play well while doing it.

My rationale was Texas A&M was loaded with talent but very young. I was thankful we had them at home and early. I liked the set up, beat the Aggies by a couple of touchdowns now and then watch those Aggies get better each week and contend for the West title in the SEC. 

My rationale was flawed, the young Aggies were ready to play and our young Gamecocks on defense were not. Understatement of the year. That is on the coaches. I don't want Spurrier or Ward fired and neither should you, but that embarrassing loss needs to be owned by them. 

The question is just how bad was it? Is Texas A&M that good or were we that bad? We don't have the answer to that. My eyes tell me Texas A&M is that good and are only going to get better. If you look at it in that context the loss is a bit easier to take, not easy but easier.

Going forward there is reason to be optimistic. While Ward and Spurrier deserve their share of criticism for Thursday, they also have a great track record for making their teams better as the season goes along. 

Last year we saw this against Georgia, our defense looked bad, not quite as bad as Thursday but it wasn't pretty last year in Athens. The defense got better and by the end was pretty good.

There is a ton of talent on this defense. I know it didn't appear to be the case on Thursday. The talent is there. Going into the season it was their youth that was the question. They will get better each game. Will it be good enough? That is the million dollar question.

The Gamecocks and Spurrier need to do things to protect the defense.  Don't get me wrong, play calling is not why we lost on Thursday. That being said, we abandoned the run right away. This is a Spurrier trait that rears its ugly head every so often. The Gamecocks strength is their offensive line and their talented and deep running backs. The Gamecocks need to get in the Power-I-Formation and pound it on the ground and then use the play action to take shots deep. This is how the Gamecocks will give themselves a chance this year. 

The goals for the season are still there, the margin of error just got smaller. The Georgia game now becomes bigger than ever. The Gamecocks will now be home underdogs, I like that. The Bulldogs were impressive against Clemson but they do have weaknesses we can exploit. It is time to lick our wounds.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

College Football Pick 'Em Contest

College football season is here and it is time for the College Pick 'Em Challenge. The contest is real simple. Each week ESPN chooses ten college football games. Your job is to pick a winner for each game and then rank how confident you are in each game you pick. The confidence value you give each pick will be how many points you are awarded if you get that pick correct. Your points will add up each week all season long.

All the games will be Saturday games and you will have until noon on Saturday to get your picks in.

This year we are adding a little more incentive with a $20 buy in. The payouts will go as follows:

1st place: 65% of the pool
2nd place: 25% of the pool
3rd place: 10% of the pool

To enter the contest, click here and create your entry. Once you do that you will then search for the group name. The group name is Otis Day and the Knights. The password is password.

You have until Saturday at noon to get your picks submitted. The $20 is expected to be paid by early October. Don't be that guy....or girl who doesn't pay. Payment information is found within the group or you can email  Good luck!

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Best Teams in School History: South Carolina vs Clemson

I have many Clemson fans who read this blog on a regular basis and I hear from them often with their disagreements about my views on things. Sometimes the truth hurts. That works both ways. This is a post that I think Clemson fans are going to like a lot. Don't worry fellow Gamecocks, I will figure out a way to spin it by the end of the post.

The topic is history, something Clemson fans live and feed off of on a daily basis. One of my all time favorite websites is Baseball Reference. Well, the people that brought you that website now have similar sites for the NFL and College Football. These sites are amazing. For example, this site makes it easy to access stats when you are trying to prove some tater wrong about something dumb they said on a message board.

The site uses the SRS which stands for Simple Rating System. The simple rating system as you can imagine is pretty simple. It rates a team on two things, point differential and strength of schedule. 

I have done a couple of blog posts comparing the rosters of both Carolina and Clemson this year along with their schedules. Carolina came out on top in both. I decided I would now compare the history of their greatest teams. I know Clemson leads the all time series and I know they have a national championship. Clemson fans for some reason tend to mention those things a few times every hour. I was hoping though that our five best teams were better than their five best teams based on the SRS. Unfortunately, the facts did not show this. I thought about destroying my research, never to be seen again, but instead I decided to post it. After all, this is a fair and balanced blog......ok...maybe not but still. Here is the research.

South Carolina
YearSRSWinsAP HighAP FinishScheduleRival Win

Time for some observations, the first is that the 1987 Gamecocks are the best team in school history according to SRS. They went 8-4 and yet get the honors. How is this possible? Well, the 1987 Gamecocks played an unreal schedule and when they lost it was close and when they won it was a blowout. As I mentioned, the SRS is simple but it is interesting how well the 1987 Gamecocks look using this system.

Now for the bad news, the four best Clemson teams are all better than any team we have ever had. The SRS is not only simple but it is stupid. Ok, I actually like the SRS and I liked it a lot more before I did this research.

I also need to be honest about the average win totals, as the chart shows both teams averaged ten wins a season during their five best teams. Since Clemson's best teams were sooooooo long ago, teams played one less game than they do now. 

Our five best teams have never lost to Clemson, their five best teams have never lost to us. Makes sense.

However, let's spin this a bit. Notice the schedule ratings? This is a topic that often comes up in debates. Once again, a Clemson fan can never talk about strength of schedule to a Gamecock fan. We will give you the history debate and all of that but please don't bring up or compare our schedules. They just don't compare now or historically.

I tip my hat to Clemson, they win the history argument just about any way you want to slice it. Trust me, I was looking for a way to slice it in the favor of the Gamecocks. However, I do want to point out that four of our five best teams in history have been the last four seasons. There also seems to be no sign of the Gamecocks getting worse.  The present is good and the future looks bright. Now, let's take a look at Clemson. 1990 is a long time ago. That is the last season they had a team that ranked in their top five historically. This is two years before Bill Clinton became President. The Atlanta Braves were the worst team in baseball and had the first overall draft pick and selected a guy named Chipper Jones. 1990 was a long time ago, a real long time ago, real long. So congrats to Clemson on their history but it is pretty clear the present belongs to the Gamecocks and the future looks awful garnet as well.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Christian Walker Rising Through The Orioles System

Christian Walker will always be remembered by Gamecock fans for the home-run he hit against Coastal Carolina in the Super Regional. The homer ignited the Gamecocks to Omaha and a national championship.

Walker might be hitting homers for the Baltimore Orioles soon. Walker was promoted to AAA less than a month ago after dominating AA. Walker went 3-4 last night with a homer. He is now hitting .286 with 3 HR in 19 games in AAA. He hit .301 with 20 homers in AA this season.

Walker's success has not gone unnoticed by the big club. On the Baltimore Orioles telecast on Wednesday night he was featured as their minor league player of the week.

Buck Showalter is high on him but cautioned the press. Showalter had a conversation with Walker after he was promoted to AAA. He told Walker he didn't care how well he hit in AAA, if his defense at first base did not improve he would not be getting called up. Apparently the conversation hit home with Walker. By all accounts he has been working extremely hard on his defense and it is showing improvement. If he keeps it up he could be joining fellow Gamecock Steve Pearce as the Orioles make a run to the postseason.