Thursday, January 29, 2015

ESPN Bashes Clemson's Schedule, Praises Gamecock Schedule

The ACC released the football schedule today for the 2015 season. It was already known who the out of conference games would be for each opponent but the news of the schedule release made ESPN ACC Reporter, Heather Dinich, take notice.

Clemson fans then responded to her non stop on twitter making the usual excuses instead of just admitting that it is a pretty terrible schedule, especially how they open the season.

Heather wasn't done though. She further dug that knife into the back of the taters by tweeting this:

Here is a look at the Gamecock 2015 Football Schedule:

Here is a look at the newly released Clemson 2015 Football Schedule

However, I think the best Clemson schedule released today comes courtesy of  @GTRivalry on twitter

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Hypocrisy of Dabo

By all accounts, Dabo Swinney is a really good guy. However, he is not immune to hypocrisy and it is on full display right now. First, let's look back to June of 2008 when DeAndre McDaniel was arrested on charges of aggravated assault against his girlfriend.  According to police, McDaniel covered his girfriend’s face with a comforter, choked her, punched her in the head and chest and then shoved her down a flight of stairs, causing “serious bodily injury.”

McDaniel was permitted to participate in a pre-trial intervention program – and his arrest record was wiped clean. He was reinstated to the Clemson football program by Tommy Bowden while Dabo was on staff. Dabo would take over four months later and was the head coach for the 2009 and 2010 seasons which included DeAndre McDaniel on the roster. This is something that the Dabo haters like to point out when Dabo came out against domestic violence this past fall when the Ray Rice situation took over the headlines.

Dabo stated he had a zero tolerance policy when it comes to domestic abuse. He even brought up examples from his own childhood and dealing with an alcoholic and abusive father. Dabo was praised for his stance, others pointed to McDaniel as an example of his hypocrisy.

In Dabo's defense, it was Bowden's decision to bring him back and it is a little much to ask Dabo to then kick McDaniel off the team once he became the head coach over something that happened in the past and was settled. I have always defended Dabo on that issue. However, there is no defense for the latest news. 

News broke yesterday that DeAndre McDaniel will be joining the Clemson coaching staff as a graduate assistant. This is just four and a half months after Dabo came out with his zero tolerance policy in the press. How can this be defended?

I have already heard from a few Clemson fans who want to argue about the innocence of McDaniel in the assault case. They reason that his record was wiped out, that the girl changed her story multiple times and is not believable. Here is what McDaniel said while preparing for the NFL Draft in 2011:

“I did put my hands on her,” said McDaniel, insisting the media made it a bigger deal than it was. “Some of that stuff is false. … That’s the only mistake I made in my whole life.”

The police report details are awful. Maybe it is not entirely true but McDaniel does admit to putting his hands on her, admits it was mistake and went ahead and entered PTI instead of fighting the charge. Does this sound like a zero tolerance policy to you?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Transition Time for Gamecock Football

This was originally posted on December 1st, 2014 prior to Will Muschamp agreeing to take over the Defensive Coordinator position at Auburn

It was a tough season with an embarrassing loss to Clemson as the final blow. We now wait for a bowl game that seems beneath us. I have heard comments that we should somehow skip the bowl game because "we don't deserve it". Just stop. The actual game is irrelevant at this point, I get that. What is not irrelevant is the month plus of practice time that we will get for being a bowl team. That is important, especially with what we saw this year on defense. Not playing in a bowl game, just puts us further behind for next season. We can't afford that! I understand the frustration, but let's keep things in perspective.

Where do we go from here? The answer seems to be Will Muschamp. I am on board with that pursuit but I am also very careful to not throw Lorenzo Ward under the proverbial bus. Coach Ward didn't suddenly become awful in one season. He was real good at his job previous to this season. What changed? The talent. I am not saying that Ward shouldn't be held accountable. I would have liked to see more improvement in the defense as the year went along. It wasn't there. However, the amount of talent we lost on defense has more to do with our struggles than anything Lorenzo Ward did or didn't do. Once again, let's keep it in perspective.

I am on board with hiring Muschamp for transition purposes. The big elephant in the room is when Steve Spurrier will retire. He just announced today that he would be back for next season. At some point though, the uncertainty of his future is going to hurt recruiting. Muschamp will be in demand to take over the defenses of Auburn, Texas A&M and maybe even Florida State. He has options. What do we have to offer that nobody else does? A head coaching job in the very near future. 

I believe that Steve Spurrier will do everything in his power to leave the program in the best possible situation when it is time for him to retire. Lou Holtz did that by personally reaching out to Spurrier to take the Gamecock job as he was retiring. It is time for Spurrier and Ray Tanner to do the same. Offer Will Muschamp a contract as the defensive coordinator/Associate Head Coach. Put it in his contract that he will be the Head Coach when Spurrier retires and I am sure the HBC can be candid with Muschamp about that precise timeline.

I make this move because I truly believe that Will Muschamp will be successful as a head coach. I know he struggled at Florida. He made some mistakes and had a lot of bad luck. He never could get the offense going and made a terrible hire of Charlie Weiss as his first offensive coordinator. That bad hire led to a domino effect of misery with the Gator offense. It never got on track. Lesson learned. We can be the beneficiary of a talented young coach who is ready to put the lessons he has learned to use.

Lorenzo Ward becomes a casualty in this plan. I would feel bad for him because I do think he has done a really good job. However, the looming retirement of Spurrier and the availability of Muschamp makes it a critical time for the program. I doubt Ward would stay on in a lesser role, it would be the best of both worlds if he did. The Gamecocks need to be thinking about the transition sooner rather than later. Will Muschamp is the answer for now and more importantly the future.

Go Gamecocks!

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.

Bet at 5dimes

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.

Bet at 5dimes

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.

Monday, August 4, 2014

South Carolina vs Clemson: Positional Rankings

Debates have already started over which team has more talent for the 2014 season. Both teams have clear strengths and both teams have question marks. We summon the great Phil Steele once again and look at his rankings for each position within their conference. For this exercise we are just going to pretend that both the ACC and SEC are equal, difficult I know. Here are the rankings, remember, low number wins.

UnitSouth CarolinaClemson
Running Back48
Offensive Line212
Defensive Line111
Defensive Back94
Special Teams1011

Assuming that both the SEC and ACC are equal, the Gamecocks and Clemson look to be even on paper with the Gamecocks getting a slight edge.

However, the key as always will be in the trenches. The strength for the Gamecocks is their offensive line. The strength for Clemson is their defensive line. 

What raises my eyebrows is that Clemson's offensive line is ranked as the 12th best in the ACC. Keep in mind there are just 14 teams.

The Gamecocks defensive line is ranked 11th in the SEC. However, the Gamecocks are likely to go to a 3-4 defense this year meaning that linebacker play will be very important. The Gamecocks linebacking corp is ranked fourth in the SEC. In the battle of the trenches the edge has to go to the Gamecocks.

I know I told you to pretend both conferences are even. You can stop that right now. Let us be realistic, the SEC is a deeper conference than the ACC. I posted about this when talking about Phil Steele's Power rankings here. So if the Gamecocks are slightly ranked better in the SEC than Clemson is in the ACC, what does that tell you? Stay tuned.