Join us here everyday for thoughts, predictions, scores, and more with some of the best sports authorities in the Upstate. We have blogs from Greg McKinney of "The Huddle," Mark Sturgis and Price Atkinson from "Straight Up With Sturg" and more!
The unofficial halfway point of the college football season is here, as we turn the page into late November.
Thought we're only halfway, it almost feels like entire season has been played thus far with the many wild, crazy and outstanding games and finishes. The fun never ends in college football.
And it won't anytime soon…thank goodness.
The SEC West once again takes center stage this weekend with a trio of games all featuring ranked teams. Mississippi State is the lone non-ranked of the seven in the division, as they head to Kentucky. But Saturday will further separate the division and provide a better read on how things will play out the rest of the way.
Ground zero in college football this Saturday is Tuscaloosa, Ala. The No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide opened up as a WHOPPING 17-point favorite against No. 6 Texas A&M. That's unheard of but Alabama is simply just THAT good right now.
Some are far more confident than I am about A&M's chances. The only way it happens is if Kevin Sumlin's team can take the Tide out of rhythm early and force them into mistakes and turnovers. Easier said than done. Alabama is the measuring stick in the West and the entire SEC. A&M has three wins over ranked opponents this season…but none were named Alabama.
No. 17 Arkansas travels to the Plains for a 6 p.m. showdown against No. 21 Auburn. The Tigers are finally clicking on offense as QB Sean White has tossed six TDs with just one pick since becoming the full-time starter. I love the way Gus Malzahn's team is playing right now and that's with a ton of confidence.
Down in Baton Rouge, the interim Ed Orgeron era has been fun thus far with changes to the offense and a breath of fresh air now percolating around the entire program. Can No. 25 LSU go 3-0 since Orgeron took over for the now unemployed Les Miles?
Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly is the SEC's top signal caller not named Jalen Hurts. He's dangerous throwing the football and makes the Rebels a threat to score on every offensive possession. However, there's another offensive playmaker in this game many around the country haven't heard of yet, while awaiting the return of Leonard Fournette.
LSU running back Derrius Guice is thriving in new offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger's more up-tempo offense. He's got speed, power and an incredible ability to cut on a dime. Oh yeah, Guice is also averaging over nine yards per carry this season and has rushed for more than 160 yards in each of the last-two games thanks to Ensminger.
Outside of the SEC West, the Big 12 and Pac 12 feature the best set of matchups with some sneaky good games on the docket.
Our running docket of picks this season is below with things now a two-horse race between G-Mack and Sturg. No wonder they have their own radio shows…they know more than we do!
As some of you know I went through an amazing, life changing transformation in 2015 thanks to the NutriMost plan that I was endorsing in Orlando while I co-hosted Mike Bianchi's morning show. Between March and August of 2015 I went from 275 lbs to 205 lbs with just two cycles of NutriMost.
I have done a lot of diets in my adult years and not a single one was as successful as NutriMost.
I may have lost some weight with other programs, but it would come back almost immediately and even when I was at the lowest weight the knee and back pain, headaches and other health issues remained.
Before NutriMost my doctor told me that if I didn't get myself on track and fix my problems that not only would I be on cholesterol medications at 30, but making it to 40 would be in question. That's when I decided it was time to wake up and made it happen with NutriMost.
After losing 70 lbs with NutriMost my cholesterol was in the healthy range (NO MEDS!), my knees and back felt great and thanks to finally detoxifying my body of aspartame I finally rid myself of what seemed like an endless headache.
Over the course of almost a year another great result of NutriMost became apparent...I was keeping the weight off. Sure I had gained a few pounds here and there, but with the guidelines that NutriMost taught me I was always able to bounce back even when I had a few football weekends full of beer and wings.
When things did end up turning for the worse, it was completely on me.
I had come to Greenville in June and landed a dream job here with Entercom Upstate and had about three weeks left in Orlando before a week in Tampa on vacation and then the move back here to South Carolina.
In those four weeks I threw caution to the wind, drank like a fish and ate every wonderful food option the City Beautiful and Tarpon Springs had to offer...including a day drinking around the world at Epcot. I then returned to South Carolina and had already spun out of control and continued to eat irresponsibly. No matter how you lose weight, returning to old bad habits will put it right back on and when it does you can only blame yourself.
So again, my jump back into the low 240's over the past 3 months is completely on me and not NutriMost.
Luckily for me, NutriMost isn't exclusive to Central Florida and I have teamed up with NutriMost Greer to get myself back on track just in time for my annual Christmas trip to Los Angeles.
Today is Day 1, the loading day.
I have been packing in the healthy fats all day from avocado to almond butter to cashews. I even have some salmon thawing out in the fridge at home for dinner!
Unlike the first time I did NutriMost I'm heading into this cycle with far more excitement and far more confidence because not only do I know for certain that NutriMost works wonders, but I know that I will once again go through a life changing transformation over the next 40 days.
I will be blogging diet updates on here a few times a week as well as giving daily updates on my Inside the Mind of Ditti Facebook page and on Twitter (@Ditti33). If you want to know more about NutriMost feel free to ask me through any of my various social media outlets or give NutriMost Greer a call at 864-982-5868.
If you aren't in the Upstate of South Carolina, google "NutriMost" and I'm sure you'll find one near you!
Find me on Twitter (@Ditti33), Facebook (/diti33) and Instagram (dittius33).
Tales From The Cockpit is brought to you by NutriMost Greer! If you need to lose 20-40 lbs and want to do it in just 40-days, then give Dr. Joe a call at 864-982-5868! I've done it before and am ready to do it again and so can you!
To keep with my "good-ship lollipop" mentality I guess I should start this off with a positive thought...our Gamecocks did not lose this week and they shouldn't lose next week either with UMass coming to town.
All joking aside, there's still a lot to ponder in this bye week for the Gamecocks. Constant speculation that there might be a Jake Bentley sighting against the Minutemen is the one that sticks out to me.
This is an idea I completely disagree with and will be pretty upset about if it is true.
Will Muschamp told the media that he's evaluating every position and that he has a good plan for what to do at the quarterback position. He's also in recent weeks said that three quarterbacks have taken first team reps but not said that Bentley has taken first team reps...which is kind of confusing.
To me, there is no point in throwing Bentley to the wolves this season. It's a lost season, a bowl game is nearly impossible and definitely improbably and the chances of ruining a kid who should technically be playing on Fridays this year are far too high for my liking.
Bentley enrolled early after graduating high school an entire year early. He could very well be lighting up the world of Alabama high school football again this fall, but instead has been taking 3rd team reps with the Gamecocks since the Summer.
I believe in this kid's ability, I believe that he could be the next great quarterback for South Carolina. I do not believe throwing him behind a Jekyll and Hyde offensive line with sub-par skill position players around him as an 18-year old true Freshman is a wise decision for Coach Boom to make.
Of course if Bentley does play and plays badly then the fans chomping at the bit to get after Kurt Roper or Muschamp himself for the failures of 2016 would finally have a legitimate reason. Bentley is after all a Roper recruit and obviously the son of running backs coach and former Byrnes High School head coach Bobby Bentley.
Maybe that's the real reason for some fans endless need for Bentley to get a chance on this 2-4 Gamecock squad. Maybe they just want to finally have a justifiable gripe against the current regime and if the 18-year old can't get the job done...well that's on Muschamp and company.
Call me crazy, but I'd rather lose with Perry Orth giving his every ounce of effort and pride out there then see a kid who could be the future of the team lose his confidence getting tossed around like a rag-doll by the defenses of Florida and Clemson (among others). I literally see no logical reason to waste a year of Bentley's eligibility this late in the season when you know the end result of the season will not be a good one whether he plays or not.
It's not my call though, so I guess we'll find out this Saturday when the Gamecocks welcome the Minutemen into Williams-Brice Stadium for their noon showdown. All I know for sure is that no matter who lines up behind center...this game is a must win and it's time for the offense to finally score some points against a 1-6 UMass team.
I'm not willing to talk about failure this season, but if the Gamecocks offense fails to score in bunches this weekend...maybe I'll change my mind.
For now, keep your heads up and keep looking towards the future.
Forever to thee.
Find me on Twitter (@Ditti33), Facebook (/ditti33) and Instagram (dittius33).
What will be this weekend's earth-rattling upset in college football like Navy's win last against Houston?
My friend and Nashville radio how Bill King posed that question to me earlier this week on his WNSRmorning radio show. And I didn't have a earth-rattling answer to his question except three points:
1) It won't be Tennessee over Alabama in Knoxville.
2) It won't be Wisconsin upsetting Ohio State Saturday night in Madison.
3) There will be an upset only because of two synonymous factors in that this is college football and the month of October. And you know what that means.
A loss by No. 3 Clemson to a mediocre NC State squad would certainly qualify but I'm 99% confident it's not happening. Michigan, Washington and Texas A&M all have mid-season byes. With No. 8 Wisky and No. 9 Tennessee at home against the nation's top two, both games circled by Badger and Vol fans since the 2016 scheduled came out.
I'm more convinced than ever at this point of Alabama and Ohio State running the regular season table and going undefeated,.
Which leads us to undefeated No. 10 Nebraska heading to Bloomington facing an upstart Indiana team. Hoosier Hysteria hosted by ESPN college hoops analyst Seth Greenberg kicks off a big weekend in Hoosier-land. Despite being overshadowed by the big showdown in Madison, keep an eye on this one starting with Nebraska's balanced ground game led by transformed senior QB Tommy Armstrong Jr, who looks like a completely different player this season.
Undefeated and 24th-ranked Western Michigan is halfway to crashing the New Years' Day Six but has likely their biggest challenge of their entire season against the MAC's other division leader Akron. The Zips haven't beaten WMU in two decades. But 6-foot-3 senior wide receiver Corey Davis is one of the country's best you've never heard of, hauling in the second most TD catches in the country (8), while averaging 16.4 yards per catch.
On the flip side, Terry Bowden's Akron team is juggling quarterbacks due to injury and the Zips' defense will have to play significantly better than in recent weeks to slow down Broncos' QB Zach Terrell. Akron receiver Jerome Lane is no slouch either and should give WMU head coach P.J. Fleck's secondary fits it hasn't experience all season.
I'm also interested to see how Wake Forest tests Florida State in Tallahassee, specifically to better gauge just how improved and serious Dave Clawson's 5-1 Demon Deacons are.
Interesting was also one way to define this week's will-they-or-won't-they debate regarding the previously postponed and blundered LSU-Florida game. Hurricane Matthew threw a curve ball into the heart of the SEC's league schedule that only Clayton Kershaw that Commissioner Greg Sankey could only watch and marvel at. Which is all he basically did in allowing both LSU and Florida ADs to go on the offensive and bicker publicly.
Sankey didn't step up and into the situation with leadership until the SEC's credibility was on the line. After public ridicule and embarrassment, the second-year Commissioner brokered a deal using what amounted to a threat to have the game officially rescheduled for November 19.
Moving forward, Sankey's clout will be questioned. And his leadership judged. But he did save face and a football game between the Tigers and Gators will be played.
Unlike the other seven pickers below, this begins the time of year when I turn one eye to and begin preparing for the upcoming college basketball season and get dusted by the field. What am I saying…we're all about to get dusted by G-Mack!
Fingers are being pointed in every direction after a 3rd straight loss and a 2-4 record heading into the bye week and I'm here to tell you to stop it...just stop it.
Yes, 2-4 is frustrating and it's easy to point at Muschamp's tenure at Florida and bail out after now just 6 football games. The thing is, this isn't Florida and at this juncture you cannot blame Will Muschamp for the absence of talent on the field. Especially on the offensive side of the ball.
Broken record alert: Steve Spurrier admitted that he stopped recruiting.
If you want to place blame for the decrepit offense, blame the legend. I'm not saying be a jerk about it or that you should claim he "tarnished his legacy." That's buffoonish...but yes, he completely and totally is to blame for what the product on the field is right now.
I've always found it funny that we are so quick to give the previous coach credit for winning seasons, but then quick to blame the current coach in their first year for losing seasons. This isn't Will Muschamp's team yet, it's still Spurrier's team that Muschamp is trying to fix.
There are glimmers of hope with Deebo Samuel, Bryan Edwards and Hayden Hurst on the outside. There's even some hope in the backfield with Freshmen backs A.J. Turner and Rico Dowdle...even if they only combined for 60-yards yesterday.
The glimmers of hope, however, were destroyed by turnovers.
The Perry Orth interception was his one blemish on an otherwise solid afternoon (26/36 288-yards) and of course the 2 fumbles lost by the young running backs. Turnovers kill and in this game they did even more damage than you think.
With the offenses inability to move the football down the field coupled with the three turnovers by the offense, the defense was under an immense amount of pressure to keep this thing close...and they still did. It was only 14-0 at the half and 14-7 late in the 3rd quarter.
If you are able to extend any kind of drives to give the defense rest and obviously find a way to hold onto the ball and keep possession, then who knows how this game would have gone.
Georgia had a one-dimensional offensive approach. Run Chubb and Michel. Of UGA's 355 yards of offense, 326 was on the ground thanks to these two men. That being the case, the Georgia offense still only scored 21-points against the Gamecocks defense (obviously not counting the onside kick debacle as a TD against the defense). Something that could have limited the output of the two-heading rushing beast...limiting their time of possession.
If Carolina holds onto the ball, can dink and dunk their way to just a few field goal opportunities, this game looks far different. Not saying the Gamecocks would have won, but they had their chances without doing this, just imagine the chances they would have had if they could have.
Silver Lining Time
By now you should be used to my "Good Ship Lollipop" approach to this season. There is no hope of a bowl game anymore and there's no use in being a constant source of negativity. So for my Central Florida sports fan friends, you can call me the Jacque Vaughn of Gamecock coverage (SC friends I suggest you google some of Jacque's greatest positive spins on the Magic's 20-win seasons).
So here it is, my silver lining and one you've already heard over and over and over again so far this season.
This defense is FAR better than they were in 2015 and 2014. They finish tackles, they get off the field on 3rd downs and they keep teams from scoring a ton of points. Texas A&M had 24-points against the Gamecocks. They had 35 in regulation and 45 overall against Tennessee (a then top-10 team).
Georgia may not be a high-scoring offense, but when you rush for 326-yards you typically score more than 21-points on offense (again, onside kick TD wasn't an offensive TD). Also, yet again I had been told all week-long about how much Georgia was going to light up the Gamecock's defense and that Jacob Eason would have a huge game. Eason was 5/17 for 29-yards and a TD...not quite lighting it up.
I cannot stress enough that this alone is why we need to hold out hope for the Muschamp Era. The defense was nonexistent in 2015, that is not the case this year. This year the defense is the only reason why the Gamecocks have a chance.
Another silver lining...and another I pointed out last week...this team has no quit and may lose, but loses with dignity. That I respect.
They fought and clawed all the way up to the onside kick debacle and that was what it was...oh well, it happens. The important thing is that the team didn't give up. I feel like the 2015 team would have been down and out after UGA marched down the field on the opening drive for the easy score. This team wasn't.
Since the Clemson game to end last season I have seen a new energy. I think that energy started with Shawn Elliott and has been taken to a new level by Will Muschamp.
So judge him all you want after just half of a football season, but just don't judge him erroneously.
It's time to stop it.
Stop it with the negativity, we knew this wasn't going to be a good season coming in.
Stop it with the Muschamp bashing, it's far too soon to blame him.
Most importantly, stop it with the attacking players on social media to those who feel it necessary to do. You have no right, they are out their busting their backsides for us, so be a REAL fan and support them no matter what the outcomes of games are.
Enjoy the bye week...I know our boys need the rest before the toughest part of the schedule comes. Keep your heads up, keep looking to the future and keep supporting our Gamecocks!
Forever to thee.
Find me on Twitter (@Ditti33), Facebook (/ditti33) and Instagram (dittius33).
(Note: This week's post and college football picks is dedicated to our fallen little hero Jacob Hall and his family.)
Youth. Innocence. Promise. It lives in all of us young and old. Big and small. Even good and bad.
Our inner juvenile streak rears its head in daily decisions, whether it's deciding to play a Wii game instead of studying for an extra 20 minutes before bed or going out for a Saturday afternoon ice cream with the kids instead of mowing the yard.
Last week by a local juvenile teen decided to show up at Townsville Elementary School was anything but innocence and nothing but evil. I'll refrain from using his name in order to avoid giving the criminal any publicity and out of respect for the Hall family.
Six-year-old superhero Jacob Hall was wounded in the shooting. And last Saturday, Jacob's youth, innocence and promise were lost as he passed away. He went to Heaven and very likely immediately donned a new superhero cape to begin keeping watch over his family and Townsville classmates.
A community was shattered. And an Upstate family was torn apart.
Much like when evil took the life of Greenville police officer Allen Jacobs back in Mark, the tragedy at Townsville shares several similar unfortunate characteristics.
First off, both were senseless and both involved teenagers with a gun. Why and how we don't know but neither had any business whatsoever with the weapons.
But in the midst of tragedy, something else happened this week that immediately took me back to this past spring and Officer Jacobs' untimely death. I watched our Upstate community come together as one, rally against evil and support a family and little boy most of us have never met or will never have the chance to meet now. It's what we do around here when tragedy seems to strike. Come together.
Superhero shirts came together by the dozens at Upstate schools, grocery stores, businesses and gas stations. I passed them in parking lots and hallways. Everyone signaling their support for the Hall family and little Jacob. You couldn't not notice the youthful innocence of adults donning Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle or Superman everywhere.
Forget about debates surrounding the mentally ill, gun control or school security. Too many of today's problems in society are a result of failing at the kitchen table and in the walls of our own homes.
Let's start by loving, caring and teaching our kids and the next generation of leaders right from wrong. Let's not wait until the next senseless act of violence occurs. Let's be proactive in the days ahead rather than just the days surrounding tragedy. Let's encourage responsibility and accountability.
We're all responsible for our own actions in a day and age where passing the buck seems more acceptable than ever with others and society left to pick up the pieces. I know we've had some difficult conversations in my own house this week with my four and six-year olds about some very sensitive topics and issues.
But it has to start somewhere. That place is right here at home, sitting at my kitchen table where I'm typing.
Instead of letting things fade out as another weekend of college football is upon us, let's keep working and teaching as guardians. We must never stop. Our kids need superheroes of their own - parents or guardians just like you and me.
Take a deep breath and read what I have to say before lashing out about the title of this blog.
Following the Gamecocks' loss in Lexington, Carolina fans were down in the dumps searching for any and every reason why Muschamp was already a failure after just four football games.
Well one week later, the Gamecocks lost again...but I'm not sure anybody can truly tell me that there has not been an obvious improvement from one year ago.
Yes, the offense continues to ghost...but as I've spelled out in almost every single blog this season, there's not much Muschamp can do with that. At least not yet.
If we sit 5-weeks into the 2017 season and the Gamecocks still don't have the ability to score more than 20-points a game...then okay, let's talk about failure. Right now, in 2016, it's not about the underdeveloped, talent deprived offense learning a new system.
In 2016 it's about a vastly improved defense that was basically non-existent in 2015.
The Gamecocks defense allowed 330 points in 2015, ranking them at 68th in that category. So far in 2016, the Gamecocks have only allowed 93 points on the season ranking them 32nd in a tie with Mississippi State. In points allowed per game, the Gamecocks defense ranks 23rd in the FBS allowing just 18.6 points per game.
Again, this hasn't translated to wins and their total defense ranking still isn't great, but it's the beginning.
Of course, this will cue up the rival fans and their "quantifying losses" commentary, but guess what...that is where we are right now. Let them talk, let them boast and let them think they'll never have to be in our shoes again, but they will.
Eventually everybody bottoms out and has to start over.
In 2015, we bottomed out. In 2016 we are starting over. This isn't fun, I know, but at this point it is what it is. I sound like a broken record I'm sure, but right now it's about finding the silver linings in each game.
To me, holding a high-powered Texas A&M offense to their lowest point total of the year, holding Trevor Knight to a season-low 206 yards, keeping him from throwing a touchdown pass and of course beating the spread (and my own expectations) are all silver linings for the Gamecocks.
The offense is going to take time, there's no doubt about that. That's why I don't see any reason so play Jake Bentley this year. Let Orth and McIlwain take the lumps and red-shirt Bentley. This season is going to be mediocre at its absolute best and even that will take a miracle or two down the stretch.
I had a conversation with fan-favorite Tim "Pops" Frisby on Twitter this week and we agreed that Muschamp has a much tougher job ahead of him than Spurrier did beginning in 2005. That Gamecocks team had much better recruits for HBC to work with. Spurrier himself even admitted that he dropped the ball over the last few years in recruiting.
Muschamp's cupboard is bare and to be perfectly honest, I'm impressed with what he's been able to do with it so far...especially on the defensive side of the ball.
I am still going to hold on to my lofty prediction of a home win over Georgia this weekend, but the Gamecocks will need to exceed my expectations with a win over Missouri or maybe Florida later in the season to reach 6-6...that may or may not be possible, I don't know, but again let's be cautiously optimistic.
For now, keep supporting this team as it fights and claws to climb out of this gigantic hole and continue to show up and show out at Williams-Brice!
Forever to thee!
Find me on Twitter (@Ditti33), Facebook (/ditti33) and Instagram (dittius33).
The buzz is distinct. The excitement is luminous. And the hype is clear. Tiger Town, USA is the epicenter of college football once again this Saturday on the first day of October.
As a result, my phone has been ringing a lot this week, doing several guest interviews on various radio stations around the country, all interested in one thing. No. 3 Louisville against No. 5 Clemson Saturday night in Death Valley.
One topic and question came up on every single radio hit I did. And that was, “Is the loser of Saturday’s game between Louisville-Clemson out of contention for the College Football Playoff?”
Easy answer, no. But possibly.
A close loss followed by the loser running the table the rest of the way would result in an 11-1 regular season mark and possibly missing out on the ACC Championship Game (now set for Orlando). Which might be a good thing.
If the Cards or Tigers are soundly beaten, the losing team will simply be tossed into the mix with a handful of other teams that the CFB Playoff Selection Committee would have to carefully consider and evaluate.
The scenario above obviously assumes a one-loss Clemson beats No. 12 Florida State in late October or a one-loss Louisville gets by No. 6 Houston (Tom Herman’s one-loss Cougars would be all but eliminated) on the road (Nov. 17). A close loss by either coupled with 11-1 regular season records that would be further enhanced by quality wins late in the season could be enough to put two ACC teams into the Playoff.
We can play ‘what if’ until the cows walk home and Les Miles puts the next blade of grass between his teeth. But right now, no conference besides the Big Ten is better positioned to potentially put two teams into the Playoff for the first time than the ACC.
Don’t worry folks, Alabama is the firewall ensuring that the four teams aren’t from just two conferences (ACC, Big Ten). Unlike the Big 12 playing for mere respectability the rest of the way, the Pac-12 isn’t exactly out of this thing either.
September is for getting out of the starting gate, October is for positioning and November is for finishing. The first Saturday in December is merely a ticket-punching coronation. The positioning part is when things get REALLY fun.
Th fun fires up this evening at You Dub, as No. 10 Washington hosts No. 7 Stanford where we’ll find out more about the Huskies who started high but haven’t beaten anyone of consequence. Consequently, the Cardinal are led by Heisman candidate Christian McCaffrey and already have wins over Kansas State, Southern Cal and UCLA in their back pockets.
After a convincing 30-6 beatdown of Michigan State last weekend, Wisky continues its brutal five-game stretch with another road test at No. 4 Michigan. Like Washington, the Wolverines have yet to be tested or leave the Big House yet this season. That changes tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 p.m.
Besides Louisville-Clemson, the hardest game we had to pick below in my book was No. 11 Tennessee at No. 25 Georgia. The Vols got the biggest win of the Butch Jones era and a mental monkey off their backs last weekend in finally getting past Florida. Might UT have escape their early-season pressure and play looser from here on out?
The Bulldogs were embarrassed for four quarters in a humiliating 45-14 loss at Ole Miss. Expect the ebbs and flows of the true frosh Jacob Eason-led offense to continue early for UGA. I went with the Vols in a close one.
October is special for me and not just because college basketball officially gets going. This is big boy football time…I’m ready for the meat of the 2016 season. Here’s how we played it this week with G-Mack continuing to run away with it...
Saturday night in Lexington didn't go as planned for the Gamecocks.
Carolina's offense was only able to score 10 points against a defense that was averaging over 40-points against a game. Just 10 points against one of the worst defenses in all of college football. A defense that yielded 42 points to New Mexico State just one week before.
This part is what is most frustrating for Gamecocks fans.
The defense cannot take the blame for this loss. They held the Kentucky offense, led by a mobile QB in Stephen Johnson, to just 17 points. The two-headed running back for the Wildcats, Stanley Williams and Benjamin Snell Jr, did combine for 196 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground...but when you give up just 17 points, you should win the football game.
Therefore the frustrations have to lie with the offense. So cue the Gator fan chorus of "I told you so" about the Muschamp/Roper offense, but I for one don't agree with that being the issue.
The issue for me still stems from reality.
The reality that Steve Spurrier and company didn't really do much recruiting the last couple of years. The reality that this team is devoid of developed talent. The reality that Brandon McIlwain has just 2-games of experience as a starting quarterback after last night's loss to Kentucky.
Reality is why I can take a loss like the one we saw in Lexington and still have a positive outlook for the future. Sure my 6-6 prediction is now in jeopardy as a win against Kentucky was part of that puzzle...but the future doesn't only include 2016.
Some of our fan base has been a little spoiled over the last handful of years and now they have delusions of grandeur. The delusions including, but are not limited to, thinking there is a quick fix to the mess that befell our team last season.
You may not have wanted Muschamp for this job, but let me tell you right now that not Tom Herman, Justin Fuente or even Mark Richt would be able to make this team a legitimate contender over night. So hate on Muschamp or Roper all you want, but nothing was going to happen overnight.
Patience is needed from the fan for this chapter of Gamecocks football.
I know this is a tough task right now with Clemson having so much success, but the Tigers rise to being a national contender didn't just happen overnight either. Tommy Bowden was fired after a 3-3 start in 2007, Dabo Swinney then went 4-3 to bring the Tigers to 7-6.
Between 2010 and now the Tigers have won 10 or more games every season, that's two and a half seasons with Swinney before national relevance and still at that time Clemson wasn't considered a legitimate title contender yet.
In 2015 Clemson rose to the level of legitimate contender. That's eight and a half seasons under Dabo Swinney before their playoff berth. Yes, multiple BCS berths and multiple ACC titles were a part of the path to the top, but again, none of it happened overnight.
Now I'm not sharing in the delusions of grandeur here and saying that the Gamecocks under Muschamp will be a national contender anytime soon, or maybe even at all.
I live in the world of reality and know that's expecting far too much. The reason I'm pointing all of this out is because I'm seeing far too many Gamecocks fans bailing on this coaching staff and these players after just four football games.
We need to be patient. Rebuilding this program will take time. I still believe Muschamp and the coaching staff he put together will turn this thing around and I firmly believe we've already seen the beginnings of a bright future.
So take a deep breath Gamecock fans. It will all be okay.
Forever to thee.
Find me on Twitter (@Ditti33), Facebook (/ditti33) and Instagram (dittius33).
It’s the question of the hour and this weekend as we’re going on a road trip to the Bluegrass. Doing the Clemson postgame show, the weekends are typically filled except this Saturday thanks to tonight’s game at Georgia Tech.
We’re heading up I-75 tomorrow morning with destination Lexington, Ky. to cover South Carolina’s game Saturday night at Kentucky (7:30 pm, SEC Network). Whether it was Columbia or somewhere halfway driveable from the Upstate, we planned to sail to wherever the Gamecocks were playing.
Turns out a pair of aces popped up for me in getting the chance to return to my alma mater this weekend. Will I be decked out in UK blue? No. Why? Because we’re there to cover USC. Do I want them to win? Yes, but they have zero shot in winning tomorrow or another game all season.
Sturg has been dropping hints for two weeks about the amount of blue he’s packing or plans to come home with. Maybe after all these years I’ve rubbed off on him a touch.
If you’re a Carolina fan and making the trip to Lexington, come by and see us tomorrow/Friday afternoon as we’ll be broadcasting “Straight Up With Sturg” live from 4:00-7:00 pm at Street Craves (395 South Limestone) on the edge of the UK campus. Located on the corner of Limestone and the Avenue of Champions, we’ll be setup on the patio, so stop in, have a cold one and get your weekend started with us.
Hopefully, Sturg will be hopping with excitement that he’ll take us all for a night out on the town in Lexington right after the show and start by paying a visit to the world famous Two Keys Tavern. If he’s not excited then, he will be by the time we’re done at the Keys.
No matter what the night and weekends holds in store, we’re prime to see some bad football Saturday evening at Commonwealth Stadium. USC is experiencing the typical growing pains of a young team but fended off a pesky East Carolina team last weekend. The Gamecocks should have no trouble with UK to improve to 3-1 overall.
The Wildcats have lost starting quarterback Drew Barker for the foreseeable future, have given up the most touchdowns of any Power 5 school in the country and can’t stop a nosebleed on third down.
I expect Brandon Mcilwain to have a big night running the ball and making plays in his second-career start for Will Muschamp’s team en route to a 43-13 win. It’s gonna be ugly.
One that won’t be ugly is No. 19 Florida at No. 14 Tennessee. Sure the Gators have won 11 straight thanks to the Vols’ blowing last year’s game in the final seconds. However, the strength of Florida’s defense against the “octane” of the Tennessee offense should be fun. UT head coach Butch Jones desperately needs this game for a multitude of reasons with the inside track to the SEC title game at the very top of his list.
There’s a lot of other sneaky good games Saturday like No. 13 Florida State at South Florida, No. 7 Stanford at UCLA, Penn State at No. 4 Michigan and Pittsburgh at UNC.
The SEC has a bevy of enticing games including No. 12 Georgia at No. 23 Ole Miss, No. 18 LSU at Auburn and No. 17 Arkansas versus No. 10 Texas A&M at “Jerry’s World.”
I can’t wait to take it all in starting tonight with No. 5 Clemson at Georgia Tech followed by the usual shenanigans of Sturg letting loose away from home. Stay tuned for posts from the road!