College football’s back!!! Let the heavens sing and the people party. While tonight’s reintroduction to the sport designed to spark months of conversations of postseason controversy doesn’t feature a marquee game — Southern Mississippi at South Carolina — what it symbolizes is good enough. And hey, anytime you get to watch Steve Spurrier juggle quarterbacks, especially when a true freshman is in the mix, times are good.
So let’s raise our glasses to the return of fall weekends devoted to crazy signs behind Lee Corso’s head; Kirk Herbstreit’s perfectly-coiffed hair; a chance to hear Keith Jackson’s voice, even if it is in commercial format; hot college fans and cheerleaders; Layla Kiffin; the SEC on CBS; the madness that is Boise State crashing BCS parties; red sweater vests; new Nike Pro Combat uniforms; Heisman hopefuls; and for me, the return of Randall Cobb — just to name a few.
Life, as we know it, is now good again. To help celebrate, here’s what might be the best rap song about football. Ever.
Yeah, it’s concentrating on the Wildcats, but the chorus reigns supreme:
“It’s the sport of kings, better than diamond rings. Football.”
Beat the newly-minted number one team and storm the floor to celebrate a potentially season-saving win? That’s a fining. That’s right, the University of South Carolina’s victory over Kentucky is going to cost them $25,000, all because the fans went on the floor to join in on the fun of their team celebrating such a big win.
Granted, it’s the rule of the SEC, but are those who run the conference overstepping their purpose here? Is it really necessary to punish a school just because their students wanted to enjoy the victory?.
For what it’s worth, here are the SEC rules about storming the floor:
The policy, approved by all 12 SEC institutions, imposes financial penalties for violations in the sports of football, men’s and women’s basketball. Institutional penalties are $5,000 for a first offense, $25,000 for a second offense and $50,000 for third and subsequent offenses. If an institution is penalized and subsequently does not have a violation for a period of three years (from the date of the most recent violation), that subsequent violation shall be considered a 2nd offense.
Of course, if you would’ve asked South Carolina officials before the game with Kentucky tipped whether or not they’d pay $25K to ensure a win, you probably would’ve received a “yes” answer. With that in mind, I’m guessing the fine will be money well spent, especially when you consider the kind of buzz the Gamecocks are getting — well, at least Devan Downey.
Barrack Obama did NOT jinx your beloved Wildcats yesterday with his congratulatory phone call for the team’s efforts with Haitian relief. I know letting your disappointment from last night’s loss manifest itself into Obama-blaming is the vogue thing to do, but please, lets show a little bit of common sense before going off on such tangents.
Did memories somehow become shorter? Or did North Carolina, you know, the team Obama picked to win the National Championship last season, have their championship taken away? Did his support somehow create a “you lost even though you won” type of jinx?
Considering the levels of abject disapproval for the current President — warranted and/or tea-bagger-created — it wouldn’t be surprising if these kinds of thoughts actually existed.
No, instead of projecting blame onto the idea of something, why not try placing it directly where it belongs: The missed layups by Darnell Dodson and Eric Bledsoe. Patrick Patterson’s second half disappearing act. Having only three players — John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe — score in the second half. Getting outrebounded by an SEC team who ranks dead last in the conference for rebounding margin.
Oh, the inability to at least SLOW DOWN Devan Downey might be a contributing factor as well. In fact, if Obama does get any blame whatsoever; I mean, I’m sure his call did go the teams’ head, the level he receives is minuscule when compared to the rest of the contributing factors.
It was a bad, bad season for SEC Basketball in 08-09. Besides LSU (and surprisingly Auburn), no team has played up to what was expected of them. This especially holds true in the SEC East. For instance, fast forward to the 50 second mark in the above video and you’ll see a great buzzer-beater from Alabama’s Anthony Brock, who attended his grandmother’s funeral the day before he hit the shot that let the Crimson Tide beat the Volunteers in Tennessee. Brock’s shot brought a merciful end to the SEC East regular season schedule, one that saw not one team step up and grab the title. The South Carolina Gamecocks tried to, but lost two-of-three to close out their regular season, leaving the door open for Bruce Pearl’s Volunteers.
However, Tennessee didn’t take advantage of their opportunity to claim the east outright by allowing Anthony Brock’s last-second heroics to beat them. In other words, both South Carolina and Tennessee backed into the SEC East title, something they have to share with one another.
Ah, but which one? Kansas State or Kentucky? How about both teams. One Wildcat team went to Columbia, Missouri, while other went to Columbia, South Carolina. Both teams were absolutely beatdown by their hosts. Missouri smashed K-State, 94-74, and the Gamecocks punished Kentucky, 77-59. Two Wildcat teams in two different Columbias, yet both get beat by an average of 19 points.
The similarities don’t end there either.
Both Kentucky and K-State are 19-9 and both sets of Wildcats are fighting for their tournament lives. Both teams needed to play well on the road to solidify their tournament chances. Neither team did. Kansas State only had one player in double figures — Denis Clemente with 33 — Kentucky had two (Patterson and Meeks). Kentucky only got THIRTEEN points from the rest of their roster, so give K-State a hand there. At least the rest of Frank Martin’s team managed to score 41 to go with Clemente’s 33.
I bet Billy Gillispie would be nice to Jeanine Edwards if it gave him 41 additional points last night; besides Patterson and Meeks, only THREE other players on the roster actually scored for Kentucky.
Just … wow.
If you were seeding the NCAA Tournament today, would either team get a bid? Not from where I’m standing.
On a night filled with basketball buzzer beaters, Zam Fredrick of the South Carolina Gamecocks made a claim for highlight of the night with his game-winning layup against the Florida Gators as time expired (hence the buzzer beater chatter). After missing a free throw that would have tied the game, Fredrick was given a shot at redemption–again, due to missed free throws, this time, from the Gators–and boy, did he ever deliver.
With 3.3 seconds on the clock, Fredrick received a long outlet pass while he was on a run-out. Fredrick collected the pass and converted the layup as the game clock expired. It was one of the more exciting finishes to a conference basketball game in some time–well, until Marshall decided to get in on the fun. As for the Gators, the loss was their first in conference play, leaving them at 3-1 (16-3 overall). The win moved the Gamecocks to 2-2 (13-4) in conference play as first-year coach Darrin Horn looks to get his team back to the NCAA Tournament; a place they haven’t been since 2003-04.
If they keep ending games with this same kind of flair, the Big Dance drought will end for the Gamecocks sooner, rather than later.
Yesterday, the sports blogosphere was buzzing about an apparent tackle of South Carolina Gamecock quarterback Stephen Garcia by the field umpire. The video was quite popular, making its way all the to ESPN’s PTI. During the outcry, it was revealed the umpire in question is Wilbur Hackett Jr and he was a three-year starter at linebacker for the University of Kentucky.
In other words, we now have a motive to attach to Hackett’s actions. First, the video replay:
While South Carolina was choking one away against LSU, for some reason, Gamecock quarterback Stephen Garcia got shoulder blocked by the field umpire for reasons that no one has been made aware of yet.
Here’s the video:
Nice form on that tackle, ump! See how he stayed squared up to the player before making the hit? It’s called fundamentals, folks.
As indicated, no one seems to have an explanation for why that happened. Perhaps the official thought he was in a Buffalo Wild Wings commercial and thought it was his responsibility to prolong the game for the B-Dubs crowd … Or maybe Garcia was mouthing off, saying stuff like, “you couldn’t tackle me if I let you, you blind zebra!” and the ump decided to prove the mouthy quarterback wrong.
As you can see, I’m grasping at straws.
This video is currently being seen around pretty much the entire sports blogosphere, so I’ll just hat-tip the entire industry.