This is South Carolina

March 25, 2009

While my time in South Carolina is drawing short, there are a few comments I’d like to make about how ridiculous this state remains. I first moved to South Carolina in the fall of 2001 to go to college in Greenville. I graduated in 2005 and then moved back to the state, to Columbia, in the summer of 2007. So for most of the past decade I’ve been living in the state. Not much has changed while I’ve been here, except one thing. The state is no longer allowed to host NCAA tournament games of any kind in any sport.

My first year at Furman, the BI-LO Center in Greenville hosted first and second round NCAA tournament basketball. While I didn’t actually go, the city was buzzing with people for a week. This was the spring of 2002. Since that weekend seven years ago, South Carolina has been barred from hosting games because of the Confederate flag that flies on the state house grounds, now just five blocks from where I live. With protests from the NAACP (among many other groups) the flag was removed from flying atop the state house (where it had been since 1962) and placed next to the monument to Confederate soldiers at the intersection of Main Street and Gervais Street in downtown in 2000. As long as that flag flies there (or anywhere) the entire state of South Carolina is barred.

In a purely objective sense, it doesn’t really bother me that the flag is flying. For as many people as there are in this state who detest the flag as a symbol of racism and hatred, there are equal legions of folks who see it as a symbol of cultural heritage and state pride. I am not going to judge either side for their arguments. But there is a very different argument that is especially pertinent this year.

The economy in this country is in shambles. Of the fifty states in this country, only a few are worse off than South Carolina. With unemployment soaring past 10% (and rising), one of the worst public education systems around and a Governor who is trying his best to refuse federal stimulus money (and run for President in 2012), it is just not a good time to have a multi-million dollar influx disappear. Or really, never even be a possibility.

Columbia built the Colonial Life Arena for the University of South Carolina and specifically to host NCAA tournament games in 2002. The 18,000-seat gym is a beautiful structure and a great place to watch a game. It’s in a relatively large city that is easy to reach by interstate (I-26, I-20 and I-77 all meet here) or by plane. The gym is less than a five minute walk to the most interesting and happening part of Columbia, the Vista. But because of the ban, not a single tournament game has ever been played here.

Now think about this: Boise, Dayton, Albuquerque, Greensboro. What do those places have in common with Columbia? They’re all either state capitals or middle-sized cities without professional sports. What doesn’t Columbia have in common with them? Columbia is never, ever mentioned 200 times per day for the first four days of the NCAA tournament. In a state with 10% unemployment, wouldn’t a vast need for at least part-time work for parking attendants, hotel workers, waiters and bar tenders, concession stand workers, ushers, arena cleaning and myriad other opportunities for work be exactly what could help people in this area? Those aren’t glamor jobs but the need for work around here is palpable.

The point of all this is just to say that this state is wasting an easy opportunity to bring millions of dollars into the economy on a near-yearly basis just to fly a small, square flag that happens to have stars and bars. There isn’t much that can be done about Mark Sanford at this point except to wait out his term, but in a state whose largest source of financial strength is in tourism (golf mostly, and Charleston/Myrtle Beach/Hilton Head), why not add to that pot? It’s a shame to have such a great arena sitting empty each and every March in a city that really could use the business.

Carolina Flop

January 1, 2009


I know I haven’t spent as much time in the latter months of this year as I did earlier on focusing on South Carolina football. So let me go ahead and finish off the season with a quick post. They suck. The end.

Shonn Greene and Iowa completely crushed Carolina down in Tampa at the Outback Bowl. Greene had 121 yards rushing and three touchdowns and Iowa jumped out to a 31-0 lead before Carolina scored toward the end for a 31-10 final. Not only could the Gamecocks not stop the Iowa ground game (or any other part of Iowa’s offense), quarterback Stephen Garcia was horrid. Garcia was 9-18 for 79 yards and three awful interceptions. He also lost a fumble in the first half and was eventually benched in favor of Chris Smelley. Garcia is of course from Tampa and his ‘homecoming’ certainly didn’t live up to whatever expectations Carolina might have had.

This is I suppose a fitting end for such a weird year for the Gamecocks. They had a few nice wins (at Ole Miss, Arkansas and they crushed Tennessee) but over the last three games they were outscored 118-30 in losses to Iowa today, Clemson and Florida. Not the worst losses in the world but they were by such resounding margins that it’s going to be tough this offseason to point to anything good that happened late in ’08.

The loss today leaves Carolina at 7-6. Last year they went 6-6 (after starting 6-1). It’s pretty safe to say that the Steve Spurrier era just isn’t working out here in Columbia. Even though he probably has the all-time honeymoon period, questions aren’t going to be far off here in town about whether or not it’s time to move on and change direction. Four years haven’t amounted to much so far. Mostly high expectations and missed opportunities.

Weird Week in College Football

November 14, 2008

This is one of those calm-before-the-storm weeks in college football. Isn’t it strange how that happens? Maybe the bigger programs schedule some softer opponents in this week to offset how ridiculously difficult the end of a football season is. Or maybe it’s just luck. Regardless, this is a weird week.

The best game of the week, somehow, is South Carolina @ Florida. South Carolina has a top-5 defense nationally and has Florida’s Heisman winner and former coach Steve Spurrier at the helm, so it’s automatically a big game for that reason. Also, Carolina is having a really good season and is now ranked in the top 25 with only three losses (LSU, Vanderbilt and Georgia), each by just seven points. Florida, meanwhile, is completely destroying its opponents. Since their loss at home to Ole Miss almost two months ago, the Gators have scored at least 38 points in every game including two that topped 50. So can the Carolina defense slow down the potent Gator offense? Doubtful, but it makes it the best option on a Saturday full of fluff.

Here’s what we have to look forward to among ranked teams:

No. 22 Cincinnati @ Louisville – Big East sucks
No. 10 Ohio State @ Illinois – yawn
No. 7 Penn State v. Indiana – blowout
No. 4 Texas @ Kansas – not as good a game as it would’ve been last year
No. 13 Georgia @ Auburn – Auburn sucks
No. 16 BYU @ Air Force – mildly intriguing but has no bearing on BCS
No. 17 UNC @ Maryland – eh
No. 9 Boise State @ Idaho – blowout
No. 12 Missouri @ Iowa State – Big 12 North sucks
No. 6 Southern Cal @ Stanford – last big game for Jim Harbaugh before he joins the Raiders
Mississippi State @ No. 1 Alabama – yawn
No. 8 Utah @ San Diego State – destruction
Boston College @ No. 20 Florida State – could be interesting
No. 11 Oklahoma State @ Colorado – rout
Troy @ No. 19 LSU – how is this game on the schedule?

Someone ranked will probably lose to someone unranked this weekend as that usually happens this time of year in college football. But how are there no other match-ups between ranked teams in mid-November? And why are most of the ranked teams playing away from home this week? And maybe the strangest question of all, why is ESPN’s College Game Day show at the Florida A&M-Hampton game? Very odd.

Ref Takes Out Garcia

October 20, 2008

This is one of the most amazing videos I’ve ever seen. Somehow the SEC is claiming that this ref (second one down) was ‘trying to protect himself.’ Maybe it’s just me, but it looks like he’s running right in Garcia’s way and lowers his shoulder to deliver a bit of a hit on the Carolina quarterback. Making it even worse is that it was at the LSU 4-yard line. Now, Carolina did score on a Mike Davis one-yard touchdown, so it didn’t keep the Gamecocks from winning the game. But just imagine what would be happening here in Columbia right now if that had been on fourth down and kept the Cocks down 24-17, as the final score fell?

Anyway, just check it out and let me know what you think. On purpose? Or trying to get out of the way?

Welcome to Spurrier-World

October 15, 2008

Having never lived in a town where Steve Spurrier was actively the coach, I’ve never really tried to follow his moves in regards to his rotation of quarterbacks. I know there has only ever been one quarterback to never be replaced under Spurrier and I think it was Shane Matthews (at UF, not with the Redskins). So it should come as no surprise that Stephen Garcia will be the new starter for South Carolina this week against LSU.

Tommy Beecher, Chris Smelley and now Garcia. I thought for sure Garcia would start against Mississippi State after his solid performance against UAB but Spurrier thought otherwise and it turned out that Smelley had an amazing game. Then last week, trailing at Kentucky, Spurrier gave Smelley the old hook and brought in Garcia, who ended up winning the game for the Gamecocks. So now Garcia gets his greatly-anticipated (around here anyway) debut as starting quarterback against a top 15 team with a pretty solid defense (though you wouldn’t have known that last week against Florida).

garciaI really have no idea if Garcia is going to be any better than Smelley. It has always confused me as to why Spurrier moves his guys around so much. No one ever gets a chance to really settle in and they always have to look over their shoulders at one or two other quarterbacks who will take their place if Spurrier feels like making a move. It’s entirely likely that Garcia will throw two interceptions in the first half and Smelley will come in as the second half starter.

There are some benefits to using a multiple quarterback system. Florida did it best with Chris Leak and Tim Tebow a few years ago and LSU did it nicely with Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux last year. But that’s not what Steve’s going for at all. He just has no patience with his quarterbacks and at the slightest hint of struggling, he pulls them for someone else. And then repeats, and repeats and repeats.

Garcia is a good player and he’ll probably be a nice change of pace for Carolina this week as he can easily run with the ball as well as throw it down field. But what will it do to his confidence (he is still a freshman after all) if he gets yanked?

I guess this is just what happens when one lives in Spurrier-World.

No Garcia, No Problem

October 5, 2008

Apparently South Carolina didn’t need Stephen Garcia after all. Chris Smelley threw for over three hundred yards and Carolina defeated Ole Miss in Oxford, 31-24. Smelley had the services of Kenny McKinley for the first time in a month and Jared Cook continued his excellent season with a handful of catches including a 63-yarder. Interestingly enough, the win and offensive explosion, really the first of the year, came against Tyrone Nix, Carolina’s defensive coordinator as recently as last season.

I don’t know if Spurrier planned on keeping Garcia on the bench for the whole game or if he made the decision as he watched Smelley excel for the first time this year, but it was really strange to see the quarterback who played most of last week’s game and put up impressive numbers, just standing on the sideline without even putting his helmet on. This blog thought for sure that Spurrier would be leaning toward his talented redshirt freshman this week and going forward after the UAB game but clearly that wasn’t the case. It would be classic Spurrier, however, to give us a nice dose of Garcia next week at Kentucky, a team who nearly knocked of no. 2 Alabama yesterday.

This was a game South Carolina absolutely needed to win. It had been exactly a year since Carolina won an SEC game (vs. Kentucky on Thursday night) and to do it against a team who had just last week defeated Florida in Gainesville, was really big. Carolina now sits 4-2 with a decent chance to finish .500 or better. After Kentucky, the Cocks will host LSU, Tennessee and Arkansas in consecutive home games. With UT looking like shit and Arkansas being even worse, it’s conceivable Carolina could enter the final two games of the season (@ Florida and @ Clemson) with a 7-3 record. But we’ll see what happens at Kentucky first…

And So It Begins…

September 28, 2008


The Stephen Garica era at South Carolina is about to begin in earnest. He still probably won’t start at Ole Miss next weekend, but his 131 yards passing and 86 yards rushing put him solidly in first place among the group of pretty average quarterbacks currently residing here in Columbia. Carolina defeated UAB 26-13 with Garcia throwing for one touchdown and running for another. The victory for the Gamecocks was relatively benign, but considering this is the third quarterback to see significant time in only five games, I suppose it’s somewhat understandable.

Garcia brings a different skill set to the ballgame than does either Tommy Beecher or Chris Smelley. Garcia has a rifle for an arm but apparently also has some nice wheels. The ability to move around and create some offense when the blocking breaks down (which is pretty frequently) is a huge asset for the foundering Gamecock offense.

Carolina travels to Oxford next weekend to play the rejuvenated Ole Miss side that just knocked off Florida at the swamp. The reality is that it’s a good chance for Carolina to play the Rebels as they’re unlikely to play as well the game after beating Florida. But still, the ability to win such a game, especially on the road, has to scare the shite out of South Carolina, who probably saw this game as a guaranteed victory when tallying in the pre-season.

The Gamecock defense remains stout and will probably keep them in the game, even against Ole Miss who scored 31 points on Florida. But unless the O makes some serious headway, it’s likely Carolina will fall in Oxford.

Garcia to Start vs. UAB?

September 22, 2008

GarciaThe rumors are circulating here in Columbia that maligned quarterback Stephen Garcia might start this weekend against UAB at Williams-Brice Stadium. With only four games completed, both Tommy Beecher and Chris Smelley have had halves where they turned the ball over at least three times. Smelley has looked pretty good at times, but not so great at others. And with Steve Spurrier as the head coach, one can pretty much expect yet another quarterback change.

Garcia did not play at all against Wofford, which was a bit strange after Spurrier put him in the game on several occasions against Georgia the week before. Garcia is still all hype and potential as he has not spent any considerable amount of time behind center. But with an offense that is averaging less than 20 points per game, Spurrier is apt to try anything to find a spark. Garcia supposedly does well with his feet and is a threat both to throw deep or to take off and run for fifteen yards.

This is really the last chance Carolina has to get some traction before the toughest part of their schedule begins. After playing home to UAB, the Gamecocks will travel to Ole Miss (no push over this year) and Kentucky before hosting LSU, Tennessee and Arkansas and finishing away to Florida and of course, Clemson. UAB is a must-win because Carolina stands a good chance to lose five of its last seven games.

Dumb Mistakes Cost Cocks Huge Upset

September 15, 2008

FumbleOnce again, the mental game let Steve Spurriers Gamecocks down over the weekend, as Carolina fell 14-7 to #2 (though now #3) ranked Georgia. Carolina played extremely well on defense, holding the national powerhouse to just one touchdown and two field goals, but apart from one terrific Chris Smelley pass to Moe Brown, the Cocks just didn’t have it at the right times.

Highlighting their inability to get over the hump in the SEC was a fourth down play in the fourth quarter. Carolina trailed 14-7 and was driving to try to tie or at least kick a field goal. With passes completed to Moe Brown and Freddie Brown, Smelley was in a nice rhythm. But for some reason, on third down, Spurrier replaced Smelley for one play with Stephen Garcia. Garcia lost yardage when he tried to scramble for the first down. Left with fourth down, Spurrier put Smelley back in the game and also inserted freshman speedster CC Whitlock (who I covered last year in high school at Chester HS). Whitlock promptly ran the wrong route, Smelley passed to where he should have been, and the Cocks turned the ball over on downs.

I don’t know what Spurrier was thinking in putting Garcia in the game like that. It’s not the worst idea in the world to bring in another quarterback for a trick play or to try to catch the defense off guard. But on third down in a key situation? Spurrier has admitted that he only has a small percentage of his offense installed for use when Garcia is in the game. Smelley, while not exactly setting the world on fire, was having a nice game and was throwing particularly well in the fourth quarter. Disrupting his rhythm was dumb. Then putting an untested freshman, who apparently has a big mouth and can’t stay out of trouble, into the game and throwing to him on fourth down was another mistake by Spurrier.

The other major disaster for Carolina was when Columbia’s own Mike Davis fumbled the ball into the endzone, giving Georgia a touchback instead of a Gamecock touchdown. The fumble came after a nice 66-yard drive in the fourth quarter and would have tied the game after Moreno’s touchdown gave UGA the lead in the third quarter. But such has been the luck of the Gamecocks.

There is no shame in having lost to Georgia. They’re a pretty good team and having lost at home to Carolina last year, were obviously looking for some revenge. But still, Carolina had several nice chances at tying the game and conceivably could have won it based on the strength of the defense. You would expect that holding Georgia to just 14 points would give you a shot at winning (though it is true that the last five UGA-USC games haven’t had either team score 20 points). But the way in which they lost is just tough for Carolina fans, especially the 83,000 in attendance, the tenth largest crowd ever at South Carolina.

As a quick aside, is Georgia really that great? I know Carolina has a superb defense, but UGA really didn’t look amazing at all. Sure they scored 100 points over their first two games, against Ga. Southern and Central Michigan. But this could be a sign that they are not quite the team people expected. That said, Auburn won 3-2 on the weekend, so maybe just SEC conference games really are that tough.

The Kind of Game That Gets You Fired

September 5, 2008


After vowing to never again overlook Vanderbilt, South Carolina appeared to do just that last night in a crushing loss in Nashville. Either that or USC just sucks, which is also entirely possible. The Gamecocks gave up a 7-0 lead and a 10-3 halftime lead with dumb mistakes, poor special teams play, some key injuries and an overall lack of the ability to just toughen up and not lose to a supposedly inferior team. Vandy won 24-17, their first home win against a ranked opponent in something like sixteen years, and their second consecutive massive victory over South Carolina.

What is amazing is that South Carolina outgained Vandy by one hundred yards, 325-225, had more first downs, a better third down conversion ratio and held the ball for almost exactly the same amount of time. But the three turnovers, including two Smelley interceptions, eight penalties, four sacks and a blocked field goal simply kept Carolina from making up all of the ground they ceded in a 21-0 spurt by the Commodores.

In many programs, this is the kind of game that gets the coach ultimately fired. After a 6-1 start and top ten ranking last year, Carolina has now lost six of its last seven games, including rivals Florida, Tennessee, Clemson and now two against Vandy. A Steve Spurrier team has never finished better than 8-5 in Columbia and it actually appears that his recruiting is not on par with even what Lou Holtz was doing before he left four years ago. Spurrier’s team make mental mistakes, they turn the ball over, there’s no continuity at the quarterback position (I wonder why) and they’re just not really tough teams. Add to that the fact that there have been dozens of arrests, students doing poorly in classes and other disciplinary problems, South Carolina is turning into a bit of a joke in the SEC.

After relatively high hopes for this season, it’s now possible to envision the team not even reaching the sorry 6-6 record of a year ago and miss a second straight bowl game. There isn’t any chance in the world that Spurrier will be fired from South Carolina this year, but maybe it’s time the athletic department realized that he’s simply not the coach he was at Florida and will never be. And maybe it’s time that expectations be completely changed here in Columbia. Bobby Johnson said it last night, and it might be the most telling quote about a Steve Spurrier team I’ve ever heard, “I was surprised that so many people thought it would be real hard for us to beat them.”

Cocks Try to Avenge 2007 Disaster Against Vandy

September 3, 2008


The date was October 20, 2007. South Carolina was 6-1 with their sole loss coming against eventual national champion LSU in Baton Rouge. The Gamecocks had defeated Georgia between the hedges, knocked off Kentucky in a nationally televised game between two top ten teams and was ranked sixth in the national polls. And then came the Vanderbilt game. Perhaps they were looking ahead to a visit to Knoxville the following weekend or maybe their ranking and record just got to their heads. But regardless, Carolina put together one of the worst ever games in NCAA history losing to a very average Vandy team 17-6 here in Williams-Brice Stadium. Gone was the top ten ranking, gone was the winning streak, and gone too, ultimately, were the chances of even making a bowl game. The Cocks lost their final four games after the Vandy disaster and finished a ridiculously disappointing 6-6.

So this year Carolina has a chance at some redemption. While the game is in Nashville, USC is clearly the favored team. With a meeting with Georgia at home next weekend, Carolina again has a big game looming after Vanderbilt. And like last year, if Steve Spurrier can’t get the team focused, they could very easily lose to an inferior side and probably set in motion a string of losses. So this game is vitally important for the prospects of the 2008 season.

Chris Smelley will start at quarterback after engineering a very strong fourth quarter for the Cocks last Thursday against NC State. Tommy Beecher was awful and then hurt and will actually be third string behind Stephen Garcia for this game tomorrow night. It’s a chance for Smelley to put distance between himself and the other quarterbacks, as we all know Spurrier has a penchant for making moves at that position, and can give him more experience and momentum going into the Georgia game next week.

Even if Carolina doesn’t beat Georgia, it has a good chance of again being 6-1 going into the LSU game on October 18 here in Columbia, IF it can get past Vanderbilt this week. After Georgia are Wofford and UAB at home and Ole Miss and Kentucky on the road. It all starts this week, with a good feeling coming from the end of the NC State game.

Cocks Shutout Wolfpack 34-0

August 29, 2008

CocksIn one of the weirdest games I can remember, South Carolina outpaced NC State 34-0 at Williams-Brice Stadium last night. The game was 3-0 at half and 13-0 at the end of the third quarter before reserve (though maybe not for much longer) quarterback Chris Smelley engineered three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Starting quarterback Tommy Beecher was terrible, throwing four interceptions and getting sacked five times. He was only 12-22 for 102 yards and his longest pass was a dump off to running back Mike Davis.

Smelley looked infinitely more confident than Beecher and his stirring success in the fourth quarter will have fans demanding and coach Steve Spurrier likely inserting him in the starting lineup for next weeks’ game against Vanderbilt. Spurrier has never been known to have a long leash with he quarterbacks, so I expect to see Smelley on the field from the start at Vandy.

As for NC State, their defense really looked good in the first half and for most of the third quarter. However, that may have been due to how bad Beecher was. The first ten Gamecock points came after the Wolfpack offense gave up turnovers inside their own fifteen, so it’s tough to pin that on the defense. State’s offense took a pretty bad blow when redshirt freshman starting quarterback Russell Wilson was knocked out of the game (and apparently also literally knocked out) in the second quarter. With Wilson’s ability to run and scramble out of the picture, Carolina was able to focus more aggressively on Daniel Evans, last year’s starter and the replacement for Wilson.

If Carolina can play as they did with Smelley in the game, this can be a pretty good team. The defense was good and didn’t really allow much movement throughout the game, and obviously shut out NC State. Vanderbilt should be a game the Gamecocks can win, but not if Beecher (or anyone) plays as badly as he did last night.

Cocks Open Season with NC State

August 28, 2008

CocksSouth Carolina will start their fourth season with Steve Spurrier at the helm tonight against NC State here in Columbia . As usual, the city is pulsing with activity, preparing for the onslaught of 80,000 fans in Williams-Brice Stadium and thousands more just outside.

Carolina had an amazing start to last season, beating Georgia between the hedges, knocking off highly-ranked Kentucky here in Columbia on a wet and rainy Thursday night and reached as high as no. 6 in the national polls. Then the shit hit the fan and the Gamecocks lost their last five games and weren’t invited to any bowl games. There was the 17-6 home loss to Vanderbilt while ranked no. 6 and then an overtime loss at Tennessee and a 23-21 loss to Clemson on a last-second field goal, here in Columbia.

So this year is a bit about redemption. Last year’s team was really quite good and then everything just fell apart. Injuries, especially on defense, played a huge part and the play at quarterback was pretty inconsistent. In 2008 Tommy Beecher will be starting for the first time, as a redshirt junior. Columbia native Mike Davis will be the featured back and Kenny McKinley leads the receiving corps. This is a team that can absolutely compete in the middle of the pack and above in the SEC. There are six winnable games in the first seven (NC State, at Vandy, Wofford, UAB, at Ole Miss and at Kentucky). Three of the last five games will be at home, though the opponents are infinitely tougher (LSU, Tennessee, Arkansas, at Florida, at Clemson). Arkansas can be beaten and Carolina will have revenge on its mind when hosting Tennessee. And of course the Clemson game is always a crap-shoot.

In my opinion, Carolina will finish 7-5. I’ve got them beating NC State, Vandy, Wofford, UAB, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Arkansas with losses against Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Florida and Clemson.

Steve Spurrier – My Thoughts

August 25, 2008

SpurrierFor most of my life, including all of the adult part of it, I’ve had some pretty hard feelings toward the head ball coach. My dad hated him as the coach at Duke in the late ’80s and then everyone knows about his cocky and brash attitude and teams while at Florida in the 90s. He also took my favorite NFL team, the Redskins, more or less into the ground. But now that I’ve been here in Columbia for a year and gone through my second pre-season of USC football, I’ve gained a new appreciation for Spurrier.

A lot of people still see him as the arsehole that was at Florida years ago. But he seems to have changed. His teams at Carolina have obviously not been to par with the powerhouse UF squads he consistently put together. As a result, he hasn’t exactly been a superstar in the coaching world. His disaster with the Redskins didn’t help either. But I think that experience gave him a new perspective on the world of football. Instead of being the star and the guy running the show, he was merely the leader of an underachieving NFL franchise with a really strong backing. When the ‘Skins don’t do well (as has been their custom for most of the past fifteen years) the fans let the coach know.

Since coming here to Carolina he’s actually been a pretty refreshing guy. He’s brutally honest with the press, which I guess he was at UF as well but because the team was so good it always came across as arrogant (which it was). But in Columbia, without amazing teams, he’s shown great candor. He doesn’t bullshit about his team or opponent like Lou Holtz was famous for doing. He’s not afraid to point out kids that aren’t playing up to expectations and he’ll praise those who are. His straightforward approach to press conferences is great when compared to the usual coachspeak that comes out of the overwhelming majority of his profession.

Basically, he seems like he’s become a realist. He knows Carolina isn’t going to be able to compete with Georgia, Tennessee and Florida every year, but he knows he might be able to knock one or some of them off given the right circumstances. And that’s the attitude that’s needed here in Columbia. Folks here don’t care about a national champion necessarily, they just want to be competitive and beat Clemson. But if that’s not going to happen, they’d rather have low expectations and not feel let down.

I don’t know if I’m 100% sold on Spurrier as a good guy or anything like that, but he seems to be doing the right things here in Columbia.

PSL’s at USC

August 8, 2008

The South Carolina Board of Trustees today approved a Personal Seat License plan to take effect before next season at Williams-Brice Stadium. Ticket holders will have to pay an average of $157 just for the right to buy their tickets going forward. Failure to pay the PSL leads to a loss of tickets. This is a nice way for Carolina to earn $7.6 million next year just on the PSL’s (48,500 seats are affected of the 80,000+ in the stadium). But what a rip off for the average ticket holder.

In 2007, Carolina started charging for parking for the first time: $180 for reserved parking and $420 for RV parking, and that doesn’t even include the electrical hookups. Now with the PSL addition, the University should make a killing despite fielding a mediocre team. I guess the increased revenues expected when Steve Spurrier took over either never came or have slowed considerably in his fourth season in Columbia.

It’s my opinion that no college venues should have PSL’s. The schools are already making so much money off of the football program that most programs can’t possibly need the extra millions from the seat licenses. Sure, it’s nice to get the extra cash, but eventually you’re going to price out your real fans and end up with a Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park situation where all of the purchasers of tickets are mega-rich but don’t really care that much about the game.