Weekend Review: Bad offense will be undoing of Gamecocks


Just like that, the first four Saturdays of the 2011 season are gone. Each week we (hopefully) get a little smarter. And what did we learn last week? Please consider:

1. South Carolina is living on borrowed time: Coach Steve Spurrier set some kind of record at halftime of Saturday night's game against Vanderbilt in Columbia. During a 20-second interview on the field before heading to the locker room, the Head Ball Coach managed to call his offense "crappy" not once but twice. And this was AFTER Marcus Lattimore took a screen pass 52 yards for a touchdown to give the Gamecocks a 14-3 lead at the break.

Spurrier called his offense crappy because it was. Quarterback Stephen Garcia had four more interceptions (he has 38 in 39 career games) and some of the throws defied description. South Carolina won 21-3 because the defense played its best game of the season.

Here is South Carolina's reality: It is overrated as the No. 10 team in the nation and is living on borrowed time. The Gamecocks will be favored at home in their next two games against Auburn and Kentucky. But then Spurrier takes his team on the road to Mississippi State, Tennessee and Arkansas.

2. Remember all that love the ACC was getting last week? It's gone now: Last week the ACC made a case for itself when Clemson beat Auburn, Georgia Tech beat Kansas, Miami (Fla.) beat Ohio State, Maryland had a chance to beat West Virginia but came up short and Florida State took then-No. 1 Oklahoma to the wire without its starting quarterback. The ACC managed to lose all that goodwill in one disastrous weekend: North Carolina State was embarrassed by Cincinnati (44-14) on Thursday night, Maryland was destroyed by Temple (38-7) in College Park, Miami couldn't stand prosperity and lost to Kansas State (28-24) at home and Virginia lost to Southern Mississippi of Conference USA (30-24 in Charlottesville). Maryland coach Randy Edsall summed it up best: "There is no need to sugarcoat things. We got our butts kicked today." Uh-huh.

3. The Big East made a big blunder: The major difference in the Big East and the SEC: In the immortal words of Ricky Ricardo, the Big East had a bunch of "'splainin to do" after Saturday's game between Syracuse and Toledo. In case you missed it, and the Big East hopes you did, the officials working the game at the Carrier Dome awarded an extra point to Syracuse that was not good to give the Orange a 30-27 lead. The officials on the field missed the call. The replay official looked at it again, with the help of technology, and somehow he didn't see that the ball went outside the uprights.

It's funny, because the TV boys only needed one look and they got it right. How do we know that the officials missed it? Because the Big East looked at the replays from the correct angle and admitted as much later in the day. So when Toledo kicked a field goal as time expired, the Rockets should have won 30-29. Instead the game was tied and Syracuse kicked a field goal to win in overtime, 33-30.

This episode is very instructive because it points out the major difference between the Big East, which is losing teams (Pittsburgh, Syracuse) because of its football, and a conference like the SEC. No doubt that the Big East offices will get flooded with angry calls because their guys missed it not once, but twice. If this happened in the SEC, somebody's house would get burned down.

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I'm joking.

At least I think I'm joking.

4. Moniz is delivering for Hawaii: Bryant Moniz had to deliver pizzas to keep his head above water while attending a couple of junior colleges. But he had a dream. He was a pretty good quarterback at Fresno City College, where he played a year and then decided to come back home and walk on at Hawaii. He started eight games in 2009 and passed for 2,396 yards. Last season he was second-team All-WAC with 5,040 yards and 39 touchdowns, which led the nation. On Sunday, Moniz tied an NCAA record with seven touchdown passes in the first half of a 56-14 win against UC-Davis. Moniz completed 30 of 40 passes for 424 yards in the first half, which is also an NCAA record.

5. Don't forget LaMichael: We in the media tend to forget about star players when they struggle and lose a game early. If you took LaMichael James off your Heisman list when he ran for only 54 yards in Oregon's 40-27 loss to LSU on Sept. 3, then you need to put him back on. James ran for a school-record 288 yards in Saturday night's 56-31 thumping of Arizona in Tucson. James not only averaged 12.5 yards per carry but he also had a 51-yard punt return. He broke Oregon's previous single-game rushing record of 257 set by Onterrio Smith against Washington State in 2001. "We couldn't find a way to stop him," said Arizona coach Mike Stoops.

Mark this date on your calendar: On Oct. 15 Oregon hosts Arizona State and a very physical defense led by linebacker Vontaze Burfict.

Watch The Tony Barnhart Show on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CBS Sports Network.

Tony Barnhart is in his fifth season as a contributor to CBSSports.com. He is a college football analyst for CBS Sports and The CBS Sports Network. Prior to joining CBS he was the national college football writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for 24 years. He has written five books on college football.

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