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Tag:South Carolina
Posted on: October 13, 2010 12:57 am
 

Is it time to overhaul the Coaches Poll?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

One of the most odious aspects of the BCS -- and let's be clear, there are very many -- is the fact that the Coaches Poll constitutes one-third of the voting for the standings. If the poll's involvement weren't already accepted as normal, it would sound absurd: the selected coaches (or their selected assistant who actually fills these things out without attribution), given about 20 hours after the conclusion of their games, are tasked with ranking 25 out of the 120 teams in the FBS. The coach will never gameplan for, or have anything more than a cursory opinion about, the vast majority of these teams. The more time the coaches spend researching the poll, the less time they have to do their job (which isn't one with a great deal of spare time to begin with).

Thus, we get the same win-go-up, lose-go-down lazy polling that we can very well get from the AP already. What's the point? Does adding yet another hastily arranged Top 25 to the BCS add any merit? Moreover, isn't it a waste of what the coaches bring to the table for the BCS? Coaches do have exemplary abilities when it comes to evaluating other teams, after all, but that skill is primarily used in the daily rigmarole of their job, which is to say, on teams that they're actually going to play at some point.

So let's embrace that: have every single coach participate in the new coaches poll by ranking only their 12 opponents. As with traditional polls, a no. 1 gets the highest value (in this case 12), a no. 2 gets 11, and so on down the line. You know, like a normal poll. Now, since this is necessarily grading only FBS play (unless fans really want to see Montana come in at no. 8 in the poll or something similar), the teams with an FCS opponent are only going to be ranked by 11 opponents, so the rankings will be by average value instead of total.

Does this unfairly reward good teams in weak conferences (see: Boise State)? Well, maybe when it comes to their rankings relative to their conference pals. But look at who Boise's opponents are playing. Oregon State also plays TCU and Oregon. Wyoming got Boise, TCU, Utah, and Texas for this season (yes, Texas tanked, but that's an anomaly). Lowly San Jose State? The Spartans see Boise State, Utah, Wisconsin, and Alabama. Boise State may have some control over their schedule, but they certainly have little control over who their opponents play, and that's going to matter in this poll. Meanwhile, Ohio State may play in a tougher conference, but does anyone seriously think any of the Big Ten's coaches would rank another conference member over OSU as long as the Buckeyes stay undefeated? Would anybody have put Alabama second in the SEC before South Carolina pulled the upset?

Also, once the season starts to get into its late stages, coaches will be able to rank these teams based on what they saw first-hand in actual gameplay. Will this result in some coaches ranking teams based largely on how they performed against that coach's team? Sure. That's called rewarding wins and punishing losses. In other words, it's the entire point of polling. And if a coach seriously thinks a team that's, say, 19th in the AP played his team better than the 11th-ranked team, well, that's information that absolutely deserves to be integrated into the poll -- and it's much easier to justify making that adjustment in this format instead of the win-go-up/lose-go-down cookie cutter Top 25s. 

Is this a perfect poll? No, of course not. There's still some value in a straight Top 25 poll, and the computer rankings have their merit. But if we're including coaches in the BCS process -- and we should! -- we should play to their strengths, not make them play pollster. This is how to do it.

Posted on: October 12, 2010 11:52 am
Edited on: October 12, 2010 11:57 am
 

South Carolina students should be above the law

Posted by Tom Fornelli

There's no question that a 35-21 victory over Alabama last weekend was one of the biggest wins in the history of South Carolina football.  Not only did the Gamecocks knock off the defending champions and top-ranked team in the country, but they solidified themselves as contenders in the SEC.  So it's not exactly surprising that the students at the game wanted to celebrate, and did so by running on to the field.

Once they were there, however, they were met by security and local police who weren't exactly happy to see them.  Which, according to one South Carolina student, Samuel Marx, resulted in some of the worst crimes against humanity in the history of mankind.  Marx was so appalled by what he saw that he did what any true patriot would do.

He wrote a letter to the school's student newspaper, The Daily Gamecock.
The officials will claim they were enforcing the Southeastern Conference's rule, which prohibits fans from storming the field at any athletic event, presumably to ensure the safety of players and fans alike. What took place instead was a gross abuse of authority. From my front row vantage point I witnessed a number of shocking events. The first student I saw successfully make it onto the field was seen just seconds later with blood pouring from his nose and mouth being escorted away by an officer. Another young man jumped the fence right in front me, and when an event staff member tried to simply push him back off the field, a police officer grabbed at him, trying to pull him back onto the field. Many of the officers armed themselves with Tasers and pointed them toward the crowd, and I can't even begin to mention the amount of students I watched get punched at and thrown violently to the ground.

What actually made me sick to my stomach was the manner in the security team celebrated their acts as if they had pulled off a more amazing feat than the football game itself. They taunted students and flexed their muscles, which only made the situation more hostile. When some students decided to voice their opinions - some more diplomatically than others - an officer threatened to kick the students out if they kept "running their mouths." This direct attack on the student body's First Amendment right to free speech took the air out of a once-vibrant student section and blemished a memory that Carolina fans will hold with them for the rest of their lives.
Okay, where do I begin with this?  First of all, let me say that I'm not for police beating the hell out of students for fun.  I just want to make that clear, but at the same time, Marx himself points out that it's illegal for students to rush the field in his very first sentence.  Just because you're happy that the football team won a game doesn't give you the right to break any laws or rules, and if you choose to do so, you're going to have to take responsibility for your actions.

Sometimes that means taking a shot to the face.

What really drives me nuts, or makes me sick to my stomach to borrow some of Marx's words, is his complete ignorance of what "freedom of speech" means.  Listen, you have the freedom to say what you like, but there is a limit to what can be said without consequence.  Saying "Alabama sucks" is perfectly fine, but saying something like "F*** you, pig" to a police officer is not. 

Still, Marx may be a bit ignorant on his rights, and what they mean, but the part of his letter that really gets me is this.
This standoff between hired officials and exited students was one that could have been easily avoided. The University could have chosen to follow suit with the University of Kentucky, which allowed field invasions three times in 2007 and accepted the collective fine of $80,000. If Carolina had allowed for the celebrations to take place, the school would have been hit with another fine after this year's $25,000 penalty for the on-court celebration of the basketball team's defeat of Kentucky. If you consider the fact that it costs one out-of-state, non-scholarship student roughly $160,000 to attend Carolina for four years, I'm pretty sure the school could have handled the minor setback.
Yes, how dare you, South Carolina.  How dare you not be willing to pay a $25,000 fine because some moron wants to run on the field.  We all know that $160,000 you collect from that one out-of-state, non-scholarship student goes straight to your bank account and isn't spent on things like faculty or facilities.  Why, if the students want to burn the entire campus to the ground, you should pay for the gasoline and matches, and then clean it up afterward.  You owe them that for the privilege of having them on your campus, and for them allowing you to teach them and give them an education.

So to summate Mr. Marx's letter, the fact that South Carolina won a football game means that students should not be subjected to any laws, and that the school should be willing to pay for any fines accrued from any of the laws the students shouldn't have to follow and feel like breaking.

While some of the students on the field may not have deserved to be tased or hit, I think I know one student who does.


Posted on: October 11, 2010 5:04 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2010 5:11 pm
 

A letter about Nick Saban's use of foul language

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Coach Nick Saban:

I'm writing in regards to your comments made Monday afternoon about your team's performance thus far this year:

"The focus is not on what you need to do to be successful," Saban said. "It's drinking the Kool-Aid, thinking that just because they say it on ESPN, it's so, reading the newspapers all week. Just because you beat Florida 31-6, people start talking about you being the best team in the country. We're not the best team in the country. ...We had the best team in the country last year. We proved it. We proved it over 14 games. This team hasn't proved s***. Excuse my language. That's how I feel about it. I'm really upset that I used bad language. I'm sorry. I'm sure I'll get some letters on that, and should."

Indeed you will, for this is one of those letters.

As a football coach, you are held to high standards of performance and professionalism. You are a role model, not only to your football players and assistant coaches, not only to all Alabama fans, but to all football fans, young and old. You are tasked with upholding that responsibility every time you appear in public, whether that is on or off the field.

As such, your use of language on Monday was distressing and disturbing. That type of amateurish, juvenile use of language cannot be tolerated by any football coach, much less a man of your prominence, and I demand an immediate retraction, apology, and correction.

What every self-respecting adult knows you should have said is as follows:

We proved it over 14 games. This team hasn't proven s***. Excuse my language.

Everything else is completely correct.

Best wishes,
Concerned Grammarian

Posted on: October 11, 2010 4:03 pm
 

Meyer: Gators 'haven't given everything yet'

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Florida Gators find themselves in an unusual position, as they've lost two straight games and find themselves looking up at South Carolina in the SEC East.  Quite frustrating for a team that has grown accustomed to winning, and winning often, under Urban Meyer.   Of course, the Gators head coach is frustrated as well, saying during his press conference on Monday that his team hasn't "given everything yet."

"I told the team it was that far [from winning]," Meyer told reporters while holding his thumb and index finger a few inches apart. "Who in this room right now who is devastated could give that much more to find a way to win that game? Obviously there's a bunch of guys who gave everything they had, but there's still a bunch of guys that haven't given everything yet. That's kind of what we have to identify and address and get better.  We've got to find a way to get that."

There's no question that Florida has a lot more talent on its roster than it has displayed so far this season, but Meyer's perceived lack of effort along with injuries have proved problematic.  Not to mention the off the field issues.  There's also the fact that the Gators don't exactly have a quarterback who fits the system they're trying to run in John Brantley.

Which is just my way of saying that while effort might be a problem, I think there's a lot more at work here, starting with the coaching.  As I said last week, until the Gators coaches adjust to what they have instead of trying to force the players to adjust to them, there are going to be problems in Gainesville this season.

Maybe Meyer needs to give a little more.
Posted on: October 10, 2010 12:04 am
Edited on: October 10, 2010 1:07 pm
 

What I learned from the SEC (Oct 9)

Posted by Tom Fornelli



1. Les Miles is the smartest, craziest moron to ever coach a college football team.   Seriously, the man took nothing but grief all week from the media and his own fans following the near debacle against Tennessee last week.  And it was well deserved!  It's not like it was the first time he's had problems with clock management at the end of the game.  Then the Mad Hatter goes and pulls another white rabbit out of the hat against Florida by calling that fake field goal in the video above.  You know what kind of guts that takes to make that play call when your fan base is already calling for your head on a plate? Then he managed to have his team spike the ball following a big catch by Terrence Tolliver to set up a first and goal.  A few plays later it was Jarrett Lee hitting Tolliver on a fade to win the game, and the Mad Hatter had struck again.  LSU is 6-0.

2. Alabama is mere flesh and bone, just like you and I.   Following its 31-6 win over Florida last week, Alabama had been crowned as the clear-cut best team in the country, and people like me were wondering if it would ever lose again.  Turns out it would.  The Tide saw their 19-game SEC win streak come to an end in Columbia on Saturday, 'Bama's first regular-season loss since 2007.  Now they find themselves in the unfamiliar position of having to win out to have a chance to get back to the SEC title game.

3. The Ol' Ball Coach still has it.   With the win over Alabama, and Florida's loss to LSU, the Gamecocks find themselves in the driver's seat in the SEC East.  Odds are that when they roll into Gainesville on November 13 there will be a trip to the SEC Championship on the line.  As long as Stephen Garcia doesn't try throwing any more passes through the uprights, I like their chances.

4. The Auburn defense needs work.   Listen, it's nice that the Tigers are 6-0 and tied with LSU atop the SEC West standings, but if their defense doesn't play better than it did in Lexington on Saturday night, they can kiss any hopes of an SEC title goodbye.  The Tigers were torn apart through the air, as Kentucky completed 24-of-29 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns.  They needed a last second field goal to get out of Lexington alive and keep this from being one of the saddest Saturdays in the state of Alabama's history.

5. Mark Richt and the Bulldogs have a pulse.   The first five weeks of the Georgia season had been a nightmare for Richt and his team, and it was one it had to be wondering if it would ever wake up from.  Richt will have to thank Tennessee for remembering to set the alarm.  Georgia finally played like the team we're all used to seeing on Saturday, putting up 402 yards and 41 points on the overmatched Vols.  Georgia needs four wins in its last six games to go bowling, and looking at the schedule, suddenly it seems manageable.

Posted on: October 9, 2010 7:16 pm
 

Spurrier finally gets his big win in Columbia

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Ol' Ball Coach has been calling ball plays at South Carolina since 2005 but in Steve Spurrier 's first five years at the school the Gamecocks had never picked up that program-changing win.  They have now.  Following its 35-21 win over defending national champion Alabama on Saturday afternoon Spurrier's Gamecocks have officially arrived on the national scene.

Yes, the Gamecocks had some big wins in Spurrier's first year in Columbia, knocking off Tennessee at Neyland Stadium for the first time in school history, and beating Florida for the first time since 1939, but neither of those wins propelled South Carolina to an SEC championship game, and the school has found itself as nothing but a middle of the road SEC team since.

This win against Alabama, though, may just do the trick.

Now the Gamecocks still have a long road to travel before they can ge there, with two tough tests against Arkansas and Florida -- in The Swamp -- remaining in their way, but if they can knock off a team that had won 19-straight in the SEC and took home a title last season, they can win both of those games.

Whether they do or not, however, isn't what's important here.  It's the fact that it's possible at all.  There have been many critics who have wondered whether or not Spurrier would ever be able to build a SEC contender at South Carolina, and considering that he's only won eight games once and one of four bowl games, their doubt was understandable.

But is it a coincidence that now, in his sixth season at the helm, and with a roster full of his own players, his Gamecocks find themselves 4-1 with a shot at winning the SEC East?  I don't think so.

Five hours ago I was one of the many people who wondered if Spurrier had it in him.  Now?  Now I'm not sure anybody else in the SEC has it in them to take it away from Spurrier.

It's amazing what one win can do.
Posted on: October 9, 2010 5:27 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2010 5:42 pm
 

Alabama has some work to do

Posted by Tom Fornelli

 
































Those two touchdown passes by Stephen Garcia to Alshon Jeffery gave the Gamecocks a 21-3 lead before Alabama managed to miss a field goal following a long drive and put a touchdown on the board just before the half.

Of course, they missed the extra point following that score, so it's 21-9 as the third quarter gets underway.

While there is no need for the Crimson Tide to panic being down two scores with 30 minutes left to go, there are some adjustments they need to make.  First of all, you can't let Stephen Garcia complete all nine of his pass attempts for three touchdowns.  Some pressure on the mistake-prone quarterback would be a good idea.

When they have the ball, though, Alabama can't give up on a ground game that has been stuffed for the most part through the first thirty minutes.  The Tide are averaging 2.2 yards per carry, but experienced some success when running out of the Wildcat in the first half.  Considering what Cam Newton and the Auburn spread option attack did to the Gamecocks earlier this season, the Tide may want to keep trying it in the second half.

Also, if there was ever a game in which Greg McElroy was going to have to put his team's offense on his shoulders to win, this is it.  You have Julio Jones, use him.  Run some deep routes and hope you can open up some running lanes by doing so.

This isn't the first time Alabama has trailed at halftime this season, trailing Arkansas 17-7 at halftime in Fayetteville a few weeks ago, so we know they can come back and win this game.  Whether they do it this time around remains to be seen.



Posted on: October 9, 2010 4:26 pm
 

Gamecocks off to fast start against Alabama

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's still very early in Columbia, but in the second quarter the South Carolina Gamecocks are beating Alabama 21-3.

Alabama started the game with a nice drive that resulted in a field goal, but since then it's been all Gamecocks.  The Gamecocks followed the Tide's opening drive with a 7-play 63 yard scoring drive that was capped by Marcus Lattimore 's first career touchdown catch.  Then, after forcing an Alabama punt, South Carolina went on another 7-play 62-yard drive that ended when Stephen Garcia hit Alshon Jeffery for a 26-yard touchdown catch.

Making matters worse?  Greg McElroy just fumbled after being blindsided and South Carolina recovered and has the ball deep in Alabama territory.  A few plays later Garcia hit Jeffery for another touchdown.

Still, as we already said, it's early in this one.  Let's not forget that Arkansas had a 17-7 lead over the Tide at halftime two weeks ago before Alabama came back to win 24-20.

That being said, this has been just about as good a start that Steve Spurrier could have wanted for his team.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com