Arminian Today

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The Life of A Gamecock Fan

South Carolina lost a football game Saturday night to Kentucky.  45-38.  The score does not show the game.  South Carolina dominated the Wildcats.  The Gamecocks had over 500 yards of offense but the problem was the defense (as it has been all year).  The Gamecocks could not stop the same play over and over and over again.  The Wildcats ran the “wildcat” where a running back sets up in the shotgun and simply takes the snap and runs this way or that.  The Gamecocks defense had no answer and in the end the Wildcats won the game on the heels of the “wildcat” play and a pick six of our quarterback.

This loss left the Gamecocks at 3-3.  South Carolina has only lost a total of 6 games the past three years.  I fear that the Gamecocks will lose 6 to 7 games this year.  South Carolina should beat Furman and South Alabama but will struggle against Tennessee (a bad Vols team) and Florida (a bad Gators team) and will lose to Clemson (I dread even typing that).  South Carolina has won 5 straight games against our rivals, Clemson, but this is looking like their year this year.

For Gamecock fans, the loss to Kentucky hurt.  Kentucky is a basketball school.  They are a bottom dwelling SEC team.  Back in the late 1990’s, Hal Mumme had the Wildcats throwing all over the place and even landed Tim Couch (who became the first #1 pick for the Cleveland Browns in their return to the NFL).  The Gamecocks lost to Kentucky a bunch in the 1990’s but then came the 2000’s and the Gamecocks dominated the Cats.  South Carolina won 10 straight games against Kentucky before they upset the Gamecocks in 2010.  South Carolina is not Kentucky.  South Carolina has won 11 games three straight seasons and Kentucky has never won 11 games in their program’s history.  Kentucky is down there with Vanderbilt in our minds and history proves it.

So the loss hurts because South Carolina has not been Kentucky.  But this year we are.

Before 2010, South Carolina had always been a mediocre program.  I sat through the 1998-1999 seasons when we went 1-10 and 0-11.  We beat New Mexico State to open the 2000 season to snap the nation’s longest losing streak and our fans tore down the goalposts.  A week later South Carolina upset #9 Georgia 21-10 against Heisman hopeful Quincy Carter and our fans once again tore down the goalposts.  South Carolina went on to have 8-4 and 9-3 seasons in 2000 and 2001 with back to back wins over Ohio State in the Outback Bowl.  And then mediocrity kicked in again.  South Carolina struggled to 5-7, 5-7, and 5-7 seasons the next three years.  Under Lou Holtz we had some improvement but failed to beat the “orange” teams (Florida, Tennessee, and Clemson).  South Carolina beat Clemson in 2001 but would not again until 2006.

Now to document the level of mediocrity, South Carolina beat Clemson in 1987, 1991, 1994, 1996, 2001, and 2006 before the Gamecocks pounded Clemson from 2009-2013.  Five wins in a row compared to five wins in about 20 years against Clemson.  South Carolina, under Steve Spurrier, has beat Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama (who was #1 then), and Clemson multiple times.  South Carolina has beat Nebraska, Michigan, and Wisconsin in three straight bowl games.  South Carolina played Auburn for the SEC title in 2010 (a loss to Cam Newton led Tigers who won the national championship that year) and was in the top 25 for 62 straight polls before falling out this year.  The Gamecocks have produced NFL talent including the number 1 pick for the Houston Texans this year in Clowney.

Needless to say, we have been spoiled.  We are not use to 3 loses.  But we have short memories.  In 2009 South Carolina ended the season at 7-5 with a win over a favored Clemson team.  They turned around and lost to Connecticut in a minor bowl.  I was just happy with the win over Clemson.  That was the life of a Gamecock fan back in those days.  I was happy to just go to a meaningless bowl game but was very happy we beat Clemson.  In 2008 we had ended with a loss to Clemson and was destroyed by Iowa in the Outback Bowl.  I was happier with the 2009 results than the 2008 results.

I remember just hoping South Carolina would win 6 or 7 games.  I remember being happy when South Carolin won 10 games in 1984.  That year the Gamecocks had risen to #2 in the polls and had the chance to be the first (and still only) #1 team in the polls but lost to Navy (yes Navy!).  They finished 10-1 and faced Barry Sanders and Oklahoma State in the Gator Bowl.  South Carolina lost 21-14.  Until 2011, South Carolina had never won more than 10 games and only once (1984) had won 10 games.  The Gamecocks won 11 games in 2011, 2012, and 2013 when they had never won more than 11 games in the program’s history!

Until 1994, South Carolina was 0-8 all time in bowl games.  They beat West Virginia in the Carquest Bowl to snap their losing streak.  They would not win again until 2001.

My point in all this is that South Carolina has long been a tough place for success.  Steve Spurrier has brought the most success in our program’s history.  He has done so mainly with good defenses (which we don’t have this year) and a solid running game.  South Carolina will struggle this year and I fear that Spurrier will retire (though his pride probably won’t let that happen as he will want to go out with a big year).  This has been a rough season so far but South Carolina fans should remember the past and realize that this program once lived and died in mediocrity.

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

10/06/2014 at 12:21 PM

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