Tuesday, October 23, 2007

South Carolina and the Commodores (Sounds like a singing group!)

Today, I want to get to a game from Week 8 that I have neglected so far, but that is quite significant -- Vanderbilt at South Carolina.

After a couple of days, the blogs on both sides have had a chance to react. First of all, we have Sennsm at The Vanderbilt Tailgate:

DEFENSE. Man that was a great defensive effort. Although I didn't see it I did listen to all of it. Everytime I thought the Gamecocks were going to make a run at us, the defense stood strong. We all know in the past that the defense probably would have wilted. The big stat was that the Gamecocks were 1-12 on third down conversions.
So what happened here is the Commodores beat the Gamecocks at their own game, in their own house. Folks, that just can't be good. I didn't see any of the game, but I do know that the Commodores were #22 in total defense in the nation going into the game, and USC was #35. So you have to think that based on that, the two teams were pretty much true to form -- except when it comes to the final score.

Star & Stripe calls it the most important game since 1937:
On October 23, 1937, the Vanderbilt Commodores hosted the Louisiana State Tigers at Dudley Field in Nashville.

Earlier that year, Leon Trotsky and his associates were executed for trying to assassinate Stalin.

FDR was president of the United States, and he was flexing his muscles in the Supreme Court court-packing scheme.

Daffy Duck premiered for the first time.

The Golden Gate Bridge opened to traffic.

Amelia Earhart disappeared in her bid to become the first woman to fly around the world.

J.R.R. Tolkien's book The Hobbit was published.

And then, on the third Saturday of October that year, the Men of West End wearing Black-and-Gold defeated the sixth-best team in the country, by one point: 7-6.

It was the highest-ranked football team that Vanderbilt had ever beaten since the days that rankings had begun to be given.

And it would be the highest-ranked team Vanderbilt had ever beaten for a long, long time. Then, seventy years later, almost to the day, the Commodores finally, finally did it again.
I'm not quite sure whether to be impressed or depressed by that. I thought Kentucky had it rough, but man, that's just a long, unbroken line of futility right there. Nothing but props to the Commodores, though, they did in this case what Kentucky could not -- come into Spurrier's stadium and hand him a big, fat "L".

But there is still more great Vandy reax to this upset. Matt Wilson at Nashville Ballerz says the time for VU jokes has come to an end -- Vanderbilt is officially ahead of Tennessee in the BCS standings. Man, I thought Fulmer's seat was hot before, but when the Vol faithful here this news ... well, I just don't know what they'll say, but I doubt the Vol fans will be jumping for joy, especially since Vandy just beat Tennessee a couple of years back. I'm thinking the annual grudge match is going to be good, and if Vandy wins again, Flumer is going to find out what it's like to be Zookered.

So how are the Gamecock fans feeling now that they've had a few days of humiliation assimilation? Garnet and Black Attack lists 5 reasons why the result went against Carolina, and I found this one to be the most ironic:

3. The quarterback play was ... ahem ... uneven. Sure, you could look at one half of the line on the Gamecocks' signal-callers and say, eh, not awful. They went 23-of-43 for 256 yards. But the other half of the line is terrible: No TDs, 3 INTs. What do you make of that?

It's truly incredible that a Spurrier-coached team should be so futile at the quarterback spot. It's also questionable coaching by the OBC to keep trying out candidates for the starting spot 8 weeks into the season. The Cool Chicken says something similar:
The loss yesterday to Vanderbilt however, falls squarely on the offensive genius’ shoulders. For the first time, Coach Spurrier did not put us in a position to win the game. For the first time, Coach Spurrier made a decision before the game began that doomed our chances of competing. That decision was to rotate quarterbacks.
I hate to break it to you, CC, but it's gonna get worse before it gets better:

New starter?Meanwhile, Tommy Beecher could compete for the starting job against the Vols. SAVIOR OF THE PROGRAM Stephen Garcia? Not so much.

The Gamecocks might add a third quarterback to the mix. Redshirt sophomore Tommy Beecher, who has not played since the S.C. State game on Sept. 15, could see action because of his mobility. ...

Heh. This looks to me like the Steve Spurrier version of a Chinese fire drill. Gamecock fans are so confusticated and bebothered by this whole debacle that some of them think it might be time to chuck a few boos down from the stands:
I agree that fans should not boo their own team especially when they struggle and especially when it is more the coaches fault. I don't think fans should boo opposing teams either as they enter the stadium. But what was on display this past weekend was, how should we say, "not so good" and a boo was deserved (let the record show however I was not one of those that did boo yet feel the performance by USC deserved it).
Ouch. I don't think we fans should ever boo our teams, ever. Boo the opponent if you must, but support your team. That's my opinion anyway. But I do understand the frustration.