Posted on: September 4, 2011 11:20 pm
Edited on: September 4, 2011 11:21 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
TEXAS A&M WON. This game was a rather interesting one for Texas A&M as SMU was an opponent capable of giving the Aggies a headache to start the season. Well, Texas A&M won't be needing any Tylenol tonight. While the Mustangs hung around in the first half despite two turnovers that resulted in 14 Texas A&M points, the Aggies dominated the final 30 minutes. The Aggies used a balanced attack on offense and racked up 458 yards of total offense (212 rushing, 246 passing) while cruising to an easy victory. Ryan Tannehill looked very good, completing 21 of his 26 passes for 246 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Cyrus Gray rushed for 132 yards and 2 touchdowns of his own. Ryan Swope had a nice opener as well, catching 8 passes for 109 yards and a score.
WHY TEXAS A&M WON. While the offense had itself a strong night, Texas A&M's defense was the true deciding factor. The Aggies were facing an SMU offense that returned its entire offensive line, its quarterback and it's top rusher and receiver from a team that averaged nearly 30 points a game last season and held it to 14 points. The Aggies also forced two turnovers early that got Kyle Padron pulled from the game, and had 7 sacks on the evening, including 3 from defensive end Tony Jerod-Eddie. So much for dealing with the loss of Von Miller.
WHEN TEXAS A&M WON. The Mustangs were hanging tough despite turnovers and having their backup quarterback in the game, but when Christine Michael scored his second touchdown of the night a minute before halftime to make the score 33-14 it put an end to any realistic hopes that SMU might have had. It was the proverbial foot on the throat moment.
WHAT TEXAS A&M WON. Well, if the SWC were still around, the Aggies would have won a conference game. Instead the Aggies got to show everyone why they deserved to be ranked at #8 to start the season. It was exactly the type of performance you expect to see from a top ten team that is considered a candidate to win the Big 12.
WHAT SMU LOST. Stability at the quarterback position. Kyle Padron threw for 3,828 yards, 31 touchdowns and 14 interceptions for the Mustangs last season. He only threw 4 passes and had 2 interceptions before June Jones gave him the hook for J.J. McDermott, who played pretty well in his stead. Now the Mustangs have a question mark at a key position they thought they already had an answer to going into the night.
THAT WAS CRAZY. Nothing out of the ordinary really happened in this one, though I suppose the fact we had an entire game played this weekend without a lightning delay could be considered a bit of a novelty. Of course, the irony there is that the state of Texas is in the midst of a terrible drought and would more than welcome the rain that hit the midwest and east coast this weekend.
Posted on: September 3, 2011 11:51 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 11:52 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
OKLAHOMA WON. The Sooners looked every big the top-ranked team in the country on Saturday night, never even allowing Tulsa a moment to think it might leave Norman with a victory. The Sooners offense racked up 47 points and 663 yards of offense on the night. Landry Jones (375 yards 1 TD) and Ryan Broyles (14 receptions, 158 yards 1 TD) had their typical nights, but it was a running back without a scholarship who may have grabbed the most attention. Dominique Whaley finished the night with 131 yards and 4 touchdowns, possibly answering the question of how the Sooners offense will replace DeMarco Murray.
WHY OKLAHOMA WON. It's just too good on offense for a team like Tulsa to compete with. The Sooners had 30 points within the first 20 minutes of the game, and every time you average more than a point a minute, things tend to work out well. If there's anything to worry about, it's that a Tulsa offense without its biggest threat in playmaker Damaris Johnson picked up 400 yards against the Sooners defense. Still, the Sooners forced three turnovers and kept Tulsa off the scoreboard for the most part, and that's a defense's biggest job.
WHEN OKLAHOMA WON. When Damaris Johnson was suspended indefinitely. The Sooners struggled in their opener against Utah State last season -- Auburn sympathizes -- and there was a bit of an upset risk in this game if Johnson had been able to play. Once he was suspended, Tulsa's hopes were dashed unless Oklahoma forgot to show up to the stadium.
WHAT OKLAHOMA WON. Another week atop the rankings. While plenty of big name schools across the country struggled on Saturday, Oklahoma never really had to break a sweat, and that's what top-ranked teams are supposed to do.
THAT WAS CRAZY. My favorite part of this game was easy to pick out. Oklahoma defensive end Frank Alexander picked off a deflected pass by G.J. Kinne and returned it 27 yards before finally being tackled. Any time I get to watch a defensive lineman run in the open field it's a moment I cherish, and Alexander didn't let me down.
Posted on: September 3, 2011 11:52 am
Edited on: September 3, 2011 2:49 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Ah, sweet, glorious football. There's nothing quite like the first football Saturday of the season, when the days are warm, so are the nights, and you're liable to catch a major sunburn on half your face if you're sitting in the north or south part of the stadium. Lots of great games and great weather on tap today. All times are eastern.
Akron at No. 18 Ohio State, 12:00, Columbus, OH: Low 90s, clear
Utah State at No. 23 Auburn, 12:00, Auburn, AL: Low 90s, clear
Miami (OH) at No. 21 Missouri, 12:00, Columbia, MO: Upper 80s, partly cloudy, storms
Kent State at No. 2 Alabama, 12:20, Tuscaloosa, AL: Low 90s, clear
Appalachian State at No. 13 Virginia Tech, 12:30, Blacksburg, VA: Upper 80s, partly cloudy, storms
Louisiana-Monroe at No. 6 Florida State, 3:30, Tallahassee, FL: Upper 80s, partly cloudy
Chattanooga at No. 10 Nebraska, 3:30, Lincoln, NE: Mid 70s, storms
South Florida at No. 16 Notre Dame, 3:30, South Bend, IN: Upper 80s, mostly cloudy, storms
Minnesota at No. 25 USC, 3:30, Los Angeles, CA: Lower 80s, clear
San Jose State at No. 7 Stanford, 5:00, Palo Alto, CA: Lower 80s, clear
Florida Atlantic at No. 22 Florida, 7:00, Gainesville, FL: Lower 80s, partly cloudy, storms
Missouri State at No. 15 Arkansas, 7:00, Fayetteville, AR: Upper 80s, clear
Louisiana-Lafayette at No. 9 Oklahoma State, 7:00, Stillwater, OK: Lower 90s, partly cloudy
East Carolina at No. 12 South Carolina, 7:00, Columbia, SC: Mid 80s, clear
Tulsa at No. 1 Oklahoma, 8:00, Norman, OK: Lower 90s, partly cloudy
No. 5 Boise State at No. 19 Georgia, 8:00, Atlanta, GA (Georgia Dome): Mid 70, partly cloudy
No. 3 Oregon at No. 4 LSU, 8:00, Arlington, TX (Cowboys Stadium): Whatever temperature Jerry Jones says. But outside it will be in the high 80s
Late night kickoffs
Colorado at Hawaii, 10:15, Honolulu, HI: Upper 70s, showers
Tags: ACC, Akron, Alabama, Appalachian State, Arkansas, Auburn, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Boise State, Chattanooga, Colorado, Conference USA, East Carolina, FCS, Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida State, Football Weather, Gameday Weather, Georgia, Hawaii, Jerry Jones, Jerryworld, Kent State, Kickoff Weather, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, LSU, MAC, Miami University, Minnesota, Missouri, Missouri State, Mountain West, Nebraska, Non-BCS, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pac-12, San Jose State, SEC, South Carolina, South Florida, Stanford, Sun Belt, Tailgate Weather, Tulsa, USC, Utah State, Virginia Tech, WAC, Weather Updates
Posted on: September 2, 2011 3:17 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet. Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.
While Thursday and Friday night serve as delicious appetizers for the new college football season, one that feels like it took forever to get here, the big games start on Saturday. Since it's been a while since you planted your behind on a couch on a Saturday morning and stayed there all day, you're probably going to need some help navigating through the day.
So lucky for you, the Eye On College Football crew has brought the Saturday Meal Plan back. It's your weekly menu of which games should be on your plate and where you can find them.
#18 Ohio State vs. Akron - ESPN, 12pm ET
So many questions for Ohio State on Saturday. Will the Luke Fickell-era offense look any different? Who's going to shine between QBs Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller? How much will the team miss its eight suspended players? Does Akron stand a chance anyway? - Adam Jacobi
#23 Auburn vs. Utah State - ESPN2, 12pm ET
Despite some close calls, Auburn hasn't lost to a school outside the current BCS conferences since Southern Miss upset the Tigers back in 1991. (USM's quarterback that day was a guy named Brett Favre, who would later become famous for inventing the cell phone camera.) So it's going to take a very good team by WAC standards to break that streak, and the Aggies -- the WAC's sixth-place finisher a year ago, now without star quarterback Diondre Borel -- very likely aren't that team. Most of the drama on the Auburn sidelines should concern which of their FBS-high 16 new starters look ready for their close-up, most notably new quarterback Barrett Trotter. But if Trotter and the other Tiger cubs come out nervous -- particularly the true sophomore defensive tackle pairing of Jeffrey Whitaker and Kenneth Carter, who could have their hands full with USU's veteran line -- things could stay competitive for longer than Gene Chizik would like. - Jerry Hinnen
Boston College vs. Northwestern - ESPNU, 12pm ET
You never like to start the season with injury concerns, and that this case for the star player on both these rosters. Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa was listed as "questionable" for Saturday's opener as he continues to recover from an achilles injury that ended his 2010 campaign, but popular belief seems to be that he will see the field. Boston College running back Montel Harris underwent his second arthroscopic knee surgery and will miss the game. Making matters even more difficult for the Eagles was an ankle sprain to talented backup Andre Williams. Williams will start and appears ready to go, but there will be more pressure on quarterback Chase Rettig to establish a passing attack against the Northwestern defense. Don't expect Persa to get any easy looks from the Boston College defense, led by All-American linebacker Luke Kuechly. - Chip Patterson
#16 Notre Dame vs. South Florida - NBC, 3:30pm ET
Year Two of the Brian Kelly Era in South Bend gets under way in a game against a former Notre Dame coach, and the son of the man who last brought a national championship to the school, Skip Holtz. There's a lot to look at in this game for both teams. Namely, will Notre Dame finally start to live up to the expectations placed on it every season, and which B.J. Daniels is going to show up for South Florida? - Tom Fornelli
#25 USC vs. Minnesota - ABC/ESPN2, 3:30pm ET
Perhaps it is saying something about how quiet Lane Kiffin has been at USC that one of the more notable things about this game is actually about the opposing coach. The Jerry Kill era begins in earnest on the road and he brings a Minnesota team that barely resembles the one that lost to the Trojans a year ago. The Gophers will compete with dual-threat MarQueis Gray at quarterback and a solid linebacking corps but it will be a tough task to pull of the upset against the firepower of the USC offense. Matt Barkley and Robert Woods are a fun pair to watch while Trojan fans will be nervous to see if the defense looks any better than it did last year. - Bryan Fischer
Michigan vs. Western Michigan - ABC/ESPN2, 3:30 pm ET
It's a new era for Michigan -- again -- and Brady Hoke's charges are going to face a stiff challenge from MAC stalwarts Western Michigan. Yes, seriously. The Wolverines probably won't be suffering for points with Denard Robinson leading the new offense, but the Broncos are more than capable of hanging around in this one, as standout QB Alex Carder should find plenty of opportunities to advance the ball through the air. Keep an eye on this one for some possible afternoon fireworks. - AJ
Ole Miss vs. BYU - ESPN, 4:45pm ET
Life in the SEC West isn't easy for anybody, but if Ole Miss is going to get to six wins and back to a bowl game this year, then this is one of those games the Rebels need to win. Though it's not like BYU is just going to hand the game to them, as the Cougars would like to get their new life as an independent off on the right foot, and what better way to do that than by getting a win against the SEC? - TF
#22 Florida vs. FAU - ESPNU, 7pm ET
The first sign that not everything was well in Gatorland in 2010 was Florida's season opener vs. Miami (Ohio), when Urban Meyer's team gained all of 25 yards through three quarters and wheezed their way to a 34-12 victory. Unfortunately for Meyer, the RedHawks wound up one of the nation's most surprising teams. But just as fortunately for Will Muschamp, his debut as Gator head coach shouldn't be nearly so stressful--FAU has been pegged for the bottom rungs of the Sun Belt, and will be breaking in a new quarterback and six new defensive starters in the Swamp. Most Gator fans should wind up watching quarterback John Brantley rather than the scoreboard, as a steady, solid outing by the much-maligned senior would boost his and his team's confidence considerably. - JH
#1 Oklahoma vs. Tulsa - FX, 8pm ET
The Sooners are the preseason favorite of many people throughout the country, and Saturday night will be their first chance to show people why. This game had a lot more upset potential before the arrest and suspension of Tulsa wide receiver Damaris Johnson, but the possibility that it's a lot closer than most would expect is still there. - TF
#4 LSU vs. #3 Oregon - ABC, 8pm ET
It's not just the game of this year's opening week; it would be the game of every year's opening week. And that's just looking at the rankings of the two teams--add in the Will Lyles drama at both schools, the Tigers' August bar brawl and subsequent Jordan Jefferson suspension, Cliff Harris' and Russell Shepard's respective troubles, Chip Kelly's history of nonconference woes, Jarrett Lee's potential redemption, LaMichael James kicking off his Heisman campaign, the bevy of other All-American candidates on both rosters, and the one-and-only Les Miles, and this game is as intriguing as intriguing gets. For the Ducks, victory may come down to their revamped offensive front giving Darron Thomas enough space to get Kelly's option-game going. Tiger end Sam Montgomery, though, is the kind of elite defensive lineman the Ducks have struggled with even with veteran lines. For LSU, if Lee can avoid turnovers, the Tigers' advantage on both lines-of-scrimmage should eventually prove decisive. But given the Ducks' ball-hawking ways, that's much easier said than done. The one thing we can say for certain: we'll be watching. - JH
#19 Georgia vs. #5 Boise State - ESPN, 8pm ET
Another year, another high profile season opener for the Broncos. Heisman candidate Kellen Moore will lead Boise State into a not-so-neutral Georgia Dome to face the Bulldogs in the annual Chick fil-A Kickoff. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, who said this week he hopes to emulate Moore's success, will be trying to make his own statement after an impressive freshman season in 2010. The Georgia-heavy crowd in Atlanta will not be the only uphill battle for the Broncos. Boise State is undersized defensively in comparison to the Bulldogs offensive line, and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is sure to use the 3-4 scheme to put some added pressure on Moore. However, Moore does take care of the ball (74-9 TD:Int ratio last two seasons) and Georgia will be counting on the unproven true freshman Isaiah Crowell to anchor the running game. Get the "LAST" button ready, because you'll want to see both Top 25 showdowns in the primetime slot. - CP
LATE NIGHT SNACK
Hawaii vs. Colorado - ESPN2, 10:15pm ET
This Pac-12 life isn't too bad, is it, Colorado? Your very first game and you get a trip to Hawaii to show for it. Unfortunately for the Buffaloes, they still have to face a Hawaii offense featuring dark horse Heisman candidate Bryant Moniz that puts up points in bunches. This game should be an entertaining way to end your Saturday. - TF
Tags: Aaron Murray, ACC, Adam Jacobi, Akron, Alex Carder, Andre Williams, Auburn, B.J. Daniels, Barrett Trotter, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Boise State, Boston College, Brady Hoke, Braxton Miller, Brett Favre, Brian Kelly, Bryan Fischer, Bryant Moniz, BYU, C-USA, Chase Rettig, Chip Kelly, Chip Patterson, Cliff Harris, Colorado, Conference USA, Damaris Johnson, Dan Persa, Darron Thomas, Denard Robinson, Diondre Borel, FAU, Florida, Florida Atlantic, Gene Chizik, Georgia, Hawaii, Isaiah Crowell, Jarrett Lee, Jeffrey Whitaker, Jerry Hinnen, Jerry Kill, Joe Bauserman, John Brantley, Jordan Jefferson, Kellen Moore, Kenneth Carter, LaMichael James, Lane Kiffin, Les Miles, LSU, Luke Fickell, Luke Kuechly, MAC, MarQueis Gray, Matt Barkley, Michigan, Minnesota, Montel Harris, Mountain West, MWC, Non-BCS, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon, Pac-12, Robert Woods, Russell Shepard, Sam Montgomery, Saturday Meal Plan, SEC, Skip Holtz, South Florida, Southern Miss, Sun Belt, Todd Grantham, Tom Fornelli, Tulsa, Urban Meyer, USC, Utah State, WAC, Western Michigan, Will Lyles, Will Muschamp
Posted on: September 1, 2011 11:39 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2011 9:32 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
MISSISSIPPI STATE WON: Despite suspending five players just before kickoff, the Bulldogs manhandling the overmatched Tigers from the opening kick, taking a 24-0 second-quarter lead and racking up 405 yards of offense by halftime. Running back Vick Ballard finished with a career-high 166 yards on 16 carries and three touchdowns, and the Bulldog offense as a whole set a school record with 645 total yards.
WHY MISSISSIPPI STATE WON: The overwhelming advantage in talent and coaching over one of the worst teams in FBS, mostly. But State fans will be happy to see an offense that looked sluggish for much of 2010 flash some serious big-play potential. Chris Relf threw several precision deep passes, connecting for scores of 44 and 35 yards, and Ballard broke loose for touchdown runs of 35 and 66 yards. Redshirt freshman receiver Jameon Lewis even added an 80-yard score in garbage time.
If any of the suspended players were truly missed, it was starting defensive tackle Fletcher Cox; the Tigers found enough room up the middle for running backs Billy Foster, Artaves Gibson, and Jerrell Rhodes to average a healthy 5 yards per-carry and combine for a total of 170. But Memphis's passing game (quarterbacked by first-year starter Andy Summerlin and true freshman Taylor Reed) was no match for the veteran Bulldog secondary, which held the Tigers to a miserable 4.2 yards per-attempt through three quarters. Much stronger foes await (starting with Auburn in Week 2), but the MSU defensive backfield looks SEC-ready.
WHEN MISSISSIPPI STATE WON: Tempting as it is to say "as soon as they successfully negotiated walking down the tunnel into the stadium," Memphis looked like they'd gained a modicum of second-quarter momentum when they foiled a State fake punt, turned it into a 21-yard Foster touchdown, and forced MSU to start their next drive at their own 2. But State went 98 yards in 5 plays to go up 31-7 with 1:51 left before the half, ending whatever shreds of competitive drama remained.
WHAT MISSISSIPPI STATE WON: By scheduling the game for Thursday, a couple of days extra preparation for Auburn. And by scheduling Memphis, a healthy sense of confidence that should let Mullen make the most of that extra time.
Posted on: September 1, 2011 10:25 am
Edited on: September 1, 2011 10:47 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Tulsa's Damaris Johnson was poised to become one of 2011's best stories. But it now appears he'll become one of its most cautionary tales.
Tulsa law enforcement issued a warrant for Johnson's arrest Wednesday, according to the Tulsa World. He will be charged with felony embezzlement following an incident in which Johnson's girlfriend Chamon Jones, a department store cashier, allegedly sold Johnson more than $2,600 worth of clothing for a fraction of its true cost.
Jones was arrested August 26 and Johnson suspended indefinitely by the Golden Hurricane shortly thereafter. As of early Wednesday evening, Johnson had not yet been arrested.
Already in the NCAA record books as the NCAA's all-time leader in both all-purpose yardage and kick return yardage, Johnson was set to put both marks virtually out of reach during his senior season. By padding both numbers and leading Tulsa into a Conference USA title chase, Johnson likely would have become the nationwide star his eye-popping numbers suggest he ought to have been already.
But now the Golden Hurricane have an unfillable hole in their lineup and Johnson has much bigger problems than anything having to do with football. Though he remains innocent until proven guilty, Wednesday's events make it entirely possible that Johnson's stunning career will end just as stunningly after only three years.
Posted on: August 31, 2011 12:21 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2011 12:21 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The official Fulmer Cup competition over at Everyday Should Be Saturday came to an end at 11:59pm eastern but not before Marshall wide receiver Troy Evans did what he could to give the Thundering Herd a late push. Evans was arrested for a series of armed robberies he allegedly committed over the weekend.
Evans has been hit with four counts of armed robbery and one count of wanton endangerment and was booked into the Western Regional jail on $250,000 bond on Tuesday night.
All four of the robberies took place within a ten-minute span early Sunday morning.
According to the police report, the first incident took place with two victims who claim they were approached by a man brandishing a handgun and demanding their wallets. Both victims turned their wallets over and fled after the gunman turned his weapon on a third victim who was walking on the sidewalk. The fourth victim, Dustin Manns, claims that the gunman approached him and asked for a cigarette, and after the victim told him he didn't smoke he had a gun stuck in his face and was told to turn over his wallet.
That's when things got a bit more interesting.
According to Manns, he refused to give up his wallet and was struck in the head with the gun. Then two Huntington police cars came down the street and the gunman fled and hid behind some bushes. While doing so, the gunman slipped causing the gun to go off, hence the wanton endangerment count. Mann said the gunman then got away.
Evans was expected to be a contributor for the Herd this fall, but as you'd expect, he's been suspended indefinitely.
Posted on: August 30, 2011 3:39 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2011 4:11 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
During Monday night's South Carolina practice, starting corner Akeem Auguste reaggravated a left foot injury. Per CBSSports.com RapidReporter Josh Kendall, Auguste will now come off the bench in the Gamecocks' Saturday season opener against East Carolina--if he plays at all.
Starting in Auguste's place will be senior and part-time 2010 starter C.C. Whitlock, with the Gamecock's top backups in the event of Auguste's absence projected to be senior (and former walk-on) Marty Markett and redshirt freshman Cadarious Sanders. A former track athlete, Markett has one start in his two seasons on the Gamecock football team, while Sanders was one of the lower-profile additions to Carolina's 2010 class.
If the 'Cocks were opening their season against any random FCS or Sun Belt tomato can, nothing that was going on in the Gamecock secondary would matter. Even if they were opening against most Conference USA teams, or some lower-rung BCS squad, it wouldn't matter. But against the Pirates? It could matter.
It's not likely to, of course; South Carolina is a legitimate top-20 team and ECU -- 6-7 a year ago with a defense ranked dead last in FBS total defense -- is most certainly not.
But thanks to that ailing Carolina secondary, the Pirates could present the Gamecocks with a stiff challenge all the same. ECU's (newly slimmed-down) head coach is Ruffin McNeill, a former defensive coordinator under Mike Leach at Texas Tech, and McNeill's offensive coordinator is Lincoln Riley, a former Tech wide receivers coach and devoted Leach protege. So it wasn't a surprise when their 2010 Pirate offense was as close to Leach's old Air Raid as it was possible to get, throwing more often than any other team in the country, turning quarterback Dominique Davis into the country's fourth-leading passer, and receivers Dwayne Harris and Lance Lewis into a matched pair of 1,100-yard receivers.
Now Riley, Davis, Lewis, and two other players with 40-plus receptions* are all back for another go-round--meaning that they might present matchup problems for South Carolina even if Auguste wasn't injured. The Gamecock secondary was quietly the team's Achilles heel last season, ranking 97th in pass defense and a scarcely-better 87th in opponent's quarterback rating. And even those numbers might have been generous to the Carolina secondary, which had the good fortune of playing alongside the nation's fifth-most potent pass rush. In short: whenever opposing quarterbacks had time to throw against the 2010 'Cocks, they found plenty of success.
And ECU's system -- as with Leach's before it -- is structured in such a way that their quarterback always has time. Despite their nation-leading number of attempts, the Pirates still finished in the FBS top-20 in sacks allowed, giving one up just once every 50 dropbacks. Gamecock defensive line coach Brad Lawing took notice:
"You can’t sack them,” Lawing said. “He just catches it and throws it, catches it and throws it. You can’t get there. It’s just not going to happen. You could have Lawrence Taylor up there five times and you can’t get there.”So ... if the Gamecock pass rush won't matter ... and the Gamecock secondary can't keep up ... what happens?
What happens is that South Carolina wins going away 9 times out of 10, maybe 95 times out of 100. The Pirates have no answer for the likes of Marcus Lattimore or Alshon Jeffery, no way to handle the size Carolina offers up front, no way to avoid wearing down in the face of the Gamecocks' superior depth. We're not suggesting an upset is imminent, not when the Gamecocks have the firepower to match every score the Pirates put on the board and then some. Even the secondary concerns may be overblown--while we don't feel Stephen Gilmore has been an All-SEC caliber player (for the reasons listed above), having him, Whitlock, and fellow returning starter D.J. Swearinger back must lead to some improvement.
That said--if Stephen Garcia has one of his occasional space-case performances? If Connor Shaw isn't ready for his close-up? And Davis and the Pirate wideouts begin abusing Auguste's replacements? And the game remains close into the third or even fourth quarters, and the favored Gamecocks can't find their mojo in Charlotte's neutral-site venue? This being the 1 time out of 10 isn't impossible.
*Though one of those players won't see the field Saturday.
Tags: Akeem Auguste, Brad Lawing, C.C. Whitlock, Cadarious Sanders, Conference USA, Connor Shaw, D.J. Swearinger, Dominique Davis, Dwayne Harris, East Carolina, Jerry Hinnen, Lance Lewis, Lincoln Riley, Marcus Lattimore, Marty Markett, Mike Leach, Ruffin McNeill, SEC, South Carolina, Stephen Garcia, Stephen Gilmore, Texas Tech