Lawmaker trying to force Clemson and South Carolina to keep playing each other

With conference realignment comes changing schedules. Altering schedules can threaten rivalries. That’s the nature of the beast. Annual rivalry games like Pittsburgh-West Virginia and Texas-Texas A&M could become extremely rare with the way conference expansion and realignment looks across college football. With the ACC set to add Pitt and Syracuse within the next couple years, ACC teams will only be allowed to schedule three non-conference games. That would make it extremely difficult for the Clemson-South Carolina rivalry to continue annually.

That is, unless, Republican state representative Nathan Ballentine has something to say about it. According to The State, Ballentine has put forth a proposal that would essentially force Clemson and South Carolina to continue their 103-year rivalry after realignment.

“I had a constituent bring it up to me, asking whether it was state law that these two teams play. It’s not,” Ballentine said. “With all the conference realignment, we just wanted to make sure this annual game continues. You saw Texas and Texas A&M. That rivalry went by the wayside. … No one wants to see that happen here to our two universities where families enjoy the annual game, and it’s great for our economy.”

He may be right about everyone wanting the tradition to continue, but does legislation have any place in the scheduling of college football games? If both schools want to play each other badly enough, the game will continue. Ultimately, it is up to the universities to determine their non-conference schedules.

“Clemson would prefer to not have to legislate this issue as I cannot conceive of a realistic scenario that would prohibit Clemson and South Carolina from continuing our football series,” Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips said.

A USC spokesman echoed those thoughts: “Athletic schedules need to be decided by athletic directors and coaches.”

In other words, Ballentine needs to find a more useful way to spend his time.

H/T College Football Talk

Video: Dabo Swinney Crushes Steve Spurrier ‘South Carolina Will Never be Clemson’

After South Carolina beat Clemson 34-13 last Saturday, Steve Spurrier supposedly made a disparaging remark about the rival Tigers. The comment was sent via the Gamecocks football Twitter account:

When asked about the insult Thursday, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney went off on a well-prepared, well-supported rant. The only problem is the Gamecocks football account has now backtracked to protect the Ol’ Ball Coach.

They’re saying Spurrier never made that remark (at least not to the media). Instead, they say the quote came from South Carolina play-by-play announcer Todd Ellis.

During the broadcast Saturday, Ellis said, “as Coach Spurrier says, we may not be LSU or Alabama, but we ain’t Clemson folks.”

Here’s the audio:

Swinney said he had heard about Spurrier’s insult, and since it hadn’t been retracted or denied, he responded. In short, Swinney agreed that South Carolina was not Clemson, because the Tigers are a much more accomplished program.

Here is a video of Dabo’s response:

[Read more...]

South Carolina Fails to Cover Spread After Taking Safety on Last Play

South Carolina screwed many bettors Saturday when they decided to run out the clock on the game’s final play by taking an intentional safety.

The Gamecocks were up 14-10 and favored by 2.5 or 3 points in most sports books. They had a 4th and 12 with four seconds left in the game, and the ball at their nine. Instead of attempting a play, or kneeling down (the clock would have stopped and the ball would have been turned over on downs), they did the smart thing and had their quarterback run backwards until the four seconds ran off the clock.

Time expired on the final play, but the intentional safety counted in the final score. South Carolina ended up winning 14-12, screwing anyone who had the Gamecocks giving the points. It was the probably the smartest play for South Carolina, even if it hurt gamblers. Covers.com says 69% of bettors had the Gamecocks laying the points, so the move hurt a lot more people than it helped. And once again, Steve Spurrier is making many more enemies than he did in his press conference earlier in the week.

Thanks to The Wiz of Odds for the heads up

Steve Spurrier: Some Players Will Go Drink Beer All Summer

If nothing else, you have to admit Steve Spurrier is a realist. Although they would like to think they have control over their players at all times, college coaches can’t play parent throughout the entire calendar year. After South Carolina’s last session of spring drills on Thursday, Spurrier was asked what his players will need to do throughout the offseason to prepare for fall practices.

“When they come out in August they’re about where they were when we left them in spring ball,” he explained. “It’s an individual thing. Coaches can only give them a plan, then they’ve got to do it. We can’t coach them during the summer.

“We’ve tried to teach our players here’s what you need to do all summer,” he continued. “Some guys do it. Some go drink beer all summer.”

Naturally, the coach is talking about his players who are 21 and over.  College kids who are under the legal drinking age don’t drink — especially the athletes. We all know that.  Spurrier is also the coach once told us Stephen Garcia showed up to summer 7-on-7 drills wearing Crocs or sandals, so he knows players tend to become a little lax over the offseason.

On the other hand, it’s also possible Spurrier was throwing his team one last public kick in the ass before they break for the summer.  Maybe his message was “don’t drink beers all summer or show up to practice wearing sandals and we’ll stand a better shot at contending.”  We’ll never know.

Marcus Lattimore Is the Real Deal

I don’t follow the college football recruiting scene too much, but from reading Sporting News Today on a regular basis, I constantly came across their Top 100 high school football players list. It was kind of funny to see the same list every day with no news to report, but every once in a while a player would commit to a school and the list was updated.

One of the players who was always at the top of the list was Marcus Lattimore. Lattimore is from Duncan, South Carolina and he was considering Auburn, Georgia, and South Carolina, amongst other high-profile schools. Lattimore chose his hometown South Carolina and has been impressive through two games.

In his Gamecocks debut, Lattimore ran for 54 yards and two touchdowns against Southern Miss. In his second game, Lattimore found the end zone the same amount of times but he did much more than that.

Lattimore ran for 182 yards on 37 carries and caught a pass for an additional 16 yards in a 17-6 win over Georgia. He was running physically and with a bruising style, carrying guys on his back as he churned out yards. If ever there was a “workhorse” back, Lattimore would be it. It’s hard to know what to expect from a freshman runner, but we know Steve Spurrier has found himself quite a weapon. Now the only question is whether or not Lattimore will be able to hold up over the long haul; 37 carries is a lot for anyone to endure.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain

Ol’ Ball Coach Unimpressed by Georgia

It’s one thing for a coach to tell pundits not to get excited about a hot start. But it’s a complete other when your way of doing so is to rip your opponent. That’s exactly what Steve Spurrier did following South Carolina’s win this weekend, stirring the pot as he’s done quite a bit this year:

It wasn’t like they were some big, powerful team,” Spurrier said on his television show Sunday. “They’ve actually lost five in a row to Eastern Division opponents. Kentucky and Vandy beat ‘em last year.”

Preach on, brother Spurrier. Talk about telling it like it is. Let me just say this much for Spurrier: good thing he gets Georgia at home next year — he’s going to need every advantage he can get.

(via Fark)

What, South Carolina Actually Has Academic Standards?

That will definitely be filed under the “who knew” headline. Here I was thinking that South Carolina would admit anyone who wished to attend the university, you know, just so they could fill up seats in their classrooms. That was until I was informed that a few recruits who signed with the school didn’t end up being admitted.

Spurrier was angered that receiver Michael Bowman of Wadesboro, N.C., and Arkee Smith of Jacksonville, Fla., were cleared by the NCAA to enroll, yet were turned down by the university. The rest of the Gamecocks football team officially reported Friday for preseason camp.

“Hopefully, I truly believe this is the last year this is going to happen, because I can’t operate like that,” Spurrier said. “I can’t operate misleading young men.”

First the confederate flag, now this. Spurrier, causing a stir. Not to mention, appealing to moral standards here — he can’t operate misleading young men. Leave it to Steve to be watching out for America’s youth. And South Carolina with academic standards? Who knew!

Chest Bump: Ryan Ferguson at FanHouse