Ending a dreadful year. Ron Morris writes that South Carolina's 2007-08 year was notable for, well, not being very notable.
There is no denying that the collapse was total. Men’s golf placed second in the SEC championships, only to fall apart in NCAA competition. Women’s soccer, with a 5-4-2 record, posted the only winning mark against SEC competition where standings were kept.
That was the extent of USC’s success. It fell to 70th in the Directors Cup standings, its lowest ranking in the past 10 years. After placing fourth among SEC schools in 2002 and 2003, USC ranked 10th among the 12 SEC schools this year. For only the second time in the past 10 years, USC finished below Clemson in the rankings. ...
There is something to be said for hitting rock bottom before any climb to success begins. The tide will turn for USC and when it does, Gamecocks’ fans will know that new-found success was realized by building a solid foundation. The odds are much greater this time around that success will be sustained, and not a one-time fling as in years past. [NOTE: Emphasis, as always, is C&F's.]
When your best SEC showing is slightly over .500 -- and in women's soccer, no less -- then there's not much that can be said in your program's defense. Morris is right. Football, baseball and both basketball programs weren't up to standard this year, though baseball far and away came closer than any of the other teams.
And C&F has been a fan of long-term building, which seems to be what Hyman has in mind. Yes, Holtz did better in his second and third seasons than Spurrier did in his. Show of hands: Who thinks the program was in better overall health after Holtz Year 3 than it is right now? That's what C&F thought.
Baseball? That's another issue. But, as the Mayor points out, only so many teams can make it to Omaha. (And, as he points out, it is unfathomably stupid not to allow a runner to try to take out the pivot man in a double play.)
And basketball -- ah, Dave Odom is gone. Need I say more?
Going, going, gone. That's Mike Cisco and Will Atwood, taking their arms to the major leagues (even after a scare for Cisco). Actually, they're taking their entire bodies, but you get the point.
Cisco was, if you'll remember, the No. 1 in the rotation at the beginning of the year, before things fell apart. Atwood pitched well down the stretch.
Now, the removal of most of the veteran leadership for the 2008 squad is complete. Tanner needs to find someone to take their places, and quick-like. That might be easier with some of the recruits who will probably come to campus after disappointing draft showings.
Meanwhile, the Rangers are pleased to have Justin Smoak.
And, to C&F's great relief, no other Gamecock was drafted by the Mets.
Alabama gets a refund. After paying Nick Saban $4 million to produce a 6-6 season, the Crimson Tide appears to have kept its receipt after all. Saban and his wife gave $1 million to the university for scholarships.
The scholarships announced Saturday are designed specifically for first-generation college students.
The scholarships will be even larger for students who are enrolled at another school, pledge not to go to Alabama, then go to Alabama anyway.
The rains take the field. Literally. Flooding in Indiana tore up the Hoosiers, football field, leading to a classic paragraph in the AP account.
The problems began Wednesday when the Bloomington area was hit with flash flooding, turning the football field, which rests beneath the parking lot level, into what some eyewitnesses described as a floating island of green turf.
Good luck to Indiana in getting its field fixed. Note to stadium designers: There's probably a reason for doing it, but maybe putting the field below ground level isn't such a great idea.
In case you missed it... The best baseball fight in years, as punches were actually landed.
I really love the announcer's merry, "Here we go." Actually, both of them are great. More analysis of the pugilistic abilities of the players than any "tsk-tsking." Well played, sirs. Well played.