As we shuffled out of Sanford Stadium last week following a 45-42 victory that was equal parts exhilarating and maddening, I turned to The Feathered Warrior and asked, "So do you think we'll beat Navy next week?"
Vegas currently has the Gamecocks as 17-point favorites, but anyone who remembers this game or this game or this game knows better than to think that Saturday's home opener will be anything but the ugliest game South Carolina plays all season. And according to Football Study Hall's F/+ ranking system, Navy has played like one of the forty best teams in the country this year.
But if the aggravation of playing a team that runs the triple option and hearing endless chatter about the season-derailing 1984 loss weren't already enough, ESPN ensured that all Columbia, SC Walgreens and CVS locations will be sold out of migraine strength Tylenol by Sunday morning when they revealed that the idiot and liar Craig James will be providing color commentary during Saturday's broadcast. (I've got no beef with play-by-play man Mike Patrick, other than that he increasingly looks like the Crypt Keeper.)
At this point it goes without saying that this will be a game best viewed from the solitude of your home, where there will be no strangers to judge you if watching Navy keep it interesting well into the fourth quarter prompts you to drink straight from the bottle and shout obscenities at teenaged boys you've never met.
But if watching the game in the company of others cannot be avoided, here is a drinking game that might make it just a little more bearable (feel free to add suggested rules in the comments section):
- Any time someone says "nineteen eighty-four," everyone drinks once.
- Any time someone on TV says that the key to executing or defending the triple option is to play "assignment football," everyone drinks once.
- Any time Navy attempts a pass, everyone drinks once.
- Any time Navy completes a pass, everyone drinks twice.
- Any time Navy completes a pass where the receiver was being "covered" by C.C. Whitlock, drink five times - not because this is an unusual event but because this likely means that South Carolina just gave up a long touchdown and your emotional status is going to be pretty dicey over the next several minutes.
- Any time South Carolina calls consecutive time outs without running a play, drink once.
- At any mention of Stephen Garcia's facial hair (or lack thereof), everyone drinks once.
- At the end of each quarter, calculate Garcia's completion percentage. Subtract that number from 60. This is the number of drinks everyone must take.
Extra Rules For Serious Drinkers
- You'll need a copy of George Orwell's 1984 or a placeholder therefor. The book (or its placeholder) will be passed around from player to player throughout the game. The book starts with the oldest player as a reward for being the longest-suffering Gamecock fan in the group.
- As mentioned above, everyone must drink whenever someone says "nineteen eighty-four." This still holds, but the Bookkeeper must take a shot instead. For extra fun, apply this to all of the basic rules.
- The Bookkeeper has an opportunity to pass the book off to another player any time Navy obtains a first down on a running play. Unless there are only two players, the book can be passed to any player except the player who just passed the book to the current Bookkeeper.
- The player who has most recently passed off the book to the new Bookkeeper (or the second-oldest player, if the book has not yet been passed) will serve as the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is responsible for identifying dumb and/or factually inaccurate comments made by Craig James during the broadcast. If a majority of players agree that the comment was dumb and/or factually inaccurate, the Bookkeeper must take a shot. (In the event of an evenly divided vote, the Bookkeeper must still take a shot.) If the Ombudsman's motion is voted down, the other players must lock him in a closet while he takes a shot.