The Daily Gamecock: The writers and editors must have just arrived on campus, as half a dozen stories hit the website after weeks of silence! Football fans feeling confident and Shaw 'Nuff: Connor Shaw ready to take the lead. Plus - Frequently Asked Questions about USC sports. Sports Editor Rixon Lane looks like he has the makings to be a worthy successor to Isabelle Khurshudyan, but he'll have big shoes to fill.
More links follow than can possibly be squeezed onto the first page of a SB Nation Blog! Keep reading after The Jump for more Gamecock Football, Gamecock Basketball and the Loose Feed - where we find, to no one's surprise, that Alshon is tearing it up in the Windy City, and I defend the integrity of the Coach's Poll.
Greenville News: USC's Cann emerging into leader. Props to A.J.! Also - Vanderbilt to reveal starters soon; Coach Franklin says Vanderbilt’s practices will begin to center on Gamecocks personnel next week. (Ed. - Surrrrreeeeee! like they'll just be getting around to it next week).
[NOTICE TO OUR GENTLE READERS AND WORTHY TROLLS: I knew the disappearance of the News' paywall was too good to last; a little pop-up has informed me that I just linked to my "last free" article at the News - which likely means if you've been happily clicking along with me, that you've reached your limit, too. Well, if I'm not going to pay The State then you can be danged sure I ain't going to pay the News, either. I like the content, but its not worth a subscription. Mr. Gannett - Tear down this Wall! It's been fun while it's lasted, however!]
GoUpstate.com: Spurrier praises Connor Shaw's play at scrimmage.
Post & Courier: South Carolina wide receiver Damiere Byrd hoping to contribute more as a sophomore. The speedy Damiere is listed behind Bruce Ellington as the "Z" receiver (inside/slot).
Anderson Independent-Mail: Ward ready for USC's defense to bring the heat.
Sports Talk Radio: Steve Spurrier continues to rave about the Gamecocks offense (AUDIO).
Athlon: Brendan Gail lists the top 40 SEC's Must-See Games of 2012. We're on it eight times in toto - and four in the top 15.
Lindy's Sports: SEC Insider Ben Cook writes Gamecocks’ Lattimore healthy, ready to win and Different fall camp, same old Spurrier. Funny HBC quote from the second article: "We’ve got better players and maybe better assistant coaches too. I told our chaplain Adrian Despres, ‘you and I have been here since we were 6-6 and 7-6, so it’s nothing you and I are doing. It’s these assistant coaches.’ … ‘He said you’re right.’"
Mr SEC: Computer Guru Jerry Palm's Releases Rankings for the SEC Schools and SEC Commitment Comparator – 8/16/12. Keeping up with the Joneses.
Gainesville Sun: Gatorsports' Preseason Top 25: No. 8.
Bleacher Report: Kevin King thinks 2012 Gamecocks Are Serious National Title Contenders. Articles like this scare me - we've got some elite players, but talking about the NC and Carolina in the same sentence in August has usually been a recipe for bitter disappointment and widespread ridicule in the past. Let's just work on beating Vandy, shall we? Meanwhile, Alex Roberts posts The Good, Bad and Ugly from the Final Scrimmage.
Cocky Country: Spurrier’s "Carolina Calls" Kicks Off 2012 Season - with all the tweets that are fit to tweet.
Leftover Hotdog: Gamecocks Fan Mail: 1st Edition. The only thing more scary than comments are letters to the editor, Flounder!
Palmetto Recruiting: LaShay Page expecting word on Friday. The 6'2" 2G transfer from Southern Miss - a native of Latta, SC - is waiting for the SEC to grant a hardship waiver request to allow him to play for Frank Martin this season. Let's keep our fingers crossed. I'm still unsure if the NCAA also has to clear him. We are, however, waiting on the NCAA to clear recruits Tariq Phillip and Thaddeus Hall from an academic standpoint. Martin is confident both will make it, but I'm worried that Phillip is borderline.
The Sports Bank: #97 South Carolina Gamecocks: College Basketball 111 in 111. Well, at least we broke the top 100 of the 75 power conference teams plus the 36 biggest mid-majors:
If Martin wasn’t head coach at South Carolina, they would easily be dropped down several spots in my rankings. Due to his history of coaching guys up and getting his teams to play physical and at an extremely high level on the defensive end, I will give him the benefit of the doubt despite how under-sized his roster will be. Scoring will also be a major concern for this team that averaged just 61 points per game last year.
College Sports Madness: #92 South Carolina Men's Basketball Preview (from Monday).
CBS Chicago: Quiet Alshon Jeffery Lets His Play Do The Talking. "The rookie wide receiver from South Carolina originally had first-round grades in the NFL Draft, but slipped to the Bears in the second round because of concerns about his weight that so far look completely unfounded." Ya think?
Bleacher Report: Breaking Down Alshon Jeffery's Greatest Strengths, Weaknesses. Not a bad article for the most part. Route running and footwork will improve; separation and explosiveness concerns aren't as important to AJ1's game as his hands, physicality and his impeccable sense of timing.
Kansas City Star: Even SEC schools with mediocre football teams have enormous stadiums. Yes - it's about us. I sometimes wonder why I bother to read stories like this - now that Spurrier has built us into a consistent winner, should we really be as proud as we are that we turned out in droves in the past to watch our teeth get kicked in? Of course the answer is "yes" - I doubt any team that under-peformed as badly as ours did at the end of the Brad Scott era had anything approaching our fan support. That being said, I have two comments for this article. One - we had a huge stadium before we joined the SEC. Two - while W-B has been expanded during our time in the SEC, that had more to do with us than it did the SEC. The SEC might have made us a better football team overall, but it hasn't made us better fans; we were already great fans before we joined the league.
Tony Barnhardt: Kiffin tiff shows us hypocrisy of coaches poll remaining in BCS formula. I have to disagree with the Grand Old Man of southern football. I think the coach's poll serves as a check on both the sportswriters and the computers - neither of whom I trust at all. Not to say that there are not abuses [the most notably being at the end of the 1990 season, when Georgia Tech coach Bill McCartney voted Colorado down farther than anyone else (ostensibly as a result of CU's "Fifth Down Game"), which was just enough to put the Jackets into first place in the UPI poll - the predecessor to the ESPN/USA Today poll; the result was a split national championship between CU and GT]. Still, even with potential for poor sportsmanship in the voting, the universities should have a say in the voting - whether its the coaches or the ADs or the SIDs. Apparently now that Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott (the man single handedly responsible for the last realignment earthquake in CFB) ,has decided the coaches poll is dummkoff, however, expect to see more and more folks argue in favor of abandoning it - including, e.g., Senator Blutarsky. Well I rise in opposition to the Senator from Georgia, Not only does dumping the coach's poll (a) shortsightedly take power out of the hands of the institutions who actually play the game but (b) is anti-traditional, which to my mind is antithetical to everything we love about college football. If we're going to dump something, let's dump the computers.
Kentucky.com: Whose coaching seat is hotter, UK's Phillips or UT's Dooley? Good question. Betcha Bobby Petrino is hoping "both."