Our Digital Season: Week 10 — South Carolina v. Mississippi State

Peter Aiken

ODS takes a victory lap and then a shortcut

We begin with a short story.

Harold's Gamble

by Jorge De Los Gallos

Harold draped his overcoat on the bannister and loosened his tie. He sighed, long and slow, and tossed his hat at the sofa, but it bounced off the arm and rolled on its edge before coming to rest in the middle of the beige carpet. He didn't bother with it—just peered down the hallway at his wife, seated at the kitchen table all aclutter with receipts and invoices. She massaged her temple with one hand and navigated calculator keys with the other. Harold stepped near her and placed a hand on her shoulder.

"Janice, darling. Are you all right?"

Janice nodded, barely, and without shifting focus.

"You've moved since I left for work, I hope," he joked. The attempt at levity went unnoticed, or perhaps willfully ignored. Janice just shuffled papers, all covered in numerated columns and large red-stamped words. Past due. Final notice. Foreclosure.

"Listen, darling," said Harold, "I've got something to share with you. Today, I—"

"Oh, there's the baby!" A shrill caterwaul erased the calm, and Janice pushed back from the table and hustled down the hallway to the master bedroom. Harold followed after. Janice procured the weeks-old child from the white crib situated at the end of their unmade bed. Harold leaned against the doorjamb while his wife comforted their child.

"Now, what's this you've got to share?" asked Janice. At first she did not turn away from the infant, but after sensing her husband's uneasiness, she looked up at him.

"Darling, I've...I've made an investment."

Janice squinted at her husband. "An...investment?"

"Yes, erm...an investment." Harold cleared his throat, and lifted his chin a bit. "And I think it's a lock, Janice, a real can't miss! It could be the answer we've been waiting for, our path through that jungle of bills and payments and out of financial strife for good! I've done my homework. This wasn't made lightly, you know." His tone aimed for confidence but fell somewhere between desperation and defensiveness.

"Nevermind, what's the investment, Harry?" Janice begged, tugging at his sleeve with her free hand.

"Well," said Harold, "I've placed what's left of our life savings, including full my retirement fund, on South Carolina beating Missouri in double overtime!"

The room became choked with deep-space silence. Janice's eyes turned glassy and vacant, and she clutched her baby close. Eons passed before Janice managed her answer, in a whisper so faint and small it was in danger of being obscured by Harold's thudding heartbeat.

"Harold. Is Connor Shaw even going to play this weekend?"

Harold was caught off guard by the question. "Why...no. It's not likely, anyway. But, see here Janice," said Harold, fumbling in his pockets. He retrieved a smartphone, and after a few swipes and taps waved the device in front his shellshocked bride. "You see? The Our Digital Season feature on Garnet and Black Attack, why, it's prognosticated that very outcome! I've read it again and again, and my gut tells me it's on to something! Janice, the return on this investment would be astronomical! Can you begin to imagine? We'd pay off all our debts with but a fraction of the winnings and the rest will be ours to enjoy! Just look at the YouTubes, Janice!"

Janice's soft features glowed in the screenlight, and a single tear traced a shining path down her cheek. She pressed her eyelids close, and turned to lay the now docile baby in its crib. She turned back and placed a hand on Harold's cheek, taking in his hopeful countenance for a long moment, and then let her hand fall.

"I've got so much work to do, still," said Janice, her voice breaking a bit. She brushed past Harold, returning to her post at the kitchen table. A soft rain began to pelt the windows. Harold glanced at his phone for a beat, then clicked it to darkness.

ONE WEEK LATER

"AWWWWWWWWWWW YEAH!"

The mostly-nude couple stood high on their kitchen table amidst a landscape of Dom P bottles and fat stacks. Harold made it rain hundies while Janice twerked against him to the strains of House of Pain's "Jump Around", cranking from a bulky ghetto blaster. Amidst the cash flurry, a bill came to rest on a newspaper depicting a photo from the Gamecocks' double overtime victory over Missouri, Benjamin Franklin's portrait aligning perfectly with Connor Shaw's victorious visage.

"I TOLD YALL! DIDNT I TELL YALL?" Harold grabbed an unopened bottle, bit out the cork and spit it across the room with a loud ptuh. "LOOK AT ME NOW, HATERS! LOOK HOW HAROLD IS LIVING!" He drenched himself, then his wife, in top shelf alcohol. Then, he did the robot for eight minutes.

All their financial problems evaporated, Harold and his family never had to work a another day thanks to trusting in the sage prognosticatory powers of Our Digital Season. THE END /drops mic

--------------

CURIOUS OVERLAPS:

I will dine out on this for months: Double OT victory? DOUBLE OT VICTORY.

Bruuuuuuce: Big day in ODS and IRL for Bruce. He scored a pair of TDs in both games.

Freisman: Elliott Fry matched his two ODS field goals with a pair of IRL kicks.

NOTABLE CONTRASTS:

Shaw to the Rescue: In ODS, Dylan Thompson went the distance. Obviously, Connor Shaw saved the day in IRL.

A Walkoff's a Walkoff: In ODS, South Carolina won in double OT via walk-off touchdown. IRL, the defense forced the field goal attempt that would go unconverted.

Nervermernd: No Corbin Berkstresser.

In a fashion as thrilling as it was unlikely, ODS moves to 6-2 on the year and keeps pace with the IRL Cocks' record in football.

"So Jorge," you might be asking, "How are you gonna follow up last week's epic victory?" Why, by rolling out one of the most halfassed ODS efforts ever, of course!

Indeed, I've gone and squandered any credibility accumulated on the heels of last week's ODS because I simply didn't have a free couple of hours with the Playstation 3 this week. Yes, I had the time to write this and the short story you just read, but both of those I was able to knock out during, uh, "workplace down time" let's call it. Alas, my usual window for a thorough ODS simulation was slammed shut by a particularly frenzied week, so you're getting a watered down Mississippi State simulation.

I conducted the game via speed simulation, which is basically like watching a gametracker at hyperspeed. The good news: we won.

1 2 3 4 F
MSU 10 7 0 7 24
SC 7 28 14 7 56

PLAYER STATS
USC
C. Shaw 28-43, 380, 4 TD
M. Davis 14 rushes, 128 yards, 3 TD
S. Roland 9 receptions, 152 yards, 3 TD
B. Ellington 7 receptions, 106 yards
MSU
D. Prescott 20-50, 333 yards, 2 INT
L Perkins 40 yards, 1 TD
J Lewis 6 receptions, 136 yards
TEAM STATS
USC MSU
Passing Yards 431 395
Rushing Yards 214 72
Total Yards 645 467
3rd Downs 5-13 (2-2 on 4th) 5-15
Red Zone 4/6 (4 TD) 4/10 (3 TD, 1 FG)
Turnovers 1 fumble 2 INT
Time of Poss. 53% 47%

FINAL ANALYSIS

The numbers tell a story of a game pumped full of offense, albeit a bit sloppier than the final score suggests. State's 40% redzone scoring rate is a horrifying number (especially if you're a State fan) and neither team was particularly efficient on 3rd down. What's a little surprising—and this may be a function of not live simulating the game—is that neither QB made much of an impact on the ground (the numbers were too negligible to include.) So while it's not inconceivable that Connor Shaw could create 380 yards of offense, one would expect a portion of it to be comprised of rushing yards. Same goes for Dak Prescott.

While returning home after a three week road trip should provide a significant morale boost, I'm not sure I see South Carolina putting up 50 points. However, Gamecock Man doesn't think we'll be far off. Are the Bulldogs as overmatched as ODS and certain experts might lead us to believe? We'll know in roughly 28 hours.

Bye week next week, so check back in a couple of weeks for the Florida simulation. Go Cocks!

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