South Carolina v. Vanderbilt: FAQ

Mike Davis, the likely benefactor of Vandy's porous rush defense. - Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Get cozy with South Carolina's week 3 matchup.

Have we fired our coaching staff yet?

Huh?

You know, after last week's program-crumbling loss that rendered our season, and in fact my very existence worthless?

We have not fired the coaching staff. Our season isn't worthless. You are also not worthless. Stop.

Look, I'm just saying that was a stupid goal line playcall and I don't understand why we haven't benched BUZZCUT FUMBLEBONES for Dylan "AngelBoi Swagg" Thompson.

You just pointed out like the only two things that didn't go right for our offense last week. Remember, the offense was actually pretty great, but when your defense gets torched for 500 yards it's going to be difficult for even the most well-oiled offense to keep pace. Despite his one big mistake, Connor Shaw was a major reason why South Carolina competed. Who knows if Dylan would have been any better, but benching a quarterback for one mistake is mental poison, especially when he's playing a fine game overall. And as for the 4th and goal call, it's easy to gripe when something like that doesn't work. But there's plenty of reason to believe it was a perfectly acceptable play to call, but was just poorly executed. Besides, if a run or sneak up the gut gets stuffed, you totally woulda said, "Why'd they run the play everyone was expecting? Why not run that option we've been gashing Georgia with all day?"

Alright, fine. I admit it. This isn't about losing to Georgia so much as it is losing to Georgia right after they lost to Clemson. My idiot coworker won't shut up about it.

What can you do? To the transitive victors go the transitive spoils. In fact, the transitive property has been Clemson's only friend in the Palmetto State rivalry over the past couple of years. Indeed, this marks the third consecutive season that Clemson has transitively defeated South Carolina. In 2011, the Tigers beat Auburn, who handed us an ugly loss a few weeks later. Last year, Clemson edged and LSU who'd previously knocked us off in Baton Rouge. So, yes, Clemson's shown a knack for beating teams that have beaten South Carolina, and yet they've struggled mightily in the "actually beating South Carolina" department, reminding us all that a transitive property brag is but a consolation prize. It is to college football what BK RatchTechs were to mid-90s Nickelodeon gameshows. Of course, the Auburn and LSU examples have no bearing on 2013 so don't cite is as evidence that we'll win this year, but it's should temporarily declaw the "CLEMSON > GEORGIA > SC" meme.

Final thing about last week: Deke Adams and Kirk Botkin, bare knuckle junkyard brawl. Who ya got?

My gut says Adams, but Botkin has the chin of a champion. There would be but one victor: carnage.

Right, moving on. Let's talk about Vanderbilt. Are we going to win?

I'm going to go with probably, but there is reason to believe we could give up some points. Vanderbilt's offense has its weapons, and advanced statistics give them the edge in most categories when they've got the ball. But the tilt isn't nearly as lopsided as the SC offense v. Vandy defense matchup, where S&P+ rankings put our offense 10th and Vandy's defense 65th (and notably, their rush D sits at 101st, which no doubt has angsty teenager and anthropomorphic cannonball Mike Davis licking his chops.) Resident numbers guru Chickenhoops brings the knowledge in his weekly By The Numbers post, so read and go forth with confidence. Finally, the game's at home, at night, and Vanderbilt has yet to leave the friendly confines of Vanderbilt Stadium were they play in front of 35,000 golf-clapping engineering majors. Will their offense be able to find its rhythm in front of a sellout crowd of rowdy daydrinkers?

But doesn't Vanderbilt have the best wide receiver, like, ever?

Jordan Matthews is really, really good. He currently leads the SEC in receptions and yards and he'll probably be a first round draft pick. Remember how we blew a coverage last week that allowed a stupid easy and long touchdown for Georgia? Matthews had a similarly long and shoddily defended touchdown reception against us last year. He's a fantastic player, and he'll get plenty of attention from our defensive playcallers. And the circumstances are not something we should celebrate, but within the context of the game we're lucky Vanderbilt won't have it's #2 receiving option Chris Boyd, who is still suspended. And while Vanderbilt has a handful of effective backs, they've probably got the least-threatening bunch of RBs we've gone against this year (knocking wood hard, here.)

Speaking of that suspension, I heard Vanderbilt's quarterback has now been loosely implicated in that mess. Does this mean he'll miss the game?

As of the time of this writing, nothing's been announced in that regard. When asked if Austyn Carta-Samuels would play, James Franklin gave a non-answer, which we should note is different from a "yes". Nothing we can worry about, but you wonder if the team started a film binge on the backups just in case. Those backups are RS FR Patton Robinette and RS SO Josh Grady, who this year are a combined 5-7 for 50 yards, 0 TD and 1 INT.

UPDATE:


So as of now, looks like he's playing and a week of prep won't be for naught.

HIT ME WIT ALLADEM GAME WEEK LINKS SONNNNN

Vandy preview podcast. Gamecocks' goals against Vandy. Our Digital Season. Q&A with the enemy. What's Cookin'.

You realize we made it through this whole thing without mentioning Jadeveon Clowney?

Not anymore. Might as well ask a question now.

Should we be concerned? I mean, I figured after two games he'd be up around 20 sacks. And he's got, like, one.

Yeah, and it was pretty nice:

No, Jadeveon Clowney hasn't lit up the statsheet yet. But 107.5 The Game host Michael Haney offered an interesting tweet earlier in the week:


And here's a piece by SB Nation's Scott Coleman on why Clowney's been doing just fine. Keep in mind, his 2012 early numbers came against Vanderbilt and ECU, and didn't come on the heels of one of the most hyped offseasons in recent memory for a defensive player, so there's reason to believe he's right on track. Just be patient and embrace the facts: Clowney won't get a sack every play. He may even be neutralized now and again. He'll probably jog to the sidelines here and there to do lazy people things like "catch his breath" and "rehydrate". But when the thunder is brought, it will be loud and terrific and angels will weep and GIFs will spring forth from the Internet.

Oh, and it'll be 77 degrees at kickoff. Assuming his sore ankle is nothing serious, we might see a lot of Clowney tonight. Hold on to your butts.

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