No South Carolina game this weekend, at least not on the gridiron, but some observations from the last weekend.
1. The Name Game. There was a significant game involving some Gamecocks played on the basketball court. South Carolina took on Southern Cal for the right to be called "USC" and, um, it didn't go so well.
Some may have come to see O.J. Mayo. Others may have been there to see a South Carolina men's basketball team that had shown major signs of promise.
In the end, it was Mayo's potential that went fulfilled, along with a key teammate that propelled Southern California to an 85-75 win.
In so doing, it delivered a quick come-down to an equally young Gamecocks team that entered this one feeling pretty good about itself. Instead, its first loss of the season showed it still has plenty of work to do, as was evident to the announced crowd of 16,620 at the Colonial Center.
Whenever Steve Spurrier thinks his team isn't very good, he need only look at the meteoric heights of mediocrity reached by Dave Odom.
2. Quarterbacks are important. Nate Longshore goes down and Cal begins a slide that sends its national title hopes up in smoke. Dennis Dixon goes down, Oregon's NC hopes up in smoke. Sam Bradford goes down, Oklahoma's NC hopes up in smoke. Not that the latter was entirely responsible for the Sooners losing. It didn't help, for example, that the Oklahoma D trying to catch Graham Harrell looked like someone with impaired motor abilities trying to play Whack-a-Mole.
Dixon's departure is perhaps the most unfortunate. He was becoming the frontrunner for the Heisman, had the real potential to guide the Ducks at least to BCS title game, if not to a win there, and was one of the most exciting players in college football this year.
At least he doesn't have to wear that uniform anymore.
3. Unintentionally insightful point of the day. When a fellow ESPN commentator pointed out that Notre Dame's latest win came against Duke, Lou Holtz countered that Duke's players were on scholarship and the school's coaches got paid.
In doing so, he actually made an insightful point: People across the Third World are starving and we, as a society, are paying Ted Roof to coach football. All of us. All of us.
It's important to punt well, boys. We do it a lot.
4. What a way for Lloyd Carr to go. It's been a year that reminds you of the old joke that you can't spell Lloyd without two Ls. Or four, in this case, though only three to teams in the subdivision formerly known as I-A.
Do we even have to say apparently at this point? Lloyd Carr will retire on Monday, as Brian said before the MSM did, and the top candidate to replace him is probably Les Miles. So go ahead and crank up the Spurrier-to-LSU rumors. Oh, those have already started?
5. Enjoy the final week. I'll be headed to the Clemson game -- or at least to the tailgating portion of it. I'll actually view the game if I can do so without selling all of my worldly possessions. So if somebody knows some cheap scalpers...
Thursday will see Southern Cal and Arizona State do battle. As well as the Battle of the BCS Busters between Boise State and Hawaii. Friday brings a tilt between LSU and Arkansas. And Saturday night will bring a game almost as important as Clemson-Carolina, as Missouri and Kansas meet for the Big XII North title and a chance to beat Oklahoma for a ticket to New Orleans. The
Latest Sign of the Apocalypse Right to Claim the the Big East will match West Virginia and UConn.
So if you're favorite contending team's not in the Top Two right now, don't worry too much. There's a lot of football to be played.
For Carolina fans: This week is the week. Time to salvage what's left of the season. By Tuesday evening or so, this blog will be all-Clemson, all the time.