It's time for the latest installment of the BlogPoll roundtable, this time brought to us by Burnt Orange Nation proprietor and fellow SBN blogger Peter Bean.
1. Handicap your team's chances to win your conference championship. If your team is not the favorite, who is?
Chances? We've got a few. Just not many.
The defeat of Georgia made Spurrier's goal of an SEC title look not quite so far-fetched. But there are two facts about South Carolina's season that are carved in stone: They have to go to Baton Rouge to play LSU and they have to play Florida, and both games have gone from being likely losses to almost-mortal-lock losses. If the Gamecocks lose both games and otherwise win out, Florida would have to lose three games for South Carolina to go to Atlanta. That is perhaps the one thing less likely than the Cocks beating the Bayou Bengals and the Gators.
So -- sigh -- I stick with my original prediction: Florida vs. LSU for the crown. Right now, LSU gets the slightest edge.
2. Outline the (realistic) best case and worst case scenarios for your team.
Three wins are already in the bag and likely victories against North Carolina, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State are still on the schedule. With things going the way they are now, doing any worse than 2-1 against Tennessee, Arkansas and Clemson would be a disappointment. Kentucky is trouble, but they come to Columbia.
So the best-case scenario would be 10-2, with the possibility of an at-large BCS berth (which would be historic) if the SEC champ is in the NC game and the runner-up is unimpressive. (Some might see this as wildly optimistic, but give me a third sure-fire loss and I'll say it's not realistic.) This being South Carolina, though, the worst-case scenario is 7-5 and another trip to the Random American Virtue Bowl.
3. We're only three games in to the season, but teams and storylines are starting to take shape. Compare your team to a character or theme from a fable or children's tale.
This is the kind of questions that always left me perspiring and darting my eyes around as I nervously grasped for answers during a job interview. (And, yes, I've been asked that kind of question in that setting before.)
Against two of our opponents, the Gamecocks looked like the hare napping on the side of the road -- the only difference being that they woke up in time to prevent disaster. So we'll go with that one right now.
4. Imagine you're the coach of your team. Give three specific changes you'd implement immediately which you think would have the biggest impact on improving the team.
I haven't seen a lot of the play by the Gamecocks so far, and my man-crush on Spurrier is surpassed only by Orson's and therefore makes it difficult to second-guess him, but here are my best shots.
- Require Blake Mitchell to undergo a lobotomy with the goal of fixing whatever is wrong with his mind.
Just take out the part responsible for making bad decisions, boys.
- Kidnap Sidney Rice, give him a new identity, and introduce the Gaemcocks' newest walk-on receiver: James Q. Ballhawker.
- Barring either of those, hand the ball to Cory Boyd and/or Mike Davis 50 times a game.
5. USC, LSU/Florida, and Oklahoma have established themselves as the frontrunners in the early going. Which other team or teams are you eyeballing as potential BCS party crashers?
If you mean what Tim Brando annoyingly calls "flies in the ointment," the only possible answer is Hawaii. Not saying it will happen, but that's the only team that could do it.
As far as non-traditional powers making it? Kentucky could shock everyone (Cocks included) and wind up with an at-large berth, though that still looks like the Wildcats' best-case scenario. I still believe in Rutgers as at least the second-best team in the Big East, so a win against West Virginia could punch their ticket to BCS gold. Does Boston College count as a "non-traditional power"?