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A test Donald Rumsfeld would be proud of

Said Lee Corso:

And my surprise pick in all the country, including the SEC, is South Carolina. Why South Carolina? They have 18 guys coming back for Steve Spurrier. They play at Vanderbilt, at Ole Miss, at Kentucky. There's three wins there. Watch this. November the 15th Spurrier's gonna bring South Carolina in here and I would not be surprised if it's for the SEC East title. South Carolina at Gainesville.

Said The State:

It said something that kicker Ryan Succop was named the offensive MVP of spring practice.

Yes, it said something -- several things. Most of them not, as The State suggested, about Ray Rychleski's coaching ability.

No, Ryan Succop was also the offensive MVP of spring practice because of the quarterbacks, who threw a jaw-dropping eight picks in the Garnet and Black Game -- despite the rules being slanted their way.

Spurrier tweaked the format to try to create more offense following last year's 14-7 spring snooze fest. The defenses played three coverages and were prohibited from blitzing in the 37-34 win by the Black. ...

Despite the absence of a pass rush and six defensive starters, the quarterbacks struggled.

Smelley threw five interceptions in the first half, including three in a seven-play stretch. Beecher was only slightly better with three picks.

In other words, this marked the worse performance in a rigged test since the missile-defense system tests where the interceptors were essentially told where the missile would be.

Not as bad as Smelley/Beecher

Yeah, it's situational ethics, but if this keeps up C&F might have to change his position on Garcia.

A Morris column more notable for a series of cheap shots nonetheless makes the point: South Carolina could depend on its defense to win this season. Which is not what was expected when Spurrier came to Columbia at the end of the 2004 season.

But, hey, if the Gamecocks can just get opponents to decline illegal participation penalties, Scottie Spurrier could have a huge year.

The day's best play, or at least the most fun, came when Scottie Spurrier came off the bench -- during the play -- to catch a 46-yard touchdown pass from Chris Smelley.

The officials called the obvious penalty for illegal participation. But the defense declined the penalty and allowed the play to stand, at the best of somebody, possibly the receiver's father.

"That's the first time we've hit the off-the-bench play," Steve Spurrier said with a laugh. "You all see it every spring. We get him wide open and the quarterback just can't get him. ... That was real encouraging that this year we caught the off-the-bench play. I found out that wasn't real easy."

So what does all this mean?

First of all, C&F is cautious about making any overly broad statement about the Gamecocks. If there is one thing he has learned over the past ten years or so, it is that when South Carolina is picked to do well, the team usually falls flat. When the Gamecocks are counted out, they usually outperform expectations.

But, in college football as in baseball, spring is usually a time of optimism for every team. Not so for the Gamecocks this year.

It's not time to panic. But it seems that leaning on Corso as support for your position is, in regards to this team, as sketchy as ever.