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THE THREAD [06.20.08] :: Expectations


Person getting it done. From time to time, I've been a bit harsh on The State. I take it all back ... well, most of it, anyway. Person has been going gangbusters for the launch of the new Go Gamecocks magazine, and turns in another great effort with an excellent Spurrier interview.

Now, if only they could work on the creepy ads.

Again, the whole thing is worth a read. But things get real interesting when Spurrier talks QB.

This spring I tried to spend more time with the offensive line and do this and that. But our quarterbacks need a lot of coaching. If Tommy Beecher’s going to come around, then I’ve got to really invest a lot of time with him. And see if we can’t try to get a quarterback that’s, shoot, a guy that can maybe be all-conference someday.

C&F has long wondered whether Spurrier is simply trying to get inside Smelley and Garcia's head by tabbing Beecher. This sounds like something more. This sounds like Beecher is actually the guy that Spurrier thinks has the best chance at winning. As we've seen before, that can change very quickly with HBC -- "very quickly" meaning in five minutes or less. But it's pretty clear that, when it comes to Beecher starting, Spurrier ain't kidding.

And (freshman quarterback) Aramis Hillary -- watch out for Aramis Hillary. This young man loves football and he loves everything about playing quarterback, loves South Carolina. So who knows what all’s going to happen this year.

Two answers later, and a curveball. Hillary has pretty much been overlooked with the Beecher/Smelley/Garcia controversy. But note what Spurrier drops in at the end of this answer -- "who knows what all's going to happen this year." If Hillary doesn't redshirt, there might some nervous QBs this year.

Dawn Staley settles in. C&F is really starting to like Staley. He might actually have to start paying attention to women's basketball.

Okay, let's not get ahead of ourselves. 

But after watching video from last season, Staley said the Gamecocks have talent.

"I think we’ve got some athletes. I think we’ve got some speed in the post, and we’ve got a little speed on the perimeter," she said. "I didn’t see us shoot it from the outside with any consistency, so we’ll have to work that part of it. Just watching, I think we have the ability to defend."

I'm excited about what Staley can do with this team. This could be the most excitement around WBB since 2001-02. Or ever.


There's something about Tommy. Everybody's favorite head coach is in the news again, as the preseason hum surrounding the Team from the Upstate has reached a dull roar.

Hey Jenny Slater took a brilliant shot at the Tiggers off the backboard of the ACC, for which C&F must applaud him.

Let's put it this way -- when your standard-bearer is a Tommy-Bowden-coached Clemson team, you're probably not ready for The Show just yet. The Tigers, incidentally, are pretty consistently pegged in the high single digits to low teens across the board, but let's be honest, most of us have heard this song before.

Year 2 followed up with a stunningly detailed analysis that required putting more thought into the Tiggers than would normally be advisable.

Tommy Bowden has been there since 1999, and he hasn’t won a conference title yet. He has the longest tenure of any I-A coach who hasn’t won his conference. I don’t know about every guy who has ever run a program, but it seems unlikely that many coaches suddenly get better after nine years on the job.

But SMQ pours cold water on the idea that the Team from the Upstate constantly underperforms.

In the big picture, the real criticism for Clemson is "inconsistency." It regularly wins games it’s not supposed to win, sometimes by wide margins -- think of the nighttime beatdown it put on Georgia Tech in ‘06, two weeks after beating eventual conference champ Wake Forest on the road -- but there’s no question it’s also lost too many games in the last two years it was not supposed to lose, and can’t lose if it’s going to be a player: two straight to Virginia Tech, three straight to Boston College, three out of four to Georgia Tech, with scattered slip-ups against Maryland, Wake and even Duke since 2005.

What to make of all this? For Baby Bowden, this has to be the year. Not saying that he'll get canned if he doesn't win the division -- C&F has come to firmly believe that Baby Bowden will never be fired. In nine good but not great seasons, he reached a status usually reserved for Joe Paterno and Pappy Bowden.

Common sense, though, says this is Baby Bowden's best team. If he can't win with that, when can he? (Massive HT: LOHD)

NCAA toothless? You lie! A new study says that NCAA penalties, um, don't work.

There was no statistical difference in on-field performance between the five years prior to the NCAA penalties and the five years following them, said Chad McEvoy, coordinator of the sports management program at Illinois State University.

Even as the penalties increase in severity — the loss of 10 scholarships versus the loss of five, for instance — the penalized teams lose no more games, he noted.

SMU would like to have a word with you, sir.

In fairness to the NCAA -- words that almost make C&F want to choke -- Alabama law professor Gene Marsh is right. You don't want penalties to destroy a program. But they should extract a pound of flesh, and this study seems to suggest that, in all but a few cases, they don't.

We don't need no stinkin' ratings. Notre Dame and NBC have re-upped their television deal, proving that being a network executive does not mean you have good judgment. To make this painfully clear: Notre Dame rankings bottomed out last year.

NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol said the network doesn't look at year-to-year results when it comes to Notre Dame, calling the football program a premier brand that defines the network as much as the Olympics, the NFL and the U.S. Open golf championship.

Which is either complete BS or an insult to the Olympics, the NFL and Tiger Woods golf.

Peace in our time. Speaking of television deals, the rating might be going up for the Big Ten Network, now that people can actually, y'know, watch it. Yes, Comcast has finally agreed to carry BTN in what Brian sees as a win.

This is a major win for the BTN, which now covers a majority of its footprint and will do so for the foreseeable future. Now the focus shifts to Time Warner, Mediacom, and Charter.

One can hope that this bodes well for any future SEC network.

Out with it. Orange and Blue Hue is toying with us.

Footnote: To update a previous Thread item, Indiana has started replacing its playing surface.