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THE THREAD [06.30.08] :: Talk is cheap; BTN isn't


'To coach South Carolina to an SEC championship' Sure, sure, it could just be coachspeak. But it appears that Steve Spurrier doesn't intend to make Pat Forde's prediction true. Forde said recently:

Problem is, not all the big winners can win big. And when this season is over, the guess here is that someone will decide (or be convinced) that it's time to get out of the [SEC] sausage factory. Leading candidates: Fulmer and Spurrier.

It wouldn't be a complete shock for Head Ball Coach, who's used to winning more than he has at South Carolina, to get out if this season goes poorly. But that's not what Spurrier told a crowd in his hometown of Johnson City.

He likes what he sees from new defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson, said his fourth South Carolina team will feature his deepest roster and expects middle linebacke Jasper Brinkley to be completely recovered from a season-ending knee injury.

"I hope to coach four or five more years," Spurrier said, "and I hope to coach South Carolina to an SEC championship."

Watch yourself, Forde.

That's about all the article has about South Carolina -- it is, after all, Vol Country.

But the answer to those who would say it's coachspeak: Unless Spurrier is more concerned with what Forde says than anyone really should be, there was no reason for him to say this. If he were trying to quiet the concerns of recruits or fans, he would have picked a different and higher profile venue to do it.

This season doesn't look likely to be the one where Spurrier calls it quits. The only question that remains is how welcome that news will be among fans at the end of the year.

Football + Porn = Bad idea? So thinks Ron Morris, and C&F thinks he might have a point.

The fact that the team has little or no relevance only adds to my thinking that schools such as USC and Clemson should not allow their players to participate. Playboy’s preseason teams are not alone in their irrelevancy. All such teams are based on projections, not on performance. They mean nothing.

Compound that line of thinking with a publication that peddles pornography, and it seems an easy decision for schools to step up and do the right thing.

Put another way: Why would a university want its players to appear in Playboy? Sure, the players probably think it's a great idea -- they are, after all 18- to 22-year-old men -- but anyone who believes that the appearance of the players and the perception of the university can be separated is being a touch naive.

Gunning for the gold medal. And a Wheaties commercial. Good luck to Jason Richardson, who's in the running, if you'll pardon the pun, for the U.S. Olympic team. He's not the only South Carolina hurdler trying to make the squad, either. Terrence Trammell is also trying out.

Again, C&F understand very little about track. But he believes that the objective of the hurdles is to have the quickest time.

Richardson isn't the only SEC type looking to make the team. (HT: ATVS)

And he's not the only South Carolina athlete trying for the Olympics.

This week, it's Darrin Horn. The Go Gamecocks interview is the new head basketball coach, talking recruiting, defense and Downey.

Rumors. Circulating: Some high-caliber South Carolina defensive recruits will not qualify this year. C&F will not name names until he sees credible reporting. Just to let you know it's out there.

There is absolutely nothing I can say without getting in trouble. Just know that Uga VI "is proud to have served the greatest university in the world. He wants Georgia Nation to know that he's in a better place and the steaks up here are heavenly."

So there you go. (HT: GSB)

C&F agrees with ATVS on this one. Somebody make this happen. And if you need a logical reason for it, this is the kind of obvious declaration that should prove the SEC-Big Ten challenge should happen:

And if you wonder, like Delany, whether anyone would really be interested in, say, a Northwestern-Vanderbilt game . . . wouldn't a game counting as a point in the Challenge create a lot more interest than a typical Northwestern-Duke nonconference game?

That, and Jim Delany is opposed. So it has to be a good idea.

But, really, South Carolina vs. Minnesota? So, South Carolina's 698 yards passing would be offset by Minnesota's 721 yards rushing?

You'll pay. To see games that suck. Matt Hayes worries that the success of the Big Ten Network will mean we'll have to pony up to see football. (RSS HT: ASOB)

Just like someone has to pay for Big Ten football games when Comcast magically moves the network to its digital package next spring.

That someone is you.

Well, yes. Junkies like C&F might end up paying to see some of the offerings of the conference networks. But the casual fan will only pay for the service if they like games that suck.

Some of the choice offerings from the Big Ten network from 2007: Youngstown State at Ohio State, Florida International at Penn State, Northeastern at Northwestern, Akron at Ohio State, Syracuse at Iowa, The Citadel at Wisconsin, Buffalo at Penn State.

There was at least one noteworthy game on BTN: Appalachian State at Michigan.

But there's also a reason the NFL is looking for a way out of its own network problems: Deprive fans of a football game they think should be theirs for free, and you end up with a lot of pissed off fans. Nobody really cares when its Northwestern vs. Duke -- well, aside from Northwestern fans and seven Duke fans -- but move up the scale, and you end up with a backlash that isn't worth the possibility of a little extra money.