Go 'Cocks! Our South Carolina Gamecocks wrapped up a commanding victory over the Florida Gators tonight to secure our first-ever berth in the SEC Championship Game. It's been a long time coming, but this is it--we're going to play for an SEC Title in Atlanta! We're now one step away from the Promised Land that Steve Spurrier promised us when he arrived in Columbia. It feels great, doesn't it? We've finally arrived. This is "next year."
Below are a few quick thoughts on the game. I'll try to be back with something more coherent tomorrow or the next day. Like I said, I'm traveling over the weekend, so my time to blog may be limited. I can say, though, that I got to watch and enjoy the game with some good folks, many of them Gamecocks. It was a special experience.
- The only negative thing I can think of right now is that I really don't understand why this team is so inconsistent. I mean, we've now convincingly beaten Alabama, absolutely crushed Florida, lost to Kentucky, and been crushed by Arkansas. The highs and lows with this team have been astounding. Tonight made it all worth it, though.
- Now the good stuff. First of all, Steve Spurrier schooled Urban Meyer in this game, and not necessarily from a play-calling perspective. Rather, what really strikes me about this game is how Spurrier has tweaked his philosophy over the past couple of years, bringing in assistants with philosophies that don't exactly mesh with the Fun'n'Gun and giving them a hand in revamping the Carolina offense to fit the talent we have. Meyer, on the other hand, is now floundering in the absence of Tim Tebow and Dan Mullen, struggling to find an offensive approach that works now that he doesn't have the talent to match his philosophy. A lot of folks have criticized Spurrier over the past few years for being unable to adapt to the times, while many have called Meyer the cutting edge of modern college football. Tonight, though, it was clear to me that Spurrier remains a coach who can adapt and build a team, philosophy, and game plan with the best of them. Hats off to Coach Spurrier for what he accomplished tonight.
- Let's also not forget the great individual performances we saw in this game. Most of the attention on the national scene is going to go to Marcus Lattimore for turning in what was undoubtedly one of the best single-game performances in Carolina history. Lattimore isn't the only guy who deserves major credit, though, so let's not forget to recognize some of the other big performers. How about the defensive front line? The offensive line? And how about Stephen Garcia? He wasn't asked to do much because we were able to ride Lattimore so much, but when called on to produce key plays, Garcia delivered. He played an almost mistake-free game, made some beautiful passes, and that TD run was a man-up play for the ages. It had to have been cathartic for Garcia to finally turn in a complete performance on the road. You could see how happy he was at the end of the game.
- For me as a fan, this had to be the greatest of Carolina victories. I mean, the level of catharsis Gamecocks fans should be experiencing right now is just astounding. No longer have we never won the SEC East. No longer have we never won in Gainesville. No longer are we the team that always craps the bed in these situations. No longer...
- Not sure what to think about Auburn right now. One thing's for sure, and that's that the game is going to be a bit of a media circus. Let's just leave it at that for now.
That's a wrap for tonight, folks. Like I said, I'll be back when I get a chance. In the meantime, I'll be basking in the light of this victory.