So today is the birthdate of several well-known individuals: David Duchovny, Wayne Knight (that's for Seinfeld fans), Charlize Theron, even Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. It's also the 80th birthday of Lee Corso, the venerable analyst on College Gameday. While the faces behind the desk have changed over the past 28 years (seeing Rece Davis hosting instead of Chris Fowler just won't be quite the same!), one face has remained: the man they call "Coach", the former Florida State Seminoles quarterback/defensive end known more for his pregame predictions and antics than his 73-85-6 combined record at Louisville, Indiana and Northern Illinois during the late '60s to mid '80s. South Carolina Gamecocks fans probably call him something else, but this is a family site, so I won't go down that road.
Corso's donned many a mascot head over the years, but how's he done when the Gameday bus has rolled into Columbia? Hop on memory lane with us for a look back at history that's definitely had its ups and downs. Corso's picks are in italics, and whether he was right or wrong is in parentheses. (Props to Cole's Gameday Blog for the data, by the way.)
November 10, 2001: #4 Florida Gators 54, South Carolina Gamecocks 17 (right)
It was Gameday's first ever visit to Columbia. Florida, then #4 in the country, was paying a visit to a 14th-ranked Gamecocks team led by Lou Holtz. I think we should probably mention that the Gators were coached by some guy named Steve Spurrier, who had some other guy named Jon Hoke as his defensive coordinator. Corso picked Florida to win, and...well...we'll just say it was tied (!) at 10 after the first before Heisman runner-up and #FormerSpurrierQuarterback Rex Grossman went to work. It all went downhill from there.
September 11, 2004: #3 Georgia Bulldogs 20, South Carolina Gamecocks 16 (wrong)
This was probably more for the Dawgs, ranked 3rd in the land, than it was for the Gamecocks. And you probably couldn't blame fans for thinking "upset" after Ko Simpson's pick six with 12:16 left in the first half. But, alas, that's where the fun ended. This one didn't have a ton of offense, but Georgia, led by David Greene and Andy Bailey, put up 20 unanswered and left WBS with the win.
September 1, 2005: South Carolina Gamecocks 24, UCF Knights 15 (no pick)
Gameday was at the Gamecocks' season opener against Central Florida, but Corso didn't make a pick this time around because he was prepping for Pitt-Notre Dame in South Bend. However, he basically became public enemy #1 among Gamecocks fans after predicting that Spurrier (remember that guy who used to coach at Florida? Yeah, he took over for Lou Holtz after Dr. Lou resigned) would never win a national championship at South Carolina, let alone a SEC title. Turns out, he's still right with that comment - for now - but they did beat Florida and Tennessee, which he also said they'd never do, that same year.
October 28, 2006: #8 Tennessee Volunteers 31, South Carolina Gamecocks 24 (right)
The Gamecocks sorely needed this one against Erik Ainge, Arian Foster and the Vols - losing would drop them to 2-2 in the East. Of course, the Vols wanted this one to stay in the BCS hunt and avenge their loss to Carolina in Knoxville a year prior. And it looked like it would be back-to-back wins over Tennessee for Spurrier and the Gamecocks as they held a 17-14 lead after three quarters. But, the dream died in the fourth. Ainge found Bret Smith for 13 yards, Foster ran one in from five after the Gamecocks gave up a long punt return, and the Vols put up 17 unanswered to pull one out on the road.
October 9, 2010: #19 South Carolina Gamecocks 35, #1 Alabama Crimson Tide 21 (wrong)
Gameday rolled into Columbia with the Gamecocks' battle against the top team in the country looming. Naturally, with the Tide having outscored their previous five opponents 189-45 and on a 19-game winning streak dating back to 2009, most people figured that it would be just another win on the road to a possible second straight BCS National Championship. Stephen Garcia, though, had other ideas, and when it was all said and done, the Gamecocks were celebrating the biggest win in school history.
October 6, 2012: #6 South Carolina Gamecocks 35, #5 Georgia Bulldogs 7 (right)
Gameday's 2012 visit to Columbia came as the Gamecocks were beginning their march to what would be one of three straight 11-win seasons. Beating Georgia would not only give them a needed 4-0 upper hand in the SEC East, but would put themselves in a good spot to appear in the BCS picture with a win the following week at LSU. The good news: they rolled past the Dawgs. The bad news: they dropped the next two against LSU and Florida. Georgia ended up winning the SEC East anyway.
September 27, 2014: Missouri Tigers 21, #13 South Carolina Gamecocks 20 (wrong)
Probably the less said about this game, the better. NOTED
GAMECOCKS OLE MISS TENNESSEE FAN OF EVERY TEAM Kenny Chesney was the celebrity picker for this one, by the way, and while I don't believe in bad luck, there are those that feel the two events aren't mutually exclusive at all. Long story short: there is no way the Gamecocks should have lost this one.