Rapid Fire Picks for November 12th

November 12, 2011

Other site is still not allowing me to post, so the picks are here for the third straight week.

College Football:

Last Week: 19-9
Overall: 199-60

#1 LSU over Western Kentucky
#2 Oklahoma State over Texas Tech
#3 Alabama over Mississippi State
#4 Stanford over #7 Oregon
#5 Boise State over TCU
#8 Arkansas over Tennessee
#9 Clemson over Wake Forest
#19 Nebraska over #12 Penn State
#13 South Carolina over Florida…28-17
#14 Kansas State over Texas A&M
#15 Georgia over #20 Auburn
Missouri over #16 Texas
#17 Michigan State over Iowa
#18 Wisconsin over Minnesota
#22 Southern Miss over UCF
West Virginia over #23 Cincinnati
#24 Michigan over Illinois
#25 Baylor over Kansas
North Carolina State over Boston College
Virginia over Duke
Florida State over Miami (FL)
Notre Dame over Maryland
Vanderbilt over Kentucky
Ole Miss over Louisiana Tech
Ohio State over Purdue

NFL:

Last Week: 7-6
Overall: 84-44

Saints over Falcons
Steelers over Bengals
Browns over Rams
Cowboys over Bills
Colts over Jaguars
Chiefs over Broncos
Dolphins over Redskins
Eagles over Cardinals
Texans over Buccaneers
Panthers over Titans
Ravens over Seahawks
Bears over Lions
49ers over Giants
Patriots over Jets
Packers over Vikings

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Spurrier, Garcia Create Crazy Day in Gamecock Country

October 11, 2011

Spurrier criticizes reporter in morning press conference; School Dismisses Stephen Garcia

Whether it was South Carolina Gamecocks Head Coach Steve Spurrier’s rant against a columnist, or the end of the Stephen Garcia era, it has been a crazy day in Columbia, South Carolina.

It is truly a day in the life of the fifteenth-ranked team in the country.

Hardly.

It all started this morning at Spurrier’s weekly press conference.  Before ever sitting down, he explained that The State’s sports columnist Ron Morris is the second journalist he has had to ‘disassociate’ himself from in 26 years of coaching.

The rant comes as Spurrier criticized the truthfulness of a story during the spring about WR Bruce Ellington trying to be a two-sport star, after starting his career with the Gamecocks as a point guard.  Ellington does intend on playing basketball as well this season.

Spurrier was upset of Morris saying that he ‘poached’ Ellington away from the basketball program.

Spurrier has the right to give his opinion on this, and he has a right not to talk to anyone he does not want to.

However, a display in front of all of the reporters, both print and television, is a poor way to solve the matter.  It brings shame on Spurrier and the football program.

Fans also believe that Morris is the one to blame.  The truth is that he comes out the winner.

It is Morris’s job to analyze and critique sports as a columnist.  His job is not to glorify the Gamecocks’ football or any athletic program.  It is to give his opinion on different items, and that includes pointing out the positives and the negatives.

The second news item came early Tuesday afternoon, as Athletics Director Eric Hyman announced the dismissal of fifth-year senior QB Stephen Garcia.

Garcia’s dismissal comes after Connor Shaw threw for four touchdowns in a big win against Kentucky.

The dismissal stems from Garcia’s suspension over the Summer, and according to reports, tested positive for alcohol and marijuana.

Hyman released this statement earlier today: “Being a student-athlete at the University of South Carolina is a privilege, not a right, and we remind all of our student-athletes that there are consequences for their actions.  For Stephen to return to and remain with the football squad this fall, we agreed on several established guidelines.  Unfortunately, he has not been able to abide by those guidelines and has therefore forfeited his position on the roster.  We wish him the best of luck as he moves forward in life.”

The dismissal ends the collegiate career of one of the most controversial players at South Carolina.

Garcia was suspended on five different occasions, most recently during Spring Practice and through the summer.

Garcia finished his career with 7,597 passing yards, only the third quarterback in school history to reach the 7,500 plateau.  He was 20-14 as the school’s quarterback.

There clearly would not be a sixth chance for Garcia.

Just an average day in Columbia, right?


Gamecocks To Watch in Spring Practice

March 15, 2011

Just hours away from the opening Spring practice for the South Carolina Gamecocks, it is important to look at five (or so) players that need to impress Head Coach Steve Spurrier, or it might be too late to make an impact.

27-Victor Hampton, RS-FR Cornerback – Hampton was a highly touted defensive back from Darlington entering last season.  He never saw the field in 2010.

Hampton looked very raw during fall practice last year, and despite the stuggles in the secondary, never even got a shot.

If he has committed himself to working hard, a question along with his character when he enrolled at South Carolina, he should see the playing field this season.  However, if he has not developed as expected, playing football in the SEC might not be in Hampton’s future.

UPDATE:  Hampton was suspended for the first day of practice for an academics violation.  He is expected to return for the next practice.  Just another part of Hampton’s long story.

9-Ace Sanders, SO Wide Receiver – You might be wondering why Sanders, who made a large impact as a true freshman, on this list.

In a group of tall wide receivers, Sanders is a lone speed threat enrolled at this point.  Senior WR Jason Barnes, at 6-4, will get the first shot replacing Tori Gurley, but Sanders offers a different option.

Sanders will also need show that his performance as punt returner was a fluke.  Sanders showed flashes of a difference-maker last year, this year he needs to show the consistency of a top-flight wide receiver.

14-Connor Shaw (SO), 11-Seth Strickland (RS-JR), 12-Andrew Clifford (RS-SO), 7-Dylan Thompson (RS-FR) – They are altogether, because they are all not named Stephen Garcia.

Garcia enters the spring as the starter, but Spurrier promised that he will give other quarterbacks a chance in the spring, following Garcia’s performance at the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.

In the Spring this year, Spurrier wants one quarterback to take the control of the job, no matter who it is.  At the end of the Spring, Spurrier wants to know who his quarterback is in the fall, not have a position battle loom over the Summer.

The guy is probably Garcia, but Spurrier will give all the quarterbacks a close look.

UPDATE: Shaw, Strickland, and Thompson now have the chance to take the job laid in front of them, following the news of the suspension of starter Garcia due to a violation of team rules dating back to the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.  Clifford and TE Mike Triglia were also suspended.  All are expected to be reinstated in about a week.

Dalton Wilson, RS-JR, Fullback – Wilson will get the first shot to replace Patrick DiMarco, a player and a position that were underrated on this team.

The team likely will not realize how much DiMarco meant until they get on the field in September.  While it will be hard to replace all of the roles DiMarco filled, Wilson will be an able player.

Wilson is a solid athlete, who might struggle adapting to the speed of the game initially, but can adjust.  Sophomore Matt Coffee will also see some time at the position, especially in short-distance running opportunities.

Marcus Lattimore, SO, Running Back – I had to put an eye-opener on this list, and Lattimore is that guy.

Lattimore had as good of a freshman year as anyone could expect.  He was the Gamecock offense in 2010.

However, now the rest of college football knows who he is, and will be the focus of defensive gameplans for the Gamecocks’ twelve opponents.  This means that more than ever, he will have to show off his immense talent.

On some preseason Heisman Trophy watch lists, Lattimore is capable of winning it, proving he can duplicate the success of his freshman season.  If not, he might join the list of freshman phenoms who could never match the early success.

There are some questions that will get answered when the full recruiting class is at practice in the fall (i.e. Jadeveon Clowney is at practice).  However, making an impression in the Spring, especially with Spurrier, will go a long way towards any playing time in the fall.


Top 10 Sports Moments in South Carolina for 2010

December 31, 2010

As mentioned on Wednesday, December 29th’s edition of “Section 26 Sports”, here are the Top 10 Moments from sports in South Carolina for 2010.  As with the previous list, these are purely the opinions of the “Section 26 Sports” hosts.  Others might have certain things in different orders, added something, or omitted something.

10.  Denny Hamlin sweeps Mother’s Day Weekend at Darlington.

You knew that Hamlin would be a star when in his first race at Darlington, in a Nationwide Series car, finished in the top-10.  His performances at the track continued when he won the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races at Darlington on Mother’s Day Weekend.

9.  Kyle Parker gets drafted in MLB, returns to Clemson.

Kyle Parker went to Clemson because they gave him an opportunity to be a two-sport star in baseball and football.  He has succeeded at both.

Parker was drafted in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft’s first round by the Colorado Rockies.  He wanted to play baseball, but wanted to play football, too.

Down to the last second of negotiations, Parker signed his contract with Colorado, but it allowed him to return to Clemson to play football in 2010.

Looking back on it, might not have been the best decision.

8.  South Carolina upsets #1 Kentucky in basketball.

Less than 36 hours from becoming the number-0ne team in the country, and less than 8 hours from speaking with President Barack Obama, Kentucky was beaten by South Carolina 68-62.

A $25,000 celebration later, and the Gamecocks are all over television, for managing to pull the upset.  Click here for the post following the game.

7.  Oliver Purnell leaves Clemson.

This story somewhat flew under the radar, but was very important nevertheless.

Following the Tigers’ season, Purnell left Clemson for DePaul, a program in the cellar of the Big East Conference.

For Purnell, it is a good move.  If he can turn around DePaul, it will put him in the upper echelon of coaches in college basketball, simply for his ability to take a bad program and make them winners.

6.  Marcus Lattimore recruiting-trail.

Where would the Byrnes star running back go was the question much of the first part of the year.  At the end, it came down to Auburn or South Carolina.

In front of his church, in a much lower-scale “The Decision” moment, Lattimore announced that he would attend South Carolina.

I guess you could say the rest is history.

5.  Clemson and South Carolina take the rivalry to Omaha.

In a repeat of an earlier College World Series, the 2010 edition would feature either Clemson or South Carolina in the finale.

South Carolina beat Clemson in back-to-back games to advance to the final, guided by a Michael Roth masterpiece in the first game, where they would eventually be crowned National Champions.

4.  Notable Deaths of South Carolina sport’s leaders.

2010 saw the loss of three noted people in South Carolina sport’s history.  Legendary radio voice of the Gamecocks Bob Fulton, former Gamecocks wide receiver Kenny McKinley, and former Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams all passed away.

McKinley’s and Adams’ death were both very shocking.  Adams, 26, passed away in January due to cardiac arrest.  McKinley, 23, passed away just a few months ago when he committed suicide.

Fulton’s death at age 89 meant the loss of a person whose eyes had seen many Gamecocks feats, and whose voice described the moments that Gamecock fans who could not attend the game, feel like they were in the front row.

3.  South Carolina upsets the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide.

In a year that saw the Gamecocks upset three number-one teams, the upset of Alabama was special.  The game drew ESPN’s College GameDay, a national CBS audience, and a sell-out crowd.

It was a game that proved to the SEC and the country that the Gamecocks would be a force, with their 35-21 victory over Alabama.

2.  South Carolina wins the SEC East.

Although it was very bittersweet, the Gamecocks achieved something it had never done before, making it to the SEC Championship game.  Unfortunately, they had to face an unstoppable Auburn team.

It is easy to go back and forth about how to rank this, considering the Gamecocks were the best in a mediocre division and were not competitive in the game.  Click here for the story on the Gamecocks securing the SEC East title.

1.  South Carolina Gamecocks are National Champions in College Baseball.

In all honesty, this was a no-brainer in determining this list.  The Gamecocks first national championship in a major sport ever, was the team’s back-to-back wins over UCLA in the final College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium.

Click here for the story immediately following the championship, and explaining why the city of Columbia had a right to go crazy over baseball.

There you have, the 10 reasons why 2010 in South Carolina sports will be remembered for a long-time.


Podcast for 11.2.10

November 3, 2010

Hey everyone. To those who didn’t join us live on the show today. Here’s the link to the Podcast. We did a special election night debate for the Heisman trophy as well as gave Adam props for having the best hair of everyone who works for Section 26 Sports. (Stay tuned past the final music, you’ll understand.)

We also wrap up the NCAA FB Top 25, get everyone ready for the Arkansas-Carolina game, and lament the lost season of the Clemson.

Section 26 Sports Podcast for 11.2.10


ESPN’s “College GameDay” Coming to Columbia; Game 3:30 on CBS [UPDATED]

October 3, 2010

UPDATE:  University of South Carolina Athletics Director Eric Hyman announced on his weekly radio show that “College GameDay” will be broadcast from the Horseshoe on campus.  The legendary relaxation zone on campus will provide an excellent background for one of ESPN’s most popular shows. (10-4-2010)

ESPN has announced that it’s football pre-game show, “College GameDay,” will be coming to Columbia, South Carolina for Saturday’s game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the South Carolina Gamecocks.

CBS also announced that they will pick up the game for their 3:30 pm time slot.  CBS’s slot is considered the premiere time slot in the order weekly football games are selected for television.

We will keep you posted on details when you could see Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstriet, Desmond Howard, Erin Andrews, and the rest of the characters that come with one of ESPN’s most popular programs.

Just because “GameDay” is here does not mean we will not.  Be sure to join us starting at 8 am on Saturday Morning for “Section 26 Sports” with Adam, James, and Shawn.  We air on WUSC, which is 90.5 FM in Columbia, online at wusc.sc.edu, in the radio section of iTunes, in the Russell House dining areas, and on the Gamecock Cable TV Guide Channel.


South Carolina Gamecocks: National Champions

July 2, 2010

How do you put into words, the crowning of a champion, when it is your own school?  How do you put into words the ending of a curse?  How do you put into words the end of an era and the beginning of one that involves winning?

I am not sure, but I’ll start by saying, the South Carolina Gamecocks are college baseball’s 2010 National Champions.

As the Gamecocks’ Scott Wingo crossed the plate to clinch the championship, years of frustration, years of suffering was erased from the minds of many fans.

The Gamecocks won six straight at the College World Series, including the two in a row to defeat the UCLA Bruins to win the National Championship.  It is the first championship for the school in baseball, and only the second in the school’s history.

There were many different ways of celebrating, some were in 5 Points, some were watching with friends, and some people were in the comfort of their own home.

The common theme, however, was the elation felt at 3 minutes until midnight on Tuesday, as the Gamecocks beat the Bruins 2-1 in 11 innings.

For a student at South Carolina, time has seemed to stop, even if everything else is going on in the world.  Oil is still gushing into the Gulf, the economy is still down, and a hurricane struck Mexico.

But the thought in Gamecock Nation right now still remains:  The Gamecocks are National Champions.

So how do you explain everything that has happened in the last 72 to 96 hours.  Tears have flown, cheers shouted, and immense joy have all been a part of it for sure.

One thing is for certain on this championship; Yes, there may be a new champion next year, but no one will ever be able to take away the fact that the Gamecocks are the last team to ever win a championship in the 61-year history of Rosenblatt Stadium.

The famous home of the College World Series ended its run this year, and the series will move to a new home across town in Omaha, Nebraska.

Nevertheless, there are two things that I will for certain remember in the Gamecocks run in Omaha:

First, Michael Roth.

The left-handed specialist all season for Gamecocks Head Coach Ray Tanner was called onto pitch in a starter’s role.  Entering the College World Series, Roth had two career starts.

In the first game against Clemson, Roth was only expected to go two to three innings, getting through the first time through the order against a lineup filled with left-handed hitters.

Roth only provided the biggest pitching performance of the season, and the outing that will by far define his career as a Gamecock.  Roth pitched a complete game 3-hitter, only giving up one run in the process.

Then Roth came out again in the second game against UCLA, for his fourth career start.  The same thing was expected of him, get through the lineup the first time through.

Yet again, Roth battled through five innings, holding the Bruins to one run.

Roth’s performances were an example of what defined this Gamecock’s team.

The second person to highlight is Bayler Teal.

Bayler was a six-year old who was battling cancer, and had become a friend of this baseball team.

One of Bayler’s dying wishes were to see his Gamecocks win a national championship.  I never knew Bayler except for seeing him throw out a first pitch, but by the end of the run, everybody knew Bayler.

It causes me to break down when I think of Bayler and him not being able to see what happened on Tuesday night.  Bayler passed away during the first Clemson game.

Regardless, congratulations Bayler, this championship was for you.

In the end, how do you describe the feelings of this championship from the point of a student, fan, and radio host?  It personally chokes me up to see the game-winning play and sometimes just to hear the words:  South Carolina Gamecocks, National Champions.

The Gamecocks are known for choking in big game situations, creating storylines for messing up, not for being the team everybody wants to be.

So my answer to that:  It just doesn’t happen to us.  This just does not happen to us.