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Statistically Speaking: The Cock n' Fire Vs. The Duke n' Cover

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Cock n' Fire Vs. The Duke n' Cover

Steve Spurrier’s first team at South Carolina is eerily similar to his second team at Duke. In 1988, his Duke team finished 7-3-1. His Carolina team is currently 7-3. Both his teams were taken behind the woodshed twice. Duke lost by 32 at Clemson and 19 to Wake Forest while Carolina was decimated by 31 at Auburn and 23 to Alabama. Both his teams had a knack for winning close games. His Duke team was 4-0-1 in games decided by 8 points or less. His Carolina team is 4-1 in games decided by 8 points or less. With the combination of close wins and blowout losses both his teams had very small point differentials. His Duke squad allowed the same number of points that they scored while Carolina has outscored their opponents by only 16 points. I suppose the question I’m trying to gleam from this observation is: Just how good are the Gamecocks? They clearly are not a dominant team. The losses to Auburn and Alabama prove that. They are also a little lucky to be where they are. If Arian Foster doesn’t fumble on the 1-yard line, if Josh Brown doesn’t nail that 49 yard field goal, if Jamaal Anderson’s interception return for a TD isn’t nullified by penalty, if Houston Nutt hadn’t gone for a 4th down from his own 29 in the 1st quarter, if Chris Tucker doesn’t make like George Rogers on his interception return, if Florida doesn’t have 12 men on the field… Of course I am in no way disparaging the OBC. However, these wins need to be put into proper context. Tennessee is down this year and may not make a bowl, Arkansas is down and will not make a bowl, and Florida is still learning Urban Meyer’s system. Still, the wins count, no matter how you get them. This season will no doubt help Spurrier in his recruiting. However, let’s not start creaming ourselves just yet. For all his offensive genius, this year’s Gamecocks are averaging 2.4 more points per game than last year’s version. If the balls bounced a little differently last year against Georgia and Ole Miss, Lou Holtz’s final team could have been 8-3. We won’t know how good these Gamecocks truly are until after their bowl game. To be sure, Spurrier is on the right track at South Carolina, a school with some of the most loyal fans in the nation, but wasn’t that the consensus 4 years ago after consecutive bowl appearances under Holtz?

1 Comments:

Blogger awb said...

There is no doubt that South Carolina is not as talented as alot of other Top 25 teams. You are absolutely correct that the blowout losses prove that. They have had everything bounce their way this year, thank goodness. Nobody is saying that SC is going to win the national championship next year. The team could very easily be 4-7 right now.

However, good teams take advantage of opportunities. SC is doing that this year. Winning breeds confidence, and SC is confident right now after winning 5 in a row. Several "firsts" have been achieved this year: beating UT in Knoxville, beating Florida, winning 5 SEC games in a row. These are all great things to build upon for the future.

I'll take the wins this year any way SC can get them.....ugly or not.

Go Cocks! Beat Clemson!

4:35 PM  

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