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12-17-2009- The Decade Nears its End
 
As this decade nears its end, it only feels right to take a look back at what has transpired over the last ten years.  The Gamecocks have been led by two hall of fame coaches in Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier, they've nabbed three (hopefully soon to be four) bowl victories, and they've recorded nearly seventy victories.  The sixty-eight wins is the most by the Gamecocks in any decade.  Beow is our look back at Gamecock Football from 2000-2009:
 
By the Numbers
Overall Record: 68-48 (.586)
Conference Record: 37-43 (.462)
Winning Seasons: 7
Bowl Appearances: 5
Bowl Victories: 3 (fouth pending)
 
Elite Competition
Record Against AP Top 25 Teams: 14-30 (.318)
Record Against AP Top 10 Teams: 3-17 (.150)
Record Against AP Top 5 Teams: 1-9 (.100)
Record Against AP #1s: 0-1 (.000)
Played the Eventual National Champion: 5 times in the last decade.  Carolina lost to LSU 7-33 in 2003, lost a 16-17 heartbreaker in the Swamp to Florida in 2006, lost a 16-28 battle to LSU in 2007, dropped a 6-56 decision to the Gators once again in the Swamp, and played tough in a 6-20 loss to Alabama in 2009.  (Above is pending an Alabama win over Texas)
 
Home Sweet Home
2000-2004-Holtz's Home Record: 22-11
2005-2009-Spurrier's Home Record: 23-12
Overall Home Record: 45-23 (.661)
 
Road Warriors
2000-2004-Holtz's Road Record: 7-10 (.411)
2005-2009: Spurrier's Road Record: 11-13 (.458)
Overall Road Record: 18-23 (.439)
 
Record Against Annual Foes
Against Kentucky: 10-0
Against Vanderbilt: 8-2
Against Arkansas: 4-6
Against Clemson: 3-7
Against Georgia: 3-7
Against Tennessee: 2-8
Against Florida: 1-9
 
All-Decade Team
OFFENSE
 
QB: Phil Petty (1997-2001)
RB: Cory Boyd (2003-2007)
TE: Jared Cook (2006-2008)
WR: Sidney Rice (2004-2006)
WR: Kenny McKinley (2005-2008)
WR: Troy Williamson (2002-2004)
OL: Travelle Wharton (2000-2003)
OL: Cedric Williams (1999-2002)
OL: Chris White (2002-2006)
OL: Na'Shan Goddard (2001-2005)
OL: Melvin Paige (1997-2001)
 
DEFENSE
 
DE: Cliff Matthews (2007-2010)
DT: Langston Moore (1999-2002)
DT: Cleveland Pinkney (1999-2002)
DE: Kalimba Edwards (1998-2001)
LB: Eric Norwood (2006-2009)
LB: Jasper Brinkley (2006-2008)
LB: Lance Laury (2001-2005)
CB: Sheldon Brown (1998-2001)
CB: Dunta Robinson (2000-2003)
S: Ko Simpson (2003-2005)
S: Emanuel Cook (2006-2008)
 
SPECIAL TEAMS:
K: Ryan Succop (2005-2008)
P: Spencer Lanning (2006-2009)
Specialist/Returner: Chris Culliver (2007-2010)
 
Biggest Victories
2009: South Carolina's 16-10 victory over the #4-ranked Ole Miss Rebels was huge.  The fourth-ranked Rebels became the highest ranked opponent ever defeated at Williams Brice Stadium.  Carolina's 34-17 win over #15 Clemson to close the regular season is a close second.
 
2008: In retrospect the 31-24 victory over the Ole Miss Rebels in Oxford a week after they upet #1 Florida in the Swamp was the biggest of the 2008 campaign.  The Rebels went on to finish with a 9-4 record and a top 25 ranking.
 
2007: The 16-12 win over eleventh-ranked Georgia Bulldogs in Athens turned out to be bigger than the home win over then-ranked #8 Kentucky.  The Bulldogs finished the season with only two losses and a top five ranking.
 
2006: In a season of near monumental upsets, Carolina's greatest victory came in Clemson.  The 31-28 victory over the #24-ranked Tigers was a big moment for Spurrier at Carolina.  The Gamecocks needed the win as they had suffered close losses to top 15-ranked teams all season long (a 16-17 loss to #6 Florida, a 20-26 loss to #12 Arkansas, a 24-31 loss to #8 Tennessee, a 17-24 loss to #2 Auburn).
 
2005: While winning in Knoxville was big, the 30-22 home victory over Spurrier's alma mater was without a doubt the biggest win of the season.  The victory over the the twelfth-ranked Florida Gators catipulted USC to a 2nd place finish in the SEC East and eliminated Florida's chance at winning the division.
 
2004: The 20-3 victory over the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa was the best of Carolina's six wins in 2004.  Anytime you win in Tuscaloosa, it's huge.
 
2003: The 31-7 victory over the fifteenth-ranked Virginia Cavs was a bright spot in an otherwise grim 2003 season.  In the win, the Gamecocks outgained Virginia 423-170.
 
2002: In a disappointing season, the good moments seemed few and far between.  South Carolina's 16-12 victory over Kentucky in Lexington is one of those good moments.  The Wildcats finished the season 7-5.  The 2002 Kentucky Wildcat football team is best known for coming up just short in the "Bluegrass Miracle" game against LSU.
 
2001: Choosing the biggest win from South Carolina's second most successful season in history was a difficult task.  Victories over Georgia, Clemson, and Alabama were all monumental, but the biggest win came in Tampa.  South Carolina's second consecutive Outback Bow victory over a ranked Ohio State team was huge.  The win was Carolina's ninth on the season.  It was the first time the Gamecocks had recorded nine wins in a season since 1984.  Defeating a national power for the second time in two years set the precident that Carolina had moved up a level since the 1990s.
 
2000: Wins over Arkansas and Mississippi State were big, but the biggest win of the season came in the SEC-opener.  Ending the twenty-one game losing streak in week one was huge, but the goaposts came down for the second consecutive week as South Carolina upset #9 Georgia 21-10.  Carolina intercepted Heisman Trophy Candidate Quincy Carter five times in rout to Carolina's first victory over a ranked team in eight years.  The win was Carolina's first conference win in eighteen tries.

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12-06-2009- Rank the SEC (FOLLOWING WEEK FOURTEEN)
 
Here are the SEC power rankings following week fourteen:
 
[W9] TW) Team (Record)
 
[01] 1) Alabama (13-0):  Alabama is back.  There is no question.  Nearly three years after taking the job at Alabama, Nick Saban has the program competing for and, in my opinion, most likely winning National Championships.
[01] 2) Florida (12-1): The streak was snapped in Atlanta on Saturday night.  Nobody in Gainesville envisioned it turning out this way.  However, even with this loss, Tim Tebow will still go down in history as one of, if not, the greatest college football players of all time.  The man has two SEC Title rings, two National Championship rings, and a Heisman Trophy. 
[03] 3) LSU (9-3): On to a bowl game for Les and co.  The Tigers will be in Orlando.  Miles needs a win heading into the offseason.  He will have a lot to prove in 2010.  Nick Saban appears to be taking control of the West like Urban has the East.
[04] 4) Ole Miss (8-4): It's very important that Houston Nutt take advantage of the Cotton Bowl like he did last year.  It's been a disappointing season in Oxford.  The Rebels, once ranked 4th, have dropped games to teams that they shouldn't have. 
[05] 5) Tennessee (7-5): Kiffin had a successful season in Knoxville, but can he keep his players from getting arrested before the Dec. 31st bowl game?  Virginia Tech poses a tough challenge in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.  Can the Vols continue the SEC dominance over the ACC?
[06] 6) Arkansas (7-5): It was an alright season for the Razorbacks.  With any defense at all, Bobby Petrino could've challenged for the West this year.  The big question now...will Ryan return?
[07] 7) Auburn (7-5): Auburn did some lobbying and got themselves into the Outback Bowl.  Chizik needs this win to help with recruiting.  He needs anything to slow the Saban-train down.
[08] 8) Georgia (7-5): Richt has already announced the firing of three of his assistant coaches.  This is a big offseason in Athens.  The win over the Yellow Jackets will make life somewhat pleasant for the coaching staff, but the Dawg fans expect more than five-loss seasons.
[09] 9) South Carolina (7-5): The Gamecocks have a very talented team returning.  They were extremely young this year, but they must take advantage of the bowl game and defeat a ranked Pittsburgh team.  Spurrier and co. have to maintain the positive momentum created by beating Clemson.
[10] 10) Kentucky (7-5): Deja vu?  Kentucky...7-5...Music City Bowl...mediocre ACC opponent.  We've heard this before.  Another 8-5 season for the Wildcats could be in the making.  Brooks has done a good job at Kentucky, but will he ever take it to the next level?
[11] 11) Mississippi State (5-7): A good opening season for Dan Mullen.  He got a signature win against a ranked Ole Miss team and almost had a few more against the big boys of the conference.  Florida and LSU were lucky to escape Starkville unscathed.
[12] 12) Vanderbilt (2-10): Unfortunately, the feel-good story that was Vanderbilt football last year has ended.  No bowl game for Bobby Johnson's squad this holiday season.

12-06-2009- Spurred Top 25 (Following Week 14)
 
Here is our top 25 poll following week fourteen:
 
[W9] TW) Team Record [Season peak]
 
[02] 01) Alabama 13-0 [#1]
[04] 02) TCU 12-0 [#2]
[03] 03) Texas 13-0 [#2]
[05] 04) Cincinatti 13-0 [#4]
[06] 05) Boise State 13-0 [#5]
[01] 06) Florida 12-1 [#1]
[07] 07) Oregon 10-2 [#7]
[08] 08) Ohio State 10-2 [#6]
[09] 09) Iowa 10-2 [#6]
[10] 10) Penn State 10-2 [#4]
[11] 11) BYU 10-2 [#10]
[12] 12) LSU 9-3 [#6]
[13] 13) Georgia Tech 11-2 [#7]
[14] 14) Virginia Tech 9-3 [#4]
[15] 15) Miami 9-3 [#13]
[20] 16) Oklahoma State 9-3 [#4]
[23] 17) West Virginia 9-3 [#16]
[24] 18) Wisconsin 9-3 [#18]
[16] 19) Pitt 9-3 [#8]
[---] 20) Utah 9-3 [#17]
[---] 21) Arizona 8-4 [#21]
[---] 22) Texas Tech 8-4 [#22]
[25] 23) Mississippi 8-4 [#5]
[22] 24) Nebraska 9-4 [#16]
[21] 25) Oregon State 8-4 [#21]
 
 
Next 10:
26) Central Michigan (10-2)
27) Rutgers (8-4)
28) Stanford (8-4)
29) California (8-4)
30) Southern Cal (8-4)
31) Georgia (7-5)
32) South Carolina (7-5)
33) Houston (10-3)
34) North Carolina (8-4)
35) Northwestern (8-4)
 
Dropped Out: #17 California, #18 Houston, #19 Southern Cal

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11-29-2009- Rank the SEC (FOLLOWING WEEK THIRTEEN)
 
Here are the SEC power rankings following week thirteen:
 
[W9] TW) Team (Record)
 
[01] 1) Florida (12-0): We're here again.  Undefeated Alabama and undefeated Florida.  Will it be a repeat?  Will Florida, yet again, go to the National Championship game?  How will Florida do against a very strong Alabama defense?  All questions will be answered on Saturday. 
[02] 2) Alabama (12-0):  Alabama has to be encouraged by the performance of Greg McElroy.  He led the team down the field on a comeback drive against their hated rival.  All eyes now turn to Atlanta.
[04] 3) LSU (9-3): Les Miles, so criticized last week for his bad clock management in the loss at Ole Miss, managed the clock a lot better in a last second come-from-behind overtime victory.
[03] 4) Ole Miss (8-4): Normally, the Rebels would take quite a tumble in the rankings after losing to Mississippi State, but you can't argue with an 8-4 record.  Especially win it seems every other team in the conference is 7-5.
[08] 5) Tennessee (7-5): The Vols finished 7-5.  That's big for Lane Kiffin.  They defeated all of their East rivals except for Florida.  They won by double digits over South Carolina, Georgia, and Vanderbilt.  They held on in Lexington for a win this weekend.  Tennessee has earned themselves a nice bowl game.
[07] 6) Arkansas (7-5): The Razorbacks played well, but defense lost them the game.  Petrino's team had the lead with under a minute remaining and let LSU mount a game-tying drive.  The big question around Razorback country: 'will Mallet stay?'
[06] 7) Auburn (7-5): The Tigers played the Tide tough but came up just short.  The Tigers through everything at Bama (especially in the first quarter), but they couldn't sustain it.
[10] 8) Georgia (7-5): That was a big win for Mark Richt in Atlanta this weekend.  He needed that.  It should end, temporarily at least, the criticsm of Richt and the clamoring for his firing.  A bowl win could also improve the outlook heading into the offseason, but Richt will have to prove something to the fanbase next year.  The Dawg fans won't take two consecutive five-loss seasons.
[09] 9) South Carolina (7-5): The Ball Coach got a huge win over the weekend.  A victory over the Tigers ends the talk about a late season slide.  It also gets the fanbase excited.  Heading into Saturday there were questions about Spurrier's job security.  Now, Gamecock fans want an extension on his contract.  With a lot of young talent returning, this team could be dangerous next year.
[05] 10) Kentucky (7-5): What could've been for Kentucky?  It could've been huge.  Now they'll most likely end up in a lower-tier bowl.  They also had a very good chance to end the streak.  However, it's still a season to build on for the Wildcats.  They have a lot of young talent.  South Carolina and Kentucky may have a chance to make some significant noise in the East race for the first time next year.
[11] 11) Mississippi State (5-7): Dan Mullen got a signature win on Saturday.  This will be a good season to build on for the Bulldogs.  It should also have a good impact on in-state recruiting. 
[12] 12) Vanderbilt (2-10): The bowl selections will be announced next Saturday.  Unlike last year, Vanderbilt won't be among the teams mentioned.

11-29-2009- Spurred Top 25 (Following Week 13)
 
Here is our top 25 poll following week thirteen:
 
[W9] TW) Team Record [Season peak]
 
[01] 01) Florida 12-0 [#1]
[03] 02) Alabama 12-0 [#2]
[02] 03) Texas 12-0 [#2]
[04] 04) TCU 12-0 [#4]
[05] 05) Cincinatti 12-0 [#5]
[06] 06) Boise State 12-0 [#6]
[09] 07) Oregon 9-2 [#7]
[10] 08) Ohio State 10-2 [#6]
[11] 09) Iowa 10-2 [#6]
[12] 10) Penn State 10-2 [#4]
[14] 11) BYU 10-2 [#10]
[16] 12) LSU 9-3 [#6]
[07] 13) Georgia Tech 10-2 [#7]
[18] 14) Virginia Tech 9-3 [#4]
[19] 15) Miami 9-3 [#13]
[08] 16) Pitt 9-2 [#8]
[20] 17) California 8-3 [#5]
[21] 18) Houston 10-2 [#14]
[22] 19) Southern Cal 8-3 [#3]
[13] 20) Oklahoma State 9-3 [#4]
[25] 21) Oregon State 8-3 [#21]
[---] 22) Nebraska 9-3 [#16]
[---] 23) West Virginia 8-3 [#16]
[---] 24) Wisconsin 8-3 [#24]
[15] 25) Mississippi 8-4 [#5]
 
 
Next 10:
26) Central Michigan (10-2)
27) Utah (9-3)
28) Texas Tech (8-4)
29) Rutgers (8-3)
30) Arizona (7-4)
31) Stanford (8-4)
32) Georgia (7-5)
33) South Carolina (7-5)
34) Clemson (8-4)
35) North Carolina (8-4)
 
Dropped Out: #17 Clemson, #23 Utah, #24 North Carolina

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11-29-2009- State Champs
*FRONT PAGE ARTICLE*

Like many years before, it was total domination in Williams Brice Stadium on Saturday between these two rivals.  However, a different team received the domination in the 2009 edition of the Palmetto Bowl.  South Carolina dominated Clemson in nearly every phase of the game, and it showed on the final scoreboard.  The Gamecocks won by seventeen points.  That's the largest margin of victory for Carolina since a 1994 33-7 beatdown of the Tigers.  The 34 points scored is also somewhat of a milestone.  A Gamecock team hasn't put up more than 34 points on Clemson since the 1975 56-20 win over the Tigers in Columbia.

In the Spurrier era, the team that has rushed the ball better has one this game.  That statistic proved true again on Saturday.  The Carolina rush defense only allowed Clemson 48 yards on the ground.  Offensively, Carolina racked up 223 yards rushing.  Carolina also won the turnover battle.  After throwing an early pick, the Gamecock defense forced a pick of their own and a fumble.  Both turnovers led to touchdowns. 

This win was important for many reasons.  First and foremost, it makes life easier on the fans for the next 364 days.  It also gives the program significant momentum heading into bowl season and the offseason.  There is a huge difference in 6-6 and 7-5.  South Carolina actually received votes in the Coaches' Poll this week.  In fact, they received enough votes to rank them at #31.  That makes South Carolina the highest ranked 7-5 team.  The win over Clemson also dispells the talk of another late season slide. 

In looking back on the 2009 regular season, it's evident it was full up a lot of ups and downs.  The Gamecocks raced out to a 6-2 start and a #21 ranking.  Carolina followed that up by losing three straight in a stretch that saw the team make crucial mistakes at the absolute worst times.  There were some winnable games Carolina let get away.  The game in Athens against Georgia is one that stands out, but Carolina was also able to come up with some pretty big wins.  Knocking off #4 Ole Miss and #15 Clemson were both huge victories for the program.  Some fans may have wanted better, I know I did, but when looking at the big picture, 7-5 is really not bad for this team.  The Gamecocks have the youngest team in the SEC.  South Carolina has more freshmen in their 2009 two-deep than any other SEC teams.  The victory over Clemson on Saturday was a glimpse into the future.  It looks bright.

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11-25-2009- Rank the SEC (FOLLOWING WEEK TWELVE)
 
After a three week hiatus, we're back with the SEC rankings for the first time since week 9.  Sorry for the break.  Here are the rankings following week twelve:
 
[W9] TW) Team (Record)
 
[01] 1) Florida (11-0): Can Florida State pose a challenge to the mighty Gators?  On Senior Day?  Nope.  UF rolls as an emotional Tebow wills his team to a blow-out victory. 
[02] 2) Alabama (11-0):  Can Auburn give the Tide a run for their money?  Possibly, but that Tiger defense will have to play its best game.
[07] 3) Ole Miss (8-3): Where was this team during the first coupole of weeks?  The Rebels were the beneficiaries of Les Miles' stupidity, but a win is a win. 
[03] 4) LSU (8-3): The Bayou Bengals are in the top four because they've won eight games.  They've won eight games because of talent.  It certainly isn't great coaching.  Les Miles' failure to manage the clock at the end of the Ole Miss loss will rightfully bring him a ton of criticism over the next couple of weeks.
[11] 5) Kentucky (7-4): The Wildcats are having a great season thus far.  A win over the Vols would put it over the top, but you just can't help but thinking what could've been for the Cats had they held on to beat South Carolina and Mississippi State. 
[04] 6) Auburn (7-4): The Tigers have had a roller coaster ride of a season.  A win over the Tide would be huge, but I'm not counting on it.
[09] 7) Arkansas (7-4): Is there any player hotter than Ryan Mallet right now?  He's been incredible and have the Razorbacks a win away from the Cotton Bowl. 
[05] 8) Tennessee (6-5): The Vols have a big game this weekend against Kentucky.  With a win, they could end up in the Outback bowl (maybe the Chick-Fil-a).  With a loss, the Vols could tumble all the way to Shreveport.
[06] 9) South Carolina (6-5): The Ball Coach needs a win over the Tigers to save the season.  Can the Gamecocks stop Spiller and Dabo?
[08] 10) Georgia (6-5): The loss to Kentucky was inexcusable.  Mark Richt has some serious internal problems to fix.  There will be a staff shakeup in Athens this offseason.
[10] 11) Mississippi State (4-7): Dan Mullen's squad won't make a bowl game this year, but he's laid a nice foundation for years to come.
[12] 12) Vanderbilt (2-10): One year after a huge bowl win, Bobby Johnson's squad has taken a step back.  Mercifully, the season has ended for Vandy.

11-25-2009- Spurred Top 25 (Following Week 12)
 
After a three week hiatus, we're back with the top 25 for the first time since week 9.  Sorry for the break.  Here is our poll following week twelve:
 
[W9] TW) Team Record [Season peak]
 
[01] 01) Florida 11-0 [#1]
[02] 02) Texas 11-0 [#2]
[03] 03) Alabama 11-0 [#2]
[04] 04) TCU 11-0 [#4]
[05] 05) Cincinatti 11-0 [#5]
[07] 06) Boise State 11-0 [#6]
[08] 07) Georgia Tech 10-1 [#7]
[12] 08) Pitt 9-1 [#8]
[10] 09) Oregon 9-2 [#9]
[13] 10) Ohio State 10-2 [#6]
[06] 11) Iowa 10-2 [#6]
[09] 12) Penn State 10-2 [#4]
[19] 13) Oklahoma State 9-2 [#4]
[21] 14) BYU 9-2 [#10]
[---] 15) Mississippi [#5]
[11] 16) LSU 8-3 [#6]
[---] 17) Clemson 8-3 [#16]
[22] 18) Virginia Tech 8-3 [#4]
[16] 19) Miami 8-3 [#13]
[25] 20) California 8-3 [#5]
[14] 21) Houston 9-2 [#14]
[15] 22) Southern Cal 7-3 [#3]
[17] 23) Utah 9-2 [#17]
[---] 24) North Carolina 8-3 [#17]
[---] 25) Oregon State 8-3 [#23]
 
 
Next 10:
26) Wisconsin (8-3)
27) West Virginia (7-3)
28) South Florida (7-3)
29) Central Michigan (9-2)
30) Kentucky (7-4)
31) Auburn (7-4)
32) Texas Tech (7-4)
33) Rutgers (7-3)
34) Stanford (7-3)
35) Arkansas (7-4)

11-25-2009- Rivalry Time
*FRONT PAGE ARTICLE*

65-37-4.  That's the record.  We all know it.  Gamecock fans cringe every time they hear it.  The domination by Clemson is this so-called 'rivalry' has been embarassing and a bit dumbfounding.  South Carolina is the bigger school, is located in the bigger city, and, since 1992, has been a member of the better conference.  Yet, South Carolina has only won ONCE at home against the Tigers in that time span.  In fact, since 1987, South Carolina is 1-9 at home against Clemson.

When looking at the 2009 campaign thus far, it's evident that this season has been a disappointment to many fans.  The offense, while improved over last season, is failing to consistently score points.  The consecutive losses to Tennessee and Arkansas erased the good 6-2 start.  After eight games, South Carolina was exactly where they wanted to be: ranked and bowl eligible.  Disasterous miscues in Knoxville and Fayetteville cost the Gamecocks a shot at a New Year's day bowl and a possible 9-10 win season.

But what happened in the return to Columbia after the consecutive losses is what makes me think this late season slide is different.  The Gamecocks gave the Gators all they wanted.  South Carolina had a chance to tie the game in the 4th quarter before a disasterous, fluke interception took them out of it.  Unlike last year, the Gamecocks bounced back after some tough losses late in the season.  They played with heart and effort.  The feeling is different around this team.  The improvement, while maybe not as fast-paced as fans would like, is taking place. 

However, winning is the most important thing, and the bottom line: South Carolina has the same record that they had in Lou Holtz's final season.  Talent level may have improved, but winning percentage has not.  As we all know, winning cures all ills.  If Steve Spurrier can find a way to beat the Tigers this weekend, all is forgiven.  The losses are forgotten and they five consecutive 5+ loss seasons are a distant memory.  A win would pull Spurrier's record back to 2-3 agaisnt Clemson and would give the Gamecocks a 7-5 record overall for 2009.  It would also catapult Carolina into the Music City Bowl with an outside shot of making the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.  The feeling around the fan base would be ultra-enthusiastic heading into the offseason with a victory over the Tigers.  With a loss, Carolina ends up in the worst SEC bowl, the rumblings for Spurrier's firing grow louder throughout the offseason, and the possibility of signing a top tier recruiting class diminishes.  So, Coach Spurrier and team, BEAT THE TIGERS!

*SITE UPDATE*
 
The last three games have been bitter pills to swallow for Gamecock fans.  After a much needed break, I've decided to continue updates on the website.  For recaps of the Arkansas and Florida games go to http://gamecocksonline.com/ or visit our 2009 page.
 
~Webmaster (11/25/09)

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11-01-2009- Rank the SEC (FOLLOWING WEEK NINE)
 
Here at Spurred we're going to continue feature we added last year.  We'll have our own weekly rankings of the SEC following the games every weekend.  Here are the rankings following week nine:
 
[LW] TW) Team (Record)
 
[02] 1) Florida (8-0): The Gators wrapped up yet another SEC East Title with their dominating win over the Bulldogs last Saturday.  The Gators look poised for the an unbeated regular season.  Can this team go undefeated for the first time in school history?
[01] 2) Alabama (8-0):  If Alabama doesn't fix it's passing game and red zone offense, LSU could come out of Bryant Denny with a win this Saturday. 
[03] 3) LSU (7-1): LSU has a tough defense and will give the Tide a test.  This team is still a dark horse for the national title.  Everybody has forgotten about Les Miles' squad.  They could be a real surprise as the season winds down.
[10] 4) Auburn (6-3): The Tigers stopped the bleeding with a tremendous win over the Ole Miss Rebels.  Gene Chizik still have tough games against Georgia and Alabama, but this season has already been a successful one for Auburn.  The goal was getting back to a bowl.  Everything else is gravy. 
[06] 5) Tennessee (4-4): The Volunteers may have the best .500 team in the country.  Lane Kiffin's squad took advantage of three Gamecock turnovers in the first half and cruised to a 31-13 win.  All of a sudden, it appears this team is heading for a New Years Day bowl.
[04] 6) South Carolina (6-3): The writing is on the wall.  Here comes that late season collapse.  You can see it coming a mile away.  If the Gamecocks can't beat the Razorbacks this weekend, they'll be 6-4 with #1 Florida coming up next.  If Steve Spurrier can't find a way to take advantage of Arkansas' porous pass defense, he should go ahead and resign.
[05] 7) Ole Miss (5-3): The Rebels had a major setback last weekend.  Losing to Auburn might have taken them out of the running for the Cotton Bowl.  It's become evident that this is not the team that beat LSU and Texas Tech at the end of the 2008 season.
[07] 8) Georgia (4-4): Mark Richt needs to stop the bleeding.  Tennessee Tech is next, but with games against Auburn and Georgia Tech left on the schedule, the Bulldogs could be in for their worst season this decade.
[08] 9) Arkansas (4-4): The Razorbacks have a key game this weekend.  Both South Carolina and Arkansas have their back up against the wall.  This could make for a good game.  I predict a shootout in Fayetteville. 
[11] 10) Mississippi State (4-5): Dixon had a tremendous game as the Bulldogs knocked off Kentucky.  This was a big win for Dan Mullen as it helps keep bowl hopes alive in Starkville.
[09] 11) Kentucky (4-4): The Wildcats dropped a key game to Dan Mullen's squad.  This team still has a shot at a good bowl game, but they must take care of business and win the games they're supposed to.
[12] 12) Vanderbilt (2-7): The Vandy offense maybe looked the best it did all year putting up a lot of points against Georgia Tech, but that defense got absolutely burned. 

11-01-2009- Spurred Top 25 (Following Week 9)
 
Here at Spurred we've decided to create our own top 25.  We will update it each week following the weekend's football games.  Here is our poll following week nine:
 
[LW] TW) Team Record [Season peak]
 
[01] 01) Florida 8-0 [#1]
[03] 02) Texas 8-0 [#2]
[02] 03) Alabama 8-0 [#2]
[04] 04) TCU 8-0 [#4]
[06] 05) Cincinatti 8-0 [#5]
[07] 06) Iowa 8-0 [#6]
[08] 07) Boise State 8-0 [#7]
[11] 08) Georgia Tech 8-1 [#7]
[10] 09) Penn State 8-1 [#4]
[14] 10) Oregon 7-1 [#9]
[13] 11) LSU 7-1 [#6]
[15] 12) Pitt 7-1 [#12]
[17] 13) Ohio State 7-2 [#6]
[18] 14) Houston 7-1 [#14]
[05] 15) Southern Cal 6-2 [#3]
[20] 16) Miami 6-2 [#13]
[21] 17) Utah 7-1 [#17]
[22] 18) Oklahoma 5-3 [#3]
[09] 19) Oklahoma State 6-2 [#4]
[23] 20) Notre Dame 6-2 [#20]
[25] 21) BYU 6-2 [#10]
[12] 22) Virginia Tech 5-3 [#4]
[---] 23) Arizona 6-2 [#23]
[---] 24) Wisconsin 6-2 [#24]
[---] 25) California 6-2 [#5]
 
Next 10:
26) South Florida (7-2)
27) Clemson (5-3)
28) West Virginia (6-2)
29) Tennessee (4-4)
30) South Carolina (6-3)
31) Central Michigan (7-2)
32) Auburn (6-3)
33) Ole Miss (5-3)
34) Texas Tech (6-3)
35) Rutgers (6-2)
 
Dropped Out: #16 West Virginia, #19 South Carolina, #24 Ole Miss

11-01-2009- Gut Check Time 
*FRONT PAGE ARTICLE*

Forget 'a new Carolina.'  Forget the top 25 ranking.  Forget enacting revenge on Lane Kiffin for the infamous gas pumping comment.  Forget the improved ball protection we'd seen so far this season.  It was all lost in Knoxville.  The Gamecocks played their worst game of the season.  The effort among many players was questionable, and the basic fundamentals of football (blocking and tackling) were poor.  Three first half turnovers led directly to three first half touchdowns for the Volunteers.  Lane Kiffin's squad had a 21-3 lead heading into the half.

The last few years South Carolina has had difficulty finishing the year strong.  We all know about the five-game skid that ended 2007 and the three-game stretch that saw the Gamecocks get outscored 118-30 to end the 2008 season.  The writing is on the wall.  The decline has begun.  After rushing out  to a 6-2 record, the best of a Spurrier-coached Gamecock team after eight games, the wheels appear to be falling off, yet again.  It must be stopped.

The upcoming game against Arkansas may be the most important game of Spurrier's tenure at USC.  Following that, the Clemson game is the most important.  The Head Ball Coach must find a way to win those two games and finish at 8-4.  A win in Arkansas this weekend stops the bleeding.  Florida will be heavily favored to win when they come to Columbia in two weeks, but Clemson is certainly vulnerable.  The Gamecocks must find a way to beat Arkansas. 

If the Gamecocks don't come out of Fayetteville with a win this weekend, they'll be sitting at 6-4 with the #1-ranked Florida Gators coming to town.  The writing is on the wall.  A loss to the Razorbacks this weekend and the collapse is inevitable.  With a win, Carolina can still salvage the season and make it a success.  I've been calling 9-4 the goal for this season all along.  The Gamecocks are still capable of doing that, but they must right this ship...and fast.

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10-25-2009- Rank the SEC (FOLLOWING WEEK EIGHT)
 
Here at Spurred we're going to continue feature we added last year.  We'll have our own weekly rankings of the SEC following the games every weekend.  Here are the rankings following week eight:
 
[LW] TW) Team (Record)
 
[01] 1) Alabama (8-0):  It seems as if neither Alabama nor Florida want to be #1, but I've got to put somebody up there.  As of right now, the Tide have the more complete team, but they can only hide the ineptitude of McElroy for so long.  They need to get a competent passing game going, and fast.  Alabama has an improving LSU next; a team that may be able to kick field goals over the line.
[02] 2) Florida (7-0): All of a sudden Tim Tebow is human.  And all of a sudden there are some very big games left on the Gators' 'easy' schedule.  The Gators play Georgia next week and have to travel to Columbia in November to face a tough defense.  Maybe people were talking about the the SEC Title game a little too soon?
[03] 3) LSU (6-1): LSU is improving and absolutely throttled Auburn at home last Saturday.  The Tigers control their own destiny.  If they can defeat the Tide this week it could be the Bayou Bengals who end up in Atlanta.
[04] 4) South Carolina (6-2): The Gamecocks held on to defeat Vanderbilt over the weekend.  Carolina racked up over 430 yards of offense while Garcia enjoyed a 300+ yard passing day, but the Gamecocks only managed fourteen points.  This was, in part, due to horrible field position throughout the entire game; starting inside the ten four times is not ideal.  The Gamecocks have a tough test in Knoxville this weekend.  The question still remains: can they finish strong?
[06] 5) Ole Miss (5-2): Houston Nutt and the Rebels used Dexter McCluster properly for the first time all year in the game against Arkansas in my opinion.  The result was a big win.  Jevan Snead looked like the quarterback we all thought he could be coming into the season.  Can the Rebels finish strong and make it back to the Cotton Bowl?
[07] 6) Tennessee (3-4): The Volunteers might have the best sub .500 team in the country.  They, like South Carolina and Ole Miss before them, forced bad throws from Greg McElroy all day.  The difference, Tennessee was able to score a TD and make a game out of it.  The Tide escaped by the skin of their teeth, but the Vols showed that Lane Kiffin might not be as bad of a coach as everyone originally thought.  The South Carolina-Tennessee game next week may be one of the best in the SEC all year long.  How will the Vols react to losing a heartbreaker to the Tide?
[08] 7) Georgia (4-3): All of a sudden, what many thought may be a blowout in Jacksonville is looking like a winnable game for the Dawgs.  They'll have to play their best game of the year and they'll need to get some productivity out of their running game.  This game will have a huge impact on how Dawg fans view the 2009 season.
[05] 8) Arkansas (3-4): After playing so tough in the Swamp the Arkansas defense got burned in Oxford.  This was a key game for both the Rebels and Razorbacks.  The goal for Arkansas now should be bowl eligibility.  South Carolina, Mississippi State, and LSU are all left on the schedule.  These are all winnable games for the Razorbacks, but they're also all loseable games.
[09] 9) Kentucky (4-3): The Wildcats have a key game this weekend against Dan Mullen's Bulldogs.  Mississippi State has played LSU and Florida tough, extremely tough.  If Rich Brooks and co. want a shot at an eight-win season this is a must-win game.
[10] 10) Auburn (5-3): The downward spiral continues for Auburn.  The lack of a defense is killing the Tigers.  Gene Chizik has his work cut out for him with Ole Miss, Georgia, and Alabama all left on the schedule. 
[11] 11) Mississippi State (3-5): Miss State continues to come up just short against some pretty good football teams.  Give Mullen a few years and a quarterback and the Bulldogs could be competing for the SEC West. 
[12] 12) Vanderbilt (2-6): This isn't the same Vanderbilt team that went to a bowl game last year.  The reason why: they lost to South Carolina.  It was close and they fought hard, but the Commodores mustered nearly 200 yards less than the Gamecocks.  They've got Georgia Tech upcoming.

10-25-2009- Spurred Top 25 (Following Week 8)
 
Here at Spurred we've decided to create our own top 25.  We will update it each week following the weekend's football games.  Here is our poll following week eight:
 
[LW] TW) Team Record [Season peak]
 
[01] 01) Florida 7-0 [#1]
[03] 02) Alabama 8-0 [#2]
[03] 03) Texas 7-0 [#2]
[05] 04) TCU 6-0 [#4]
[04] 05) Southern Cal 6-1 [#3]
[06] 06) Cincinatti 7-0 [#6]
[07] 07) Iowa 8-0 [#7]
[08] 08) Boise State 7-0 [#7]
[09] 09) Oklahoma State 6-1 [#4]
[10] 10) Penn State 7-1 [#4]
[11] 11) Georgia Tech 7-1 [#7]
[12] 12) Virginia Tech 5-2 [#4]
[14] 13) LSU 6-1 [#6]
[16] 14) Oregon 6-1 [#9]
[17] 15) Pitt 7-1 [#15]
[18] 16) West Virginia 6-1 [#16]
[19] 17) Ohio State 6-2 [#6]
[21] 18) Houston 5-1 [#18]
[23] 19) South Carolina 6-2 [#18]
[13] 20) Miami 5-2 [#13]
[24] 21) Utah 6-1 [#21]
[25] 22) Oklahoma 4-3 [#3]
[---] 23) Notre Dame 5-2 [#?]
[---] 24) Ole Miss 5-2 [#?]
[15] 25) BYU 6-2 [#10]
 
 
Next 10:
26) Wisconsin (5-2)
27) Kansas (5-2)
28) Clemson (4-3)
29) Georgia (4-3)
30) Arizona (5-2)
31) California (5-2)
32) Kentucky (4-3)
33) South Florida (5-2)
34) Tennessee (3-4)
35) Central Michigan (7-1)
 
Dropped Out: #20 Kansas, #22 Texas Tech

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10-18-2009- Rank the SEC (FOLLOWING WEEK SEVEN)
 
Here at Spurred we're going to continue feature we added last year.  We'll have our own weekly rankings of the SEC following the games every weekend.  Here are the rankings following week seven:
 
[LW] TW) Team (Record)
 
[02] 1) Alabama (7-0):  For the first time this season, I'll put Alabama ahead of the Gators.  The Tide made a lot of mistakes in their game against South Carolina last weekend.  The Gamecock D only allowed the Tide one offensive TD.  Although the offense struggled some, the Tide still looked like a team that will challenge for a National Title.  The running of Ingram continues to get better and better.  The powers that be (mainly ESPN) need to crank up the Heisman hype for this kid.  And that defense is unbelievable.  It may be the best SEC defense in recent memory - even without Hightower.
[01] 2) Florida (6-0): The Gators got the win, but it wasn't pretty.  As the season progresses, we're seeing that this isn't the same Florida team that ripped through the SEC East last season.  The Gators have some very losable games left on the schedule (UGA and at S Carolina being two).  It'll be interesting to see how this team finishes up.
[03] 3) LSU (5-1): We all know UF and Bama are the top two teams in the East, but the battle for third best will be an interesting one to follow as the season enters it's last couple of weeks.  LSU is a team that will compete for the spot, but other teams are certainly capable of taking that title.
[04] 4) South Carolina (5-2): The Gamecocks are one of the teams capable of unseating LSU for the #3 spot in the conference, but can they finish the season strong.  The Gamecocks have had a 5-2 or better record after seven games the last three seasons, but have ended with mediocre records of 8-5, 6-6, and 7-6.  Can they buck the trend, and more importantly, can they end the two-game losing streak to Vandy this weekend?
[05] 5) Arkansas (3-3): Arkansas had the upset in their hands and let it go.  Two missed field goals costed them an upset of #1 in the Swamp.  It would've been very similar to the Ole Miss win in the Swamp last year.  It could've been a nice springboard for the Razorbacks for the rest of the season.  All is not lost, however.  They need to build on the loss.  They have a huge game at Ole Miss this weekend.
[10] 6) Ole Miss (4-2): The Rebels are 4-2 and have a huge game this weekend.  Jevan Snead needs a big game against a quality SEC opponent.  He gets a shot to put the critics to sleep with a big game against Arkansas on Saturday.  If Ole Miss still wants to have an outside shot at the West, they must win against the Razorbacks.
[07] 7) Tennessee (3-3): A bye week for the Volunteers last weekend.  They have a huge game this weekend.  Crompton put up record-numbers against the Dawg defense two weeks ago, but so did South Carolina's Garcia and Arkansas' Mallet.  The Alabama defense is a whole other animal.  This will be a tough test.  We're about to find out just how good a coach Lane Kiffin really is.
[08] 8) Georgia (4-3): Mark Richt needed that comfortable win over Vandy heading into the bye week.  The Dawgs have the Gators next.  Arkansas exposed some weaknesses in that UF team.  Can the Dawgs put together a gameplan to upset Florida and end their National Title hopes?
[09] 9) Kentucky (3-3): Kentucky needed that win in a bad way.  After playing and losing to the conference's top 3 defenses in consecutive weeks, Kentucky needed a win.  It looks like this team could be gearing itself up for another bowl trip.  The Cats now have a four-game stretch of 'should-win' games.  They can be 7-3 going into the matchup with the Dawgs. 
[06] 10) Auburn (5-2): Wow, this team has fallen fast.  Two weeks ago they were challenging to break into the top 3 in the conference, now they're barely in the top 10.  It won't get any easier either.  Chizik has to go to Baton Rouge this weekend and has Ole Miss, Georgia, and Alabama on the schedule after that.
[11] 11) Mississippi State (3-4): Miss State got a nice win over MTSU last weekend.  They get the Florida Gators at home this weekend.  Will Dan Mullen be able to pull off the upset of his former team? 
[12] 12) Vanderbilt (2-5): Vandy played tough against UGA - for a half.  The Dores travel to Columbia this weekend to play the Gamecocks.  Carolina lost a tough one to the Tide last week.  If the Dores catch the Gamecocks napping they could extend the winning streak over Spurrier to three straight.

10-18-2009- Spurred Top 25 (Following Week 7)
 
Here at Spurred we've decided to create our own top 25.  We will update it each week following the weekend's football games.  Here is our poll following week seven:
 
[LW] TW) Team Record [Season peak]
 
[01] 01) Florida 6-0 [#1]
[03] 02) Alabama 7-0 [#2]
[02] 03) Texas 6-0 [#2]
[05] 04) Southern Cal 5-1 [#3]
[08] 05) TCU 6-0 [#5]
[11] 06) Cincinatti 6-0 [#6]
[12] 07) Iowa 7-0 [#7]
[07] 08) Boise State 6-0 [#7]
[09] 09) Oklahoma State 5-1 [#4]
[13] 10) Penn State 6-1 [#4]
[22] 11) Georgia Tech 6-1 [#7]
[04] 12) Virginia Tech 5-2 [#4]
[14] 13) Miami 5-1 [#13]
[15] 14) LSU 5-1 [#6]
[20] 15) BYU 6-1 [#10]
[23] 16) Oregon 5-1 [#9]
[24] 17) Pitt 6-1 [#17]
[25] 18) West Virginia 5-1 [#18]
[06] 19) Ohio State 5-2 [#6]
[10] 20) Kansas 5-2 [#10]
[---] 21) Houston 5-1 [#19]
[---] 22) Texas Tech 5-2 [#22]
[18] 23) South Carolina 5-2 [#18]
[---] 24) Utah 5-1 [#24]
[17] 25) Oklahoma 3-3 [#3]
 
 
Next 10:
26) Notre Dame (5-2)
27) Arkansas (3-3)
28) Ole Miss (4-2)
29) Wisconsin (5-2)
30) South Florida (5-1)
31) Nebraska (4-2)
32) Tennessee (3-3)
33) Georgia (4-3)
34) Michigan (5-2)
35) Kentucky (3-3)
 
Dropped Out: #16 Nebraska, #19 South Florida

10-17-2009- A 'New Carolina?' 
*FRONT PAGE ARTICLE*

The Gamecocks are 5-2.  Sure, they are a couple of redzone plays away from 7-0, but 5-2 is where most realistically optimistic people expected the Gamecocks to be after seven games.  The coming weeks are very big for South Carolina.  The Gamecocks have had trouble finishing strong the last three seasons.  In 2006, Carolina was 5-2 after seven games, just like this year.  They finished with an 8-5 record winning only 3 of their final 6 games.  In 2007, Carolina rushed out to a 6-1 start before losing their final five games to finish at 6-6.  Last year, the Gamecocks reached 5-2 before losing 4 of their final 6 games to finish at 7-6.  In the 'Spurrier Era' at Carolina, after game seven, South Carolina is only 8-14.  Three of those wins came in Spurrier's first season.

The Gamecocks host Vanderbilt this week.  They follow that up with trips to Tennessee and Arkansas before finishing the season out at home with games against Florida and Clemson.  South Carolina can win every game left on the schedule.  They can also lose every game left on the schedule.  This is where the players must step up and prove that the 'new Carolina' motto they've been using all season is for real.

The Gamecocks have a current two-game losing streak to the Vanderbilt Commodores.  This weekend is key for Carolina.  They must find a way to right the ship and beat Vanderbilt for the first time since 2006.  The Gamecocks are the more talented team - by far.  Threre is no reason they should lose to the Commodores this season.  It's a night game in Columbia.  The raucus Gamecock faithful should help will the team to a victory.

The Gamecocks still have a chance to make 2009 that big year Spurrier's been waiting for, but they must take care of business against Vanderbilt.  The 2009 Gamecocks have used the slogan 'new Carolina' as their team theme.  If this really is a 'new Carolina,' the Gamecocks will continue to beat teams they should beat (like Vanderbilt).

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10-11-2009- Rank the SEC (FOLLOWING WEEK SIX)
 
Here at Spurred we're going to continue feature we added last year.  We'll have our own weekly rankings of the SEC following the games every weekend.  Here are the rankings following week six:
 
[LW] TW) Team (Record)
 
[01] 1) Florida (5-0): The two-week 'Tim Tebow Concussion Drama' is over.  Thank goodness.  It was time to get back to football and the Gators did just that Saturday night in Baton Rouge.  The defense was impressive and the offense did enough to get the victory.
[02] 2) Alabama (6-0):  The Tide dominated the Rebels on defense much like the Gamecocks did two weeks ago.  Now, the Tide will host Carolina.  This could be a pesky game for the Tide but one they should win.
[03] 3) LSU (5-1): The LSU defense played well and gave their offense a shot.  That offense has to got to get better.  What was with all of the offsides penalties?
[05] 4) South Carolina (5-1): We've seen this before.  The Gamecocks are capable of starting hot, but can they finish?  We'll find out what type of team they really are in Tuscaloosa this weekend.
[08] 5) Arkansas (3-2): The Razorbacks picked up their first SEC win while exposing Auburn for a team with NO defense.  Will the Razorbacks be able to pull the 'Ole Miss' this season and upset the Gators in the Swamp?  That offense has the firepower.
[04] 6) Auburn (5-1): Auburn got exposed this weekend.  Their defense was pitiful.  Kentucky will be a tough opponent for them.  The Wildcats may even pull off the upset.
[09] 7) Tennessee (3-3): The Volunteers pulled off the biggest surprise on Saturday.  Knocking off the Dawgs was a huge accomplishment for Lane Kiffin.  This is his first signature win in Knoxville.
[06] 8) Georgia (3-3): What happened to Georgia?  The defense is bad.  The offense is inconsistent at best.  This team started off so well, but looks like it may be in for a tough finish.  They'll beat Vanderbilt, but Florida, Auburn, Kentucky, and Georgia Tech will all be tough games.
[11] 9) Kentucky (2-3): Whoever makes the schedule at Kentucky should be shot.  Facing Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, and Auburn in four consecutive weeks is extremely difficult.  The Wildcats competed in Columbia and lost a heartbreaker.  They'll have a real shot at Auburn.  Both teams need this victory.
[07] 10) Ole Miss (3-2): This offense continues to misfire.  Sure the Alabama defense is stout, but three picks against Vandy is inexcusable.  Their defense gave them a shot to defeat the Tide, but turnovers on offense just killed them.
[11] 11) Mississippi State (2-4): Miss State may be the best 2-4 team in the nation.  They've been competitive with everybody.  They may not make a bowl this year, but Dan Mullen may do something special in the coming years.
[12] 12) Vanderbilt (2-4): This isn't the Vandy team of last year.  Losing to Army is unacceptable for an SEC team.  It looks like the Dores won't be able to make a repeat bowl trip this year.

10-11-2009- Spurred Top 25 (Following Week 6)
 
Here at Spurred we've decided to create our own top 25.  We will update it each week following the weekend's football games.  Here is our poll following week six:
 
[LW] TW) Team Record [Season peak]
 
[01] 01) Florida 5-0 [#1]
[02] 02) Texas 5-0 [#2]
[03] 03) Alabama 6-0 [#3]
[05] 04) Virginia Tech 5-1 [#4]
[04] 05) Southern Cal 4-1 [#3]
[06] 06) Ohio State 5-1 [#6]
[07] 07) Boise State 5-0 [#7]
[08] 08) TCU 5-0 [#8]
[09] 09) Oklahoma State 4-1 [#4]
[10] 10) Kansas 5-0 [#10]
[12] 11) Cincinatti 5-0 [#11]
[13] 12) Iowa 6-0 [#12]
[14] 13) Penn State 5-1 [#4]
[15] 14) Miami 4-1 [#11]
[11] 15) LSU 5-1 [#6]
[16] 16) Nebraska 4-1 [#16]
[18] 17) Oklahoma 3-2 [#3]
[19] 18) South Carolina 5-1 [#18]
[20] 19) South Florida 5-0 [#19]
[23] 20) BYU 5-1 [#10]
[24] 21) Notre Dame 5-1 [#20]
[25] 22) Georgia Tech 5-1 [#7]
[---] 23) Oregon 5-1 [#9]
[---] 24) Pitt 5-1 [#24]
[---] 25) West Virginia 4-1 [#25]
 
Next 10:
26) Wisconsin (5-1)
27) Arkansas (3-2)
28) Missouri (4-1)
29) Michigan (4-2)
30) Wake Forest (4-2)
31) Auburn (5-1)
32) Houston (4-1) 
33) Texas Tech (4-2)
34) Tennessee (3-3)
35) Ole Miss (3-2) 
 
Dropped Out: #17 Auburn, #21 Georgia, #22 Ole Miss

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10-05-2009- Rank the SEC (FOLLOWING WEEK FIVE)
 
Here at Spurred we're going to continue feature we added last year.  We'll have our own weekly rankings of the SEC following the games every weekend.  Here are the rankings following week five:
 
[LW] TW) Team (Record)
 
[01] 1) Florida (4-0): A bye week for the Gators. They may get their biggest test of the season this Saturday night in Baton Rouge.
[02] 2) Alabama (5-0): Kentucky kept it close for a half, but Alabama pulled away by capitalizing on turnovers. A huge game that'll help decide the
[03] 3) LSU (5-0): The Bayou Bengals looked a lot more impressive this week. They need to work on their red zone offense, but this team on a Saturday night in Baton Rouge could give UF a run for their money.
[06] 4) Auburn (5-0): Auburn got a big win on the road against Tennessee. They've also got a 5-0 record. They deserve a top 25 ranking for sure.
[05] 5) South Carolina (4-1): South Carolina did what it needed to do and put a lesser opponent away while getting some of the younger guys some reps like QB Reid McCollum. If the Gamecocks are to have a big season this year they MUST beat Kentucky at home this weekend.
[04] 6) Georgia (3-2): Georgia finally lost a close game. They have a big game in Knoxville this week and MUST respond to the LSU loss with a win.
[07] 7) Ole Miss (3-1): The Rebels took the first step towards recovering from the loss in Columbia, but Jevan Snead still hasn't played to expectations. Three picks against this week against Alabama won't cut it.
[10] 8) Arkansas (2-2): The Razorbacks needed that win against Texas A&M. Hopefully, that offense picked up a little bit of confidence. They need to start getting some SEC wins though.
[08] 9) Tennessee (2-3): The Volunteers look like they could be in for a long season. Starting out 0-2 in the conference is not how Lane Kiffin imagined his first year. With Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and Ole Miss left on the schedule, bowl eligibility is looking less likely this season.
[09] 10) Mississippi State (2-3): Turnovers cost the Bulldogs the game against Ga. Tech. They lost be eleven, but turned the ball over five times. They need to play smarter football, and they'll have a chance to win some games.
[11] 11) Kentucky (2-2): Did anyone honestly see Kentucky knocking off the Gators or the Tide? Probably not, but the Wildcats have a huge opportunity this week. They can compete with South Carolina. They need a win.
[12] 12) Vanderbilt (2-3): Vandy was unable to take advantage of the three interceptions thrown by Jevan Snead. It looks like the Dores won't be going to back-to-back bowl games.

10-05-2009- Spurred Top 25 (Following Week 5)
 
Here at Spurred we've decided to create our own top 25.  We will update it each week following the weekend's football games.  Here is our poll following week five:
 
[LW] TW) Team Record [Season peak]
 
[01] 01) Florida 4-0 [#1]
[02] 02) Texas 4-0 [#2]
[03] 03) Alabama 5-0 [#3]
[05] 04) Southern Cal 4-1 [#3]
[04] 05) Virginia Tech 4-1 [#04]
[06] 06) Ohio State 4-1 [#6]
[07] 07) Boise State 5-0 [#7]
[08] 08) TCU 4-0 [#8]
[09] 09) Oklahoma State 3-1 [#4]
[11] 10) Kansas 4-0 [#10]
[15] 11) LSU 5-0 [#6]
[14] 12) Cincinatti 5-0 [#12]
[12] 13) Iowa 5-0 [#12]
[13] 14) Penn State 4-1 [#4]
[21] 15) Miami 3-1 [#11]
[18] 16) Nebraska 3-1 [#16]
[23] 17) Auburn 5-0 [#17]
[10] 18) Oklahoma 2-2 [#3]
[20] 19) South Carolina 4-1 [#19]
[22] 20) South Florida 5-0 [#20]
[16] 21) Georgia 3-2 [#16]
[24] 22) Ole Miss 3-1 [#5]
[---] 23) BYU 4-1 [#10]
[---] 24) Notre Dame 4-1 [#20]
[---] 25) Georgia Tech 4-1 [#7]
 
Next 10:
26) Wisconsin (5-0)
27) Stanford (4-1)
28) Arkansas (2-2)
29) Missouri (4-0)
30) Oregon (4-1)
31) Michigan (4-1)
32) Wake Forest (3-2)
33) Pitt (4-1)
34) Houston (3-1) 
35) Texas Tech (3-2)
 
Dropped Out: #17 Califnornia, #19 Houston, #25 Michigan

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10-05-2009- Big Opportunities
*FRONT PAGE ARTICLE*

The Gamecocks are 4-1.  Sure, they are seven more yards away from 5-0, but for this young team 4-1 is a very good record.  It trumps last year's record of 3-2 the Gamecocks had after the first five games.  The next two weeks are very big for South Carolina.  Steve Spurrier's squad debuted in the AP top 25 this week for the first time this season.  Historically, the Gamecocks have had troube maintaining that 'ranked status' for more than a week.  In 2008, the Gamecocks jumped to #24 after thrashing NC State 34-0 to open the season.  They responded with a shocking loss to Vanderbilt the next week.  The 2008 squad also achieved a ranking of #24 after beating Arkansas and improving to 7-3 late in the season.  The Gamecocks would fall out the next week after a 56-6 debacle in Gainesville.

This week, South Carolina faces Kentucky.  The Gamecocks have won nine straight against the Wildcats.  Thing is, six of those nine wins have come by seven points or less.  This is a huge opportunity for South Carolina; a team that's still in the thick of things in the SEC East (especially if LSU can get the win over UF this weekend in Baton Rouge).  A win over Kentucky would improve Carolina to 5-1 (2-1 in the SEC).  This year the players have been preaching a 'new Carolina' theme.  If this really is a 'new Carolina,' the Gamecocks will do what they need to do and win Saturday. 

A trip to Tuscaloosa to face the third ranked Alabama Crimson Tide looms on the schedule after the matchup with Kentucky this Saturday.  Should the Gamecocks beat the Wildcats, Carolina will be going down to Tuscaloosa to make a statement.  If the Gamecocks can improve on redzone offense and play tough defense like they did against Ole Miss, they've got a shot to be competitive with Alabama.

Should Carolina win both games, they'll cement themselves as a contender for the conference title this year.  If this really is a 'new Carolina,' the Gamecocks will knock off an inferior opponent this weekend.  If this really is a 'new Carolina,' the Gamecocks will respond well to a top 25 ranking.  If this really is a 'new Carolina,' the Gamecocks will do more than compete with the elite in this conference, they'll win.

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09-27-2009- Rank the SEC (FOLLOWING WEEK FOUR)
 
Here at Spurred we're going to continue feature we added last year.  We'll have our own weekly rankings of the SEC following the games every weekend.  Here are the rankings following week four:
 
[LW] TW) Team (Record)
 
[01] 1) Florida (4-0): Everything was going according to planned until Tim Tebow came out in the third quarter with a concussion.  Luckily for the Gators, it wasn't any worse.  Maybe it won't take as long for Urban to start benching 'superman' once they get big leads now.
[02] 2) Alabama (4-0): How impressive was Alabama in their 35-7 slashing of Arkansas?  Extremely impressive.  That defense is for real.
[04] 3) LSU (4-0): LSU survives a HUGE scare against Miss State.  What happened to this team?  What happened to defense?  What happened to rushing offense?  The Bayou Bengals better get their problems fixed before UF comes to town.
[05] 4) Georgia (3-1): Big win over ASU for the Dawgs.  Many people looked at UGA's schedule before the season started and questioned whether they'd be able to get out of September with two wins.  They've gone 3-1.
[07] 5) South Carolina (3-1):  A big win for South Carolina against Ole Miss last Thursday.  The Gamecocks' D is ferocious.  It'll keep them in some games this season.  Could this finally be the big year Spurrier has been waiting on?
[06] 6) Auburn (4-0): Auburn is 4-0 but only beat another creampuff this weekend.  That defense looks a little suspect.  Huge contest in Knoxville this coming weekend.  We'll find out a lot about both teams.
[03] 7) Ole Miss (2-1): The Rebels were unable to move the ball against a stout South Carolina D.  Jevan Snead's stats from the game are horrendous.  Can the Rebs get their offense rolling again by the time Alabama comes to town?
[08] 8) Tennessee (2-2): Tennessee won Saturday night but looked bad doing it.  They could never really pull away from Ohio.  The running game was stalled until late in the third quarter.  The Vols have a huge game this Saturday against Auburn that may set the tone for the rest of the season.
[11] 09) Mississippi State (2-2): Dan Mullen nearly pulled off a HUGE victory in Stark-vegas on Saturday but came up just shy (about a yard shy to be exact).  However, this team shows it has some fight.  A bowl game might not be out of reach for the Bulldogs.
[10] 10) Arkansas (1-2): Arkansas got blown out in Tuscaloosa.  They are a decent team, but their 0-2 SEC start earns them this ranking.
[09] 11) Kentucky (2-1): The Gators blasted the Wildcats.  How will they respond next week?
[12] 12) Vanderbilt (2-2): Vandy rolled over Rice, but is still winless in conference play.  They host a Mississippi team that struggled at South Carolina.  This could be a key game for both teams.

09-27-2009- Spurred Top 25 (Following Week 4)
 
Here at Spurred we've decided to create our own top 25.  We will update it each week following the weekend's football games.  Here is our poll following week four:
 
[LW] TW) Team Record [Season peak]
 
[01] 01) Florida 4-0 [#1]
[02] 02) Texas 4-0 [#2]
[03] 03) Alabama 4-0 [#3]
[12] 04) Virginia Tech 3-1 [#04]
[15] 05) Southern Cal 3-1 [#3]
[08] 06) Ohio State 3-1 [#6]
[09] 07) Boise State 3-0 [#7]
[10] 08) TCU 3-0 [#8]
[13] 09) Oklahoma State 3-1 [#4]
[14] 10) Oklahoma 2-1 [#3]
[16] 11) Kansas 4-0 [#11]
[20] 12) Iowa 4-0 [#12]
[04] 13) Penn State 3-1 [#4]
[18] 14) Cincinatti 4-0 [#14]
[07] 15) LSU 4-0 [#6]
[19] 16) Georgia 3-1 [#16]
[05] 17) California 3-1 [#5]
[21] 18) Nebraska 3-1 [#17]
[22] 19) Houston 3-0 [#19] 
[---] 20) South Carolina 3-1 [#20]
[11] 21) Miami 2-1 [#11]
[---] 22) South Florida 4-0 [#22]
[---] 23) Auburn 4-0 [#23]
[06] 24) Ole Miss 2-1 [#5]
[24] 25) Michigan 3-0 [#24]
 
Next 10:
26) BYU (3-1)
27) Notre Dame (3-1)
28) Georgia Tech (3-1)
29) North Carolina (3-1)
30) NC State (3-1)
31) Stanford (3-1)
32) Washington (2-2)
33) Tennessee (2-2)
34) Georgia Tech (3-1)
35) Texas Tech (2-2)
 
Dropped Out: #17 North Carolina, #23 Washington, #25 BYU

09-20-2009- Rank the SEC (FOLLOWING WEEK THREE)
 
Here at Spurred we're going to continue feature we added last year.  We'll have our own weekly rankings of the SEC following the games every weekend.  Here are the rankings following week three:
 
[LW] TW) Team (Record)
 
[01] 1) Florida (3-0): It was tougher than many thought it would be.  The Vols gave the Gators a contest and proved that Urban, Tim and co. are indeed beatable this season.
[02] 2) Alabama (3-0): For the second week in a row, Alabama has rolled over a creampuff.  How will the Tide look in their first SEC game this weekend?
[03] 3) Ole Miss (2-0): The the second time in two weeks, the Rebels crushed an inferior opponent.  The real test comes on Thursday night at Carolina.  How will they fare against an SEC team in a hostile environment?
[04] 4) LSU (3-0): That win over Washington looks a little bit more impressive now.  This LSU team seems to be improving every week. 
[05] 5) Georgia (2-1): Many were calling for the upset at Arkansas this past weekend.  The Dawg D may not finish highly ranked this year, but the offense can certainly carry this team.
[07] 6) Auburn (3-0): This is where it gets tricky.  Carolina, Auburn, Tennessee, Arkansas and Kentucky have all started off pretty well and all could have big seasons, but since Auburn is still undefeated (with a conference win) they deserve the nod over the other two.
[06] 7) South Carolina (2-1):  We'll find out if South Carolina is for real this Thursday night against Ole Miss.  If Garcia and co. can put it all together, the Gamecocks have a big chance to make a statement on national TV.
[08] 8) Tennessee (1-2): Are there moral victories?  Maybe there are, but the fact is, the Vols are 1-2.  They could end up having a big year and will probably beat two or three of the teams ranked ahead of them right now, but at this point I can't justify moving them up.
[10] 9) Kentucky (2-0): A big win over a poor Louisville team.  How will the Wildcats fare when they host the Gators this week? 
[09] 10) Arkansas (1-2): Arkansas had all offseason to prepare for Georgia and allowed the Bulldogs astronomical numbers on defense.  The offense looked good, but that defense needs some improvement.
[12] 11) Mississippi State (2-1): Dan Mullen didn't have to wait long for his first SEC victory.  The defense looked stout only allowing a putrid Vandy offense 3 points.
[11] 12) Vanderbilt (1-2): It doesn't appear this Vandy team will recapture last season's magic that led to a bowl victory.  The offense is downright bad.

09-20-2009- Spurred Top 25 (Following Week 3)
 
Here at Spurred we've decided to create our own top 25.  We will update it each week following the weekend's football games.  Here is our poll following week three:
 
[LW] TW) Team Record [Season peak]
 
[01] 01) Florida 3-0 [#1]
[02] 02) Texas 3-0 [#2]
[04] 03) Alabama 3-0 [#3]
[05] 04) Penn State 3-0 [#4]
[06] 05) California 3-0 [#5]
[08] 06) Ole Miss 2-0 [#5]
[09] 07) LSU 3-0 [#6]
[11] 08) Ohio State 2-1 [#7]
[12] 09) Boise State 3-0 [#9]
[13] 10) TCU 2-0 [#10]
[---] 11) Miami 2-0 [#11]
[14] 12) Virginia Tech 2-1 [#12]
[15] 13) Oklahoma State 2-1 [#4]
[16] 14) Oklahoma 2-1 [#3]
[04] 15) Southern Cal 2-1 [#3]
[17] 16) Kansas 3-0 [#16]
[19] 17) North Carolina 3-0 [#17]
[21] 18) Cincinatti 3-0 [#18]
[22] 19) Georgia 2-1 [#18]
[20] 20) Iowa 3-0 [#20]
[17] 21) Nebraska 2-1 [#17]
[24] 22) Houston 2-0 [#22]
[---] 23) Washington 2-1 [#23]
[25] 24) Michigan 3-0 [#24]
[10] 25) BYU 2-1 [#10]
 
Next 10:
26) Notre Dame (2-1)
27) Auburn (3-0)
28) South Carolina (2-1)
29) Florida State (2-1)
30) Tennessee (1-2)
31) Pittsburgh (3-0)
32) Arkansas (1-1)
33) Kentucky (2-0)
34) Georgia Tech (2-1)
35) Clemson (2-1)
 
Dropped Out: #7 Georgia Tech, #23 Oregon State

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09-04-2009- Rank the SEC (FOLLOWING WEEK TWO)
 
Here at Spurred we're going to continue feature we added last year.  We'll have our own weekly rankings of the SEC following the games every weekend.  Here are the rankings following week two:
 
[LW] TW) Team (Record)
 
[01] 1) Florida (2-0): It's Tennessee game week.  We're about to see how good Florida really is against a pretty good defense.
[02] 2) Alabama (2-0): Alabama rolled over FIU.  Another creampuff next week in North Texas.  Arkansas provides a challenge in two weeks.
[03] 3) Ole Miss (1-0): The swine flu won this week's matchup.  Lucky for the Rebels they had a bye week.
[04] 4) LSU (2-0): A good conference win over a scrappy Vanderbilt team.
[05] 5) Georgia (1-1): In an unexpected shootout, the Dawgs came out on top.  A good win for Georgia.  What will a road trip to Arkansas bring this week?
[06] 6) South Carolina (1-1): The defense was a thing of beauty in the first game.  In the second game it was the offense.  If this team can put both together they'll be hard to beat.
[11] 7) Auburn (2-0): Auburn sent a strong message with a blowout win over conference foe Mississippi State.  Has their offense finally started to turn the corner?
[07] 8) Tennessee (1-1): After running up the score against WKU in week one, the Vols offense looked putrid at best against UCLA.  Can the Vols' defense give the Gators a scare this week?
[08] 9) Arkansas (1-0): Bye week.  The Razorbacks have a huge game against UGA this weekend. 
[09] 10) Kentucky (1-0): One of a couple teams with a bye week.
[10] 11) Vanderbilt (1-1): A win in Death Valley at night is very difficult, but a win at home against Mississippi State is a must if Bobby Johnson wants to go bowling again this season.
[12] 12) Mississippi State (1-1): In Dan Mullen's first SEC game as the MSU Head Coach the Bulldogs got blown out. This was to be expected this season.  The key is showing improvement from week to week in order to build on this season for 2010.

09-14-2009- Spurred Top 25 (Following Week 2)
 
Here at Spurred we've decided to create our own top 25.  We will update it each week following the weekend's football games.  Here is our poll following week two:
 
[LW] TW) Team Record [Season peak]
 
[01] 01) Florida 2-0 [#1]
[02] 02) Texas 2-0 [#2]
[04] 03) Southern Cal 2-0 [#3]
[05] 04) Alabama 2-0 [#4]
[06] 05) Penn State 2-0 [#5]
[07] 06) California 2-0 [#6]
[09] 07) Georgia Tech 2-0 [#7]
[10] 08) Ole Miss 1-0 [#5]
[11] 09) LSU 2-0 [#6]
[12] 10) BYU 2-0 [#10]
[08] 11) Ohio State 1-1 [#7]
[13] 12) Boise State 2-0 [#12]
[14] 13) TCU 1-0 [#13]
[15] 14) Virginia Tech 1-1 [#12]
[04] 15) Oklahoma State 1-1 [#4]
[16] 16) Oklahoma 1-1 [#3]
[17] 17) Kansas 2-0 [#17]
[18] 18) Nebraska 2-0 [#18]
[19] 19) North Carolina 2-0 [#19]
[21] 20) Iowa 2-0 [#20]
[22] 21) Cincinatti 2-0 [#21]
[24] 22) Georgia 0-1 [#18]
[23] 23) Oregon State 2-0 [#23]
[---] 24) Houston 2-0 [#24]
[---] 25) Michigan 2-0 [#25]
 
Next 10:
26) Notre Dame (1-1)
27) Miami (1-0)
28) Utah (2-0)
29) South Carolina (1-1)
30) Florida State (1-1)
31) Auburn (2-0)
32) Syracuse (1-1)
33) Pittsburgh (2-0)
34) Arkansas (1-0)
35) Boston College (2-0)
 
Dropped Out: #20 Notre Dame, #25 Michigan State

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09-14-2009- Offensive Awakening
*FRONT PAGE ARTICLE*
 
In week one, the 2009 Gamecocks relied heavily on their defense to defeat NC State.  Saturday in Athens, South Carolina began showing signs of a potent offense.  The Gamecocks lost a heartbreaker to the Bulldogs but racked up astronomical offensive statistics in the process.  Earlier in the week, Spurrier siad that this team wasn't capable of passing the ball fifty times.  Against Georgia, Stephen Garcia attempeted 53 passes; tying a school record for attempts in a single game. 
 
Steve Spurrier's offense racked up nearly 430 yards in Athens.  This is the highest point total and offensive output since 2007.  Although the Gamecocks lost 41-37, there were many encouraging sings that Carolina can build on.  Improvement from week to week is paramount in college football.  If this team can correct mistakes and tweak the red-zone offense it can compete with anyone.
 
This week, South Carolina is hosting Florida Atlantic in its home-opener.  Garcia must continue to play well and build on what he did in Athens.  Following the Owls, the Gamecocks play host to #5 Ole Miss in a Thurday night ESPN-televised match up.  That game is very winnable for South Carolina and could be a key game if the Gamecocks want to have that big year fans have been waiting on.
 
After seeing this team play the first couple weeks, it's evident that the talent is there.  South Carolina must continue to get better and a 9-3 season isn't out of the question.  They'll have to stay focused and take them one at a time, but with the recent performance of Garcia and the offense there is hope.

09-07-2009- Rank the SEC (FOLLOWING WEEK ONE)
 
Here at Spurred we're going to continue feature we added last year.  We'll have our own weekly rankings of the SEC following the games every weekend.  Here are the rankings following week one:
 
[LW] TW) Team (Record)
 
[01] 1) Florida (1-0): It's hard to get a feel for how good a team is when they play Charleston Southern.  Florida's first real test will be Tennessee in two weeks.
[04] 2) Alabama (1-0): An impressive performance by the Crimson Tide in Atlanta.  They probably had the most impressive showing of any SEC team on opening weekend. 
[02] 3) Ole Miss (1-0): Jevan Snead was very average against a Memphis team he probably should've thrived against.  We'll find out how good the Rebels really are this year when they travel to Columbia to face Ellis Johnson's Gamecock Defense.
[03] 4) LSU (1-0): In a closer game than many expected, LSU held off Washington.  Are they ripe for an upset from Vandy?
[05] 5) Georgia (0-1): An ugly offensive showing for the Dawgs over the weekend.  They'll need to improve a great deal or South Carolina's D will win the game in Athens this weekend.
[06] 6) South Carolina (1-0): The South Carolina defense was excellent in a 7-3 win on the road against NC State.  The offense left some points on the field and was inable to score inside the red zone.  That must be fixed if the Gamecocks want to upset Georgia in Athens.
[09] 7) Tennessee (1-0): An impressive 63-7 win in the opener for the Vols, but it was against a team that went 2-10 in 2008 and has 50+ freshmen on this year's roster.  Can the Vols light it up on offense against tougher opponents?  We'll find out when the Vols travel down to Gainesville Sept 19th.
[07] 8) Arkansas (1-0): A nice start for the Razorbacks.  Like many of the SEC teams, Arkansas faced a creampuff.  We'll learn more about their team in the coming weeks.
[11] 9) Kentucky (1-0): The Wildcats posted an impressive shutout victory over a decent team in Miami (Ohio).
[10] 10) Vanderbilt (1-0): Probably the most lopsided victory for the Commodores in quite a while.  The 45-0 score was impressive, but it was Western Carolina.  What can Vandy do against tougher opponents.
[08] 11) Auburn (1-0): The Tigers were in a close ball game with La. Tech at halftime, but pulled away in the second half.  How will they fare in the SEC?
[12] 12) Mississippi State (1-0): Dan Mullen's offense scored often in the 45-7 drubbing of Jackson State, but like many of the other SEC teams (not named Alabama, South Carolina, or Georgia), can they have the same success against tougher opponents?

09-06-2009- Spurred Top 25 (Following Week 1)
 
Here at Spurred we've decided to create our own top 25.  We will update it each week following the weekend's football games.  Here is our poll following week one:
 
[LW] TW) Team Record [Season peak]
 
[01] 01) Florida 1-0 [#1]
[02] 02) Texas 1-0 [#2]
[04] 03) Southern Cal 1-0 [#3]
[08] 04) Oklahoma State 1-0 [#4]
[10] 05) Alabama 1-0 [#5]
[11] 06) Penn State 1-0 [#6]
[13] 07) California 1-0 [#7]
[07] 08) Ohio State 1-0 [#7]
[14] 09) Georgia Tech 1-0 [#9]
[05] 10) Ole Miss 1-0 [#5]
[06] 11) LSU 1-0 [#6]
[---] 12) BYU 1-0 [#12]
[15] 13) Boise State 1-0 [#13]
[16] 14) TCU 0-0 [#14]
[12] 15) Virginia Tech [#12]
[03] 16) Oklahoma 0-1 [#3]
[17] 17) Kansas 1-0 [#17]
[19] 18) Nebraska 1-0 [#18]
[21] 19) North Carolina 1-0 [#19]
[---] 20) Notre Dame 1-0 [#20]
[20] 21) Iowa 1-0 [#20]
[23] 22) Cincinatti 1-0 [#22]
[24] 23) Oregon State 1-0 [#23]
[18] 24) Georgia 0-1 [#18]
[---] 25) Michigan State 1-0 [#25]
 
Next 10:
26) Syracuse
27) Florida State
28) Utah
29) Pittsburgh
30) South Carolina
31) Tennessee
32) Arkansas
33) Boston College
34) Kentucky
35) Oregon
 
Dropped Out: #9 Oregon, #22 Florida State, #25 Rutgers

09-04-2009- Dominant Defense
*FRONT PAGE ARTICLE*
 
The first game has come and gone.  For the second year in a row, South Carolina relied heavily on its defense to defeat NC State on national television in a season opener.  With the victory, the Gamecocks snapped a 3-game losing streak that concluded last season.  Coach Steve Spurrier said time and time again in the preseason that South Carolina had an unkown team.  He also mentioned that none of the coaches really knew what to expect out of the young group.  One thing in particular is very evident:  the Gamecock defense hasn't lost a step.
 
South Carolina finished 13th in the nation in total defense in 2008.  In last season's opener, the Gamecocks allowed NC State 138 yards.  This season, the defensive unit allowed only 133; and that's with a healthy Russel Wilson running the Wolfpack offense the entire game.  Eric Norwood, Cliff Matthews, DeVonte Holloman, Devin Taylor, and Stephon Gilmore are just some of the players that stood out tonight for the Gamecock defense. 
 
Offensively, seven points is never acceptable.  However, the Gamecock offense was able to move the ball.  Carolina's run blocking was much improved over last season.  The Gamecocks also took better care of the football in the 2009 version of this game.  In the 2008 season opener South Carolina turned the ball over six times.  The offense only committed one turnover in this year's game. 
 
Stephen Garcia completed 13-22 attempts for 148 yards.  The sophomore committed the only turnover with a third-quarter interception.  The performance wasn't stellar, but it wasn't bad either.  It's certainly something to build on.  Aside from the underthrown pass that led in the lone pick, Garcia was on target for most of the night.  He directed the offense without many penalties. 
 
If the Gamecocks can improve on their red zone offense, this team has a chance to be dangerous.  The defense, should they stay healthy, will keep them in most games.  The key is improvement from week to week.  They say teams usually improve the most from the first week to the second week.  The Gamecocks will certainly need an improved performance in Athens next week to have a chance.

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08-16-2009- A Lot to Prove
*FRONT PAGE ARTICLE*
 
As preseason camp reaches the midway point it is evident that the national media has very little hope for the Gamecocks in 2009.  Phil Steele, Althon Sports, and Sports Illustrated have all released their 2009 college football previews.  All three publications leave South Carolina out of the top 50.  Sports Illustrated calls for the Gamecocks to finish 5-7.
 
Does the national perception of Gamecock football bother Spurrier?  No, not at all.  In fact, Spurrier is using it to his advantage.  The Gamecocks are four point underdogs in their opening game at NC State; a team that the Gamecocks beat 34-0 in Columbia last season.  He's using this to motivate his team.
 
"We're underdogs against NC State.  Our team knows that too. Nobody thinks we're worth a crap. So they know that, I've told them and we'll keep telling them until they earn any respect around this country. We're a rag-tag bunch right now. Hopefully we can prove to be better than that," Spurrier said.
 
The negative perception of Gamecock football is certainly understandable. Coach Spurrier is heading into his fifth season as head coach of the Gamecocks and has yet to have a solid leader at quarterback.  If Garcia turns out to be that guy, the Gamecocks could produce a big year; the type of year that Spurrier and many Gamecock fans have been waiting on.  With a 28-22 record to show for his first four years in Columbia, many are saying that Steve Spurrier won't be able to achieve his goal of an SEC Title at Carolina.  It's becoming evident that the Gamecocks need to make a move soon.
 
The 2009 Gamecock squad is probably one of the most talented in school history yet national expectations are at their lowest point since 2005.  It's time for Spurrier's coaching prowess to shine through.  The Gamecocks must do no worse than 8-4 in 2009.   USC most also become more competitive with their instate rival; that means winning the game in late November.  Without a significant improvement over last year's 7-6 record, Coach Spurrier may lose any recruiting momentum that he picked up with the hiring of new assistant coaches this past offseason. 

07-07-2009- Spurred Top 25 (Preseason)
 
Here at Spurred we've decided to create our own top 25.  We will update it each week following the weekend's football games.  Here is our preaseason poll:
 
[LW] TW) Team Record [Season peak]
 
[--] 01) Florida 0-0 [#1]
[--] 02) Texas 0-0 [#2]
[--] 03) Oklahoma 0-0 [#3]
[--] 04) Southern Cal 0-0 [#4]
[--] 05) Ole Miss 0-0 [#5]
[--] 06) LSU 0-0 [#6]
[--] 07) Ohio State 0-0 [#7]
[--] 08) Oklahoma State 0-0 [#8]
[--] 09) Oregon 0-0 [#9]
[--] 10) Alabama 0-0 [#10]
[--] 11) Penn State 0-0 [#11]
[--] 12) Virginia Tech 0-0 [#12]
[--] 13) Cal 0-0 [#13]
[--] 14) Georgia Tech 0-0 [#14]
[--] 15) Boise State 0-0 [#15]
[--] 16) TCU 0-0 [#16]
[--] 17) Kansas 0-0 [#17]
[--] 18) Georgia 0-0 [#18]
[--] 19) Nebraska 0-0 [#19]
[--] 20) Iowa 0-0 [#20]
[--] 21) North Carolina 0-0 [#21]
[--] 22) Florida State 0-0 [#22]
[--] 23) Cincinatti 0-0 [#23]
[--] 24) Oregon State 0-0 [#24]
[--] 25) Rutgers 0-0 [#25]
 
Keep an eye out for: Arkansas, Clemson, Illinois, Miami, Michigan State, Minnesota, NC State, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Wake Forest
 
**SEC teams in BOLD/RED

06-06-2009- Rank the SEC (PRESEASON)
 
Here at Spurred we're going to continue feature we added last year.  We'll have our own weekly rankings of the SEC following the games every weekend.  Here are the preseason football rankings for the 2009 season:
 
1) Florida (0-0): The Gators return nearly everybody from their National Championship team from a year ago.  After losing to Ole Miss at home last season, the Gators won their remaining eight regular season games by an avg. score of 52-12.  It's hard to go undefeated in the SEC, but the Gators have a real chance with this team.
2) Ole Miss (0-0): This is the best Ole Miss team since the Manning Days.  The schedule sets up nicely and if anyone's going to give Florida a run for their money, it'll be the Ole Miss Rebels.
3) LSU (0-0): This is a very key season for Les Miles.  He needs to prove his own coaching prowess.  He did very well with Nick Saban's players winning the 2007 National Championship, but can he do it with his own players.  There is too much talent on the Tiger sideline to have another 8-5 season.  The Peach Bowl performance gives LSU fans hope, but can they carry that over into the 2009 season?
4) Alabama (0-0): The Crimson Tide ended a great season a down note with a thumping from Utah in the Sugar Bowl.  The Tide lose veteran QB John Parker Wilson and some key players on the OL, but also return a lot of talent.  Alabama will challenge Ole Miss, but some key losses along the OL will cause them to lose a couple of games.
5) Georgia (0-0): The Dawgs lost some key players on offense in QB Matthew Stafford and RB Knowshon Moreno, but they retain AJ Green.  With Florida ruling the East it should be another 8-4, 9-3 type year for the Dawgs.
6) South Carolina (0-0): It's put up or shut up time in Columbia for the Head Ball Coach.  Spurrier has confidence in QB Stephen Garcia, but can that translate to wins?  Can the offense finally get its act together?  Spurrier needs a big year at Carolina.  This team is capable of a 9-3 type season, but they're also capable of 6-6 or worse. 
7) Arkansas (0-0): The Razorbacks could be a surprise team in the conference much like Ole Miss was last year.  They will be fighting a tough schedule though. Arkansas has to play at Alabama, at Texas A&M, at Florida, at Mississippi, and at LSU.  The Razorbacks will definitely make a bowl this year, but with that schedule they won't do much more. 
8) Auburn (0-0): Auburn had a down year last year.  The Tigers should be improved a little bit, but they won't be able to touch the trio at the top of the West (Ole Miss, LSU, Alabama).  Their defense should keep them in games.
9) Tennessee (0-0): Lane Kiffin has a big mouth, but can he coach?  In my opinion, the Vols won't make a bowl.  Coach Kiffin has been writing checks with his mouth that his team just can't cash...yet.
10) Vanderbilt (0-0): Bobby Johnson got his squad to a bowl game last year.  Will he be able to do it again? 
11) Kentucky (0-0): The unbelieveable strength of the SEC is evident when examining the worst teams in the league.  Kentucky and MSU are heads and shoulders over the cellar dwelling teams of the 1990s.  I wouldn't be surprised to see the Wildcats in a bowl game for the fourth consecutive year.
12) Mississippi State (0-0): The Dawgs made a great hire in Dan Mullen.  Can he make a huge impact in his first year? 

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06-04-2009- Into the Summer
*FRONT PAGE ARTICLE*
 
There are around three months left until kickoff, but more importantly, there are two months left until the Gamecock football team starts preseason practice.  The next two months are instrumental in the development of the Gamecock offense.  Coach Spurrier has made it no secret that the Gamecocks are putting all of their 'quarterback eggs' in one basket.  The success of the 'Steve Spurrier Era' in Columbia hinges on the maturity and growth of Stephen Garcia as a quarterback.
 
Stephen Garcia has been a high-profile figure ever since his arrival in Columbia in January, 2007.  But due to off-the-field issues Garcia just completed his first Spring in Columbia; he was suspended during the previous two.
 
"It was helpful (him being around for spring), but he's still got a long way to go and he needs to have a real good summer," Spurrier said.  "Summer is two months.  Spring practice is only 15 practices.  You've got two months, June and July, to throw the ball around, lift, work out with your teammates, all that kind of stuff."
 
Coach Spurrier is heading into his fifth season as head coach of the Gamecocks and has yet to have a solid leader at quarterback.  Spurrier hope's Garcia is that guy.  With a 28-22 record to show for his first four years in Columbia, many are saying that Steve Spurrier won't be able to achieve his goal of an SEC Title at Carolina.  It's becoming evident that the Gamecocks need to make a move soon.
 
There should be no more excuses.  The 2009 Gamecock squad is probably one of the most talented in school history.  It's time for Spurrier's coaching prowess to shine through.  The Gamecocks must do no worse than 8-4 in 2009.   USC most also become more competitive with their instate rival; that means winning the game in late November.  Without a significant improvement over last year's 7-6 record, Coach Spurrier may lose any recruiting momentum that he picked up with the hiring of new assistant coaches this past offseason. 
 
It's do or die time for Coach Steve Spurrier.  As we enter the 'dog days of summer,'  it's evident that the Gamecocks have the potential to be nationally relevent and competitive in their division next year, but it'll be up to Stephen Garcia and the Gamecocks to prove their worth in the weight room and practice field during these next few months. 

05/09/2009- The 2000s (REVISITED) 
 

In October we posted the SEC records for this decade.  We revisit and update these records to include numbers from last season.  Take a look at the numbers below:

 

Overall Record Since 2000:

1) Georgia (90-26) (.775)

2) LSU (90-27) (.769)
3) Florida (87-29) (.750)

4) Auburn (80-34) (.701)
5) Tennessee (76-38) (.666)
6) Alabama (65-48) (.575)
7) Arkansas (63-49) (.562)
8) South Carolina (61-48) (.559)
9) Ole Miss (54-54) (.500)
10) Kentucky (43-64) (.401)
11) Mississippi State (37-69) (.349)
12) Vanderbilt (32-73) (.304)

 

SEC Record Since 2000:

1) Florida (53-19) (.736)

2) Georgia (51-21) (.708)

3) LSU (50-22) (.694)

4) Auburn (49-23) (.680)
5) Tennessee (47-25) (.652)
6) Alabama (38-34) (.527)

7) South Carolina (34-38) (.472)

7) Arkansas (34-38) (.472)
9) Ole Miss (29-43) (.402)
10) Mississippi State (17-55) (.236)
10) Kentucky (17-55) (.236)
12) Vanderbilt (13-59) (.180)

 

**Records were compiled after the 2008 season

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02-13-2009- SEC Standings Since Spurrier's Arrival at Carolina
 
1) Florida (24-8)
2) Georgia (22-10)
3) Tennessee (17-15)
4) South Carolina (15-17)
5) Vanderbilt (11-21)
6) Kentucky (10-22)
 
**Records are the combined records of each team in the SEC from 2005-2008.
 
In looking at these numbers, the most surprising thing to me is that Kentucky is last behind Vanderbilt.  The second thing I see when I look at the standings is that South Carolina is still fourth in the SEC.  Coach Spurrier was brought here to change this.  It hasn't changed.  Besides an upset here and there, we haven't truly challenged "the big three" in the SEC East...yet. 
 
In my opinion, Coach Spurrier and the Gamecocks need to make a serious move in 2009 towards the top.  They need to finish no worse than 3rd in the East.  With Georgia losing Matthew Stafford and Knoshon Moreno and the recent stupidity of new Tennessee Coach Lane Kiffin, 2009 is the right time for South Carolina to jump up a couple of spots.  A 2nd place finish is very possible. 

02-05-2009- SEC Recruiting Classes
 
Below is the conference recruiting rankings for the class of 2009 based off of the three main publications (ESPN, Rivals, and Scout).
 
1) LSU (35 pts.)
2) Alabama (34 pts.) 
3) Georgia (29 pts.)
4) South Carolina (25 pts.)
5) Florida (23 pts.) 
6) Arkansas (18 pts.)
6) Ole Miss (18 pts.)
8) Auburn (16 pts.)
9) Mississippi State (14 pts.)
10) Tennessee (13 pts.)
11) Kentucky (6 pts.)
12) Vanderbilt (3 pts.)
 
Here's how we compiled the rankings.  We took each of the rankings from the three major publications.  The team ranked #1 in the conference receives 12 points.  LSU was ranked #1 by Scout and ESPN but ranked #2 by Rivals.  So they got 12 points for the Scout and ESPN rankings and 11 for the Rivals ranking equaling their total of 35.  South Carolina received 9 points for being ranked #4 by Scout and 8 points each from Rivals' and Scouts' ranking of #5 equaling the 25 points.

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02-04-2009- The Talent is on its Way
*FRONT PAGE ARTICLE*
 
In 1992, South Carolina joined the SEC.  Since then, the Gamecocks have been less than impressive usually finishing with a sub .500 record in conference.  Since Steve Spurrier's arrival in 2005, the Gamecocks are 15-17 in the SEC.  There are bright spots with wins over Georgia, Florida, and two wins over the Tennessee Volunteers, but there is no doubt that this program is not where Spurrier hoped to take it -- not yet at least.
 
It all boils down to recruiting.  Many, including myself, thought that after the three game slide to end the season and the debacle that was the Outback Bowl, South Carolina would have a lot of trouble holding onto its recruits.  I thought the Gamecocks would stumble to the finish line and sign a barely top 25 recruiting class, if that.
 
But Steve Spurrier and the Gamecock coaching staff proved me wrong.  Ranked in the top 13 in the nation by all three major publications (Rivals, ESPN, and Scout), Spurrier and the Gamecocks ended the recuiting season with a bang.  It's evident that the talent Spurrier is stock piling in Columbia is far exceeds anything any previous coach has been able to do.
 
Once one steps back and looks at the big picture, it becomes evident that things are getting better in Columbia.  Steve Spurrier is doing what he came to South Carolina to do.  He's changing Gamecock football one stellar recruiting class at a time.  It isn't happening fast, but like the old saying goes, "Rome wasn't built in a day."

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01-15-2009- Rank the SEC (FINAL)
 
Here at Spurred we're starting a new feature.  We'll have our own weekly rankings of the SEC following the games every weekend.  Here are the rankings following the final bowl games of the 2008 football season:
 
1) Florida (13-1): In what was the best National Championship game since the epic Vince Young-Reggie Bush clash in January, 2006, Tim Tebow and an injurred Percy Harvin carried the Florida Gators to their second National Title in three years.  With Tebow returning next season, the Gators remain the favorite to win it all again in 2009.
2) Alabama (12-2): The Tide were clearly outplayed in the Sugar Bowl.  Utah, possibly deserving of a #1 ranking, played more physical than the Crimson Tide.  But a 12-win season is still a heck of an accomplishment for second-year coach Nick Saban.  The Tide will be a a favorite to win the West again in 2009.
3) Ole Miss (9-4): Best coaching job in the SEC goes to Houston Nutt.  He did a fantastic job with this team.  The Rebel offense shredded the Texas Tech defense in the Cotton Bowl.  The Tide better watch out. Mississippi is on their heels.
4) Georgia (10-3): Another ten win season for Georgia coach Mark Richt, but the Dawgs will lose RB Knowshon Moreno and QB Matthew Stafford to the NFL.  Where will Georgia go from here?
5) LSU (8-5): QB Jefferson is the future for LSU.  The Tigers whipped up on Georgia Tech in the Chick-Fil-A (really the Peach) Bowl.  Les Miles and co. did a great job game planning for Johnson's option offense.  Expect the Tigers to bounce back and compete for the West title as well.
6) Vanderbilt (7-6): A winning season for Vanderbilt is something I never thought I'd see in my lifetime.  Bobby Johnson has the Commodores playing smart and with a ton of heart.  That combination leads to wins.
7) South Carolina (7-6): After reaching 7-3, the Gamecocks closed the season with a thump.  Steve Spurrier may be entering his last offseason in Columbia.  It's now or never for the Head Ball Coach. 
8) Kentucky (7-6): Another good season for the Wildcats.  Basketball will always be #1 in the eyes of the Wildcat faithful, but Rich Brooks and built Kentucky into a bowl team year in and year out.
9) Tennessee (5-7): A huge transition is now taking place for Vol Nation.  For the first time since 1992 they are enduring a coaching change. 
10) Arkansas (5-7): With the win over LSU to close out the season Arkansas has some momentum heading into next year.  A possible sleeper team in the West next year?
11) Auburn (5-7): Can't say how disappointing it is to see Tommy Tuberville get the ax.  He was a fantastic coach and one of the SEC's best.  This will without a doubt set the Auburn program back a couple of years.
12) Mississippi State (4-8): A great hire in Dan Mullen.  Can he get it done at MSU?

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01-03-2009-Into the offseason...
*FRONT PAGE ARTICLE*
 
For the second year in a row South Carolina ends its season with a multi-game losing streak.  In 2007 the Gamecocks closed with five consecutive losses and stayed home during bowl season.  The end to the 2008 campaign wasn't as bad.  Spurrier's Gamecocks achieved a New Year's Day bowl appearance, but that was just about the only positive news in Carolina's final three games.  Since beating Arkansas the second week of November, South Carolina has been outscored 118-30.
 
The Gamecocks now enter the offseason.  The first order of business is hiring coaches to replace vacancies left after the firing and resigning of offensive line coach John Hunt and recruiting coordinator David Reaves respectivally.  The second order of business is addressing the serious problems that are underlying within the team. 
 
Following his annoucement that he would forgoe his senior season for the NFL, Captain Munnerlyn said, "Guys on this team, they're going to do what they're going to do.  That's the kind of attitude they have.  I hope we get rid of some of them guys."  This quote speaks volumes about the team.  There is something missing within the team.  There seems to be no comradery, no passion, and no heart.  Spurrier must address this problem and get it corrected before the 2009 season.
 
A possible solution to the team's lack of heart, passion, and comradery can be the addition of a solid leader at QB.  It appears there are four candidates for the job:  Stephen Garcia, Chris Smelley, Reid McCollum, and Amaris Hillary.  Smelley and Garcia have had ample opportunities this season to take reigns of Spurrier's offense, but have failed to do so.  They will need to work hard over the offseason and improve tremendously.  Hillary and McCollum could be dark horses for the starting position due to the fact that no one has seen either play yet. 
 
One thing is certain, whoever wins the role as Spurrier's starting QB must be complimented with an improved running game.  The addition of RB recruits Lindsay Lamar, Ben Axon and early enrollee Jarvis Giles with Maddox and Eric Baker will give Spurrier and Co. plenty of options in the backfield. 
 
After starting 7-3, the final record of 7-6 is a disappointment.  The Gamecocks must show improvement next year.  If Spurrier can't get the Gamecocks to a better season (4 losses or less), then he might need to start thinking about hanging up the visor in Columbia.  The Gamecocks have an entire offseason to fix some pretty glaring problems.  The good news is, they are all fixable problems.  Whether or not the Spurrier era at South Carolina will be seen as successful or not will be determined over this offseason.
 

GO COCKS!