Well, this Saturday, the maligned-yet-beloved Gamecocks of South Carolina return to action against the Furman Paladins, a game that most folks believe will be a blowout. Or at least, it should be. After the Vanderbilt game, nobody knows if the Gamecocks are even capable of blowing out another team.
So let's go back to a time when fans knew the Gamecocks could blow out a team, even if they were in the elite of the FCS. Spoiler alert: You're gonna get to see Brendan Nosovitch AND Perry Orth at quarterback! It's that much of a blowout. Watch along with me right here!
1:22 Nothing like a shot of gorgeous overcast Columbia on local television to get you pumped for FBS-versus-FCS football!
1:34 Todd Ellis and Tommy Suggs are outside the stadium with a group of fairly unexcited fans. "Are you somewhat looking forward to watching the first half of football before going out to the bars?!"
1:37 Hard to believe this is the first meeting between these two teams, since they share the same state. Todd insists on calling Coastal Carolina the "Chans". That's a soft-Ch, if you're curious.
3:29 "And now I'd like to sing for y'all an original composition..."
4:18 The best thing about watching local broadcasts is getting to watch exactly what's being broadcast on the titantron, which means we at home also get to see the disembodied head of Steve Spurrier informing us that it's time for Carolina football.
7:05 Todd tells us the Chanticleers will "have their eye on Liberty versus Charleston Southern." I'm sure they were the only ones.
11:48 After the Chanticleers punt, Tommy reminds us that nothing bad happened by Carolina not getting the ball to start the game, and that Coastal Carolina didn't score, and now the Gamecocks are going to get the ball back at their 15. Which everybody knows, because they're WATCHING THE GAME.
12:10 We get a really nice long shot focusing on Ronald Patrick as Todd prattles on about Connor Shaw. If it turns out the camera operator keeps filming Patrick every time Shaw is brought up, this might turn into some gold.
18:40 Connor Shaw rolls scrambles away from pressure, rolling out to his right and hits Shaq Roland in stride, allowing the young man to run ten more yards for the touchdown. Such a magnificent play. It really shows what Shaw does at the peak of his game. When Connor Shaw is comfortable, he can do anything.
20:30 "AJ Cann just STONED him!" I always knew AJ was into the sticky icky. The wacky tobaccy. The green... leafs... nah.
22:45 Tommy keeps screwing up when he tries to rattle off statistics, but his old southern accent is just too damn charming to get mad at him.
23:35 I don't know if this punter has a beer gut or if it's babyfat, but I'm guessing the special teams unit doesn't spend much time at the gym. Seriously, that jersey is so tight on him, I could eat a bowl of soup on the belly button indentation. Also, the "Jay-day-veon" count from Tommy is at 1.
25:50 Did I mention Shon Carson has been the lead running back today? Because it is AGONIZING. Was he always this slow? At least his returns have improved.
31:20 Nick Jones catches his 23rd pass of the year to make it first and goal. This game took place on November 23rd, and for reference, he already has 27 catches this season.
31:37 Jamari Smith touchdown?!?! Believe it or not, you'll be hearing from him a lot this game.
36:18 Tommy drops some more numbers knowledge on us. "The Chanticleers have fumbled nine times this season, but have only lost three of them. That's an amazing number!" I wonder how Tommy feels about the number 17? Or 53? Or any other number for that matter.
39:50 According to Todd, Steve Spurrier once said Shon Carson "flowed like water running through a brook". This further begs the question on everybody's mind: where is the long-awaited book of Steve Spurrier's poetry?
46:40 Dylan Thompson comes off the bench for the first time this game, and promptly throws a forty-yard pass to Nick Jones. I guess we should've seen all their hookups this season coming, eh?
1:00:15 Pharoh Cooper gets the first touchdown catch of his career! An amazing diving catch into the endzone that barely stayed inbounds. An early example of the awesome athleticism that Cooper has.
1:12:45 After Tommy makes a joke about being able to "settle down" when Carolina pulls ahead 41-0, Todd says the truest words known to man: "Tommy Suggs, only one like him."
1:21:04 Coastal marches down the field over a long drive, but Victor Hampton prevents a Chanticleer receiver from reaching the endzone, after which he poses like this for, I kid you not, nine seconds:
I am legitimately afraid of Victor Hampton sometimes. He looks tough just standing there.
1:26:23 Todd points out that Kane Whitehurst, who just checked in, is one of Dylan's favorite targets, and caught two passes from him in 2012. Guess the second stringers stick together hard.
1:40:37 Dylan Dog rushing touchdown! Back when nobody was mad at him for being exactly the quarterback we knew he was.
1:48:14 Pharoh lines up at QB in the wildcat, and runs it 71 yards for a touchdown! Can he be our new lord and savior yet, or does that qualify as worshipping a false idol? Them points ain't false, I'll tell ya whut.
1:54:55 Brendan Nosovitch completes a pass to Jody Fuller, which is basically fulfilling the alternate universe 2015 season I've been writing so much fan-fiction about.
1:56:44 Nostovitch runs for a nice gain, and is looking spectacular on this drive, which further makes me wonder why so many of you are so obsessed with Connor Mitch. His last name is the name of some douchebag that picked on you in elementary school. Friends don't let friends join the #MitchMob until 2015, okay?
1:57:37 You wanna know how bad of a blowout this is? Garrison Gist is in the game. If you know who that is, you must be a Gamecock Central subscriber, and we love ya for it!
2:05:15 Todd Ellis just said "my man Perry Orth". MY MAN PERRY ORTH. THIS GAME IS MADNESS
2:10:40 Brandon Wilds just ran for a touchdown, and the score is 70-7. I'm pretty much done here, but I wanted to put some thoughts down on the internet before I forget.
This game featured a lot of second- and third-stringers as the blowout became more pronounced, and it's hard to think about how this season could be going so wrong when the team was so great last season. Was it delusion on the part of the fans? Poor recruiting? Injuries? I'd point to the caliber of opponent improving, if I didn't see how Missouri and Vanderbilt have looked this season against competent opponents.
It leaves me asking questions that can't be answered by anybody but the coaches, and perhaps those closest to the team. Why can't this team find a role for Brendan Nosovitch? Why is this defense, particularly the secondary, so bad? Could nobody really persuade Victor Hampton to avoid languishing on practice squads after being undrafted? How good of a coach is Lorenzo Ward? Are these players going to improve over the next season or two? Who's going to be the starting quarterback next season, or the starting running back for that matter?
I don't know why I'm letting a blowout game from last season stir up so much confusion in me, but I look at this team, and I don't know why they couldn't be great. I don't know why they're not great now. I can point to individual moments, sure. I could rattle off the hundreds of thousands of times Steve Spurrier called for a pass play instead of a run play, but these moments don't make the team. The game is 60 minutes, and from what I saw in this game, I find it hard to believe these players can't scrounge up an hour of greatness every Saturday.