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Sprints Is Also Taking the Rorschach Test // 09.25.09

South Carolina 16, Ole Miss 10. The problem with a game like Thursday night's, where an unranked team defeats a ranked team, is that people tend to see what they want to see in the results. For example, take South Carolina fans giddy over the first home win against a Top 5 in the program's history.

It wasn't pretty; it wasn't perfect; but we just beat a very good team! So on the whole, let's get positive! Despite the unneccesary dramatics, I haven't been this happy since we beat Kentucky in 2007. This team is a good one, one that might make us very, very happy this year.

It's a sentiment shared by sports columnists in the area and even the head coach.

Will Steve Spurrier take that? You bet your sweet instep. Winning ugly beats losing any day.

"A wonderful victory for our team and our fans, for all Gamecocks," he said. "Obviously we struggled at times, but our defense was sensational.

"We did a lot of bad things, but we hung in there."

On the other side of the spectrum are Ole Miss fans, who are left to rip their own team [explicit language warning] while complaining about a face mask call that never happened. (That's not just a South Carolina fan speaking -- I've already talked to fans of other teams who agree that the announcers were seeing something that wasn't there. The officiating was bad on both sides, but there was no face mask on that play.)

Tonight, I'm pretty stumped for inspiration. If our offensive line wasn't so terrible... if our quarterback could've found a little more focus... we'd still be riding the wave of fun and anticipation that comes from having a top 5, undefeated team. Now, we may never see that again. This was our shot. We blew it. Our fate may have been sealed by complacency and mediocrity that started before most of us were born.

The emerging consensus among non-fans like Dr. Saturday is that Ole Miss was wildly overrated going into Thursday night. But even they seem divided on whether the game tells us anything about the Gamecocks.

But if Ole Miss' biggest advantage coming in was at quarterback, that certainly doesn't look like the case coming out: If Garcia and South Carolina are still basically mediocre, what does that make Snead and Ole Miss?

That seems to foreclose the possibility that Garcia and South Carolina aren't still basically mediocre, though that's not an entirely unreasonable conclusion if you watched the Gamecocks in the fourth quarter. And The Valley Shook sees something perhaps more nuanced.

It turns out that, even though Georgia beat South Carolina, the Gamecocks may actually be the tougher opponent this year. I don't know how they gave up 41 to Georgia, because that defense I saw last night was tough. ...

It means that Ole Miss blew it. While it's never easy to win the SEC West, you could say that they entered the 200m race with a 2 step handicap advantage. Then they stumbled out of the blocks. They could still win the race, but they blew their advantage.

One Rebel seems to be happy that his team won't be ranked in the Top 5 when the next polls come out.

From left tackle Bradley Sowell: "I'm glad it's over with so everybody can stop talking about it and we can just play ball."

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle of all these diverse opinions. No one should even begin to assume that South Carolina is a Top 10 or Top 15 team, as I noted last night. But to give no credit to the Gamecocks and completely blame Ole Miss for being overrated is also taking things a step too far. True, South Carolina gave us very little reason to think that they defeated the Rebels because they were an elite team.

But you could have said the same thing last year about the team the Gamecocks defeated after it upset the eventual national champions in Gainesville. That turned out pretty well.

Saban says Julio Jones set to play
Good news for Tide fans.

Will Gus Malzahn stick around?
Track Em Tigers says yes.

Auburn will have little trouble coming up with the extra dough needed to keep Malzahn around. The only likely reason for his departure would be a head coaching offer. That sounds a little far fetched at this point considering five seasons ago he was coaching in High School.

I'm pretty sure that they don't care where you were five years ago when they're hiring a coach, but I think he'll probably be around for a few more years.

TSN: Urban Meyer is the Coach of the Decade
They seem undeterred by the fact that the decade is not yet over.

The MSM appears to be noticing the whole "people who have basic cable are out of luck" aspect of the ESPN-SEC television deal.

HD customers also having problems in Atlanta
Groo deflates the balloon a little more.

For Comcast’s Atlanta customers, this deal has been a loser and a step backwards. The SEC Network on Peachtree TV has only been showing up in standard definition.

Problems are to be expected whenever a new deal like this comes along, sure. But this roll-out appears to have been badly mismanaged by ESPN and the league.

He apologizes for any resemblance his comment had to calling you a Klansman
Tennessee basketball head coach Bruce Pearl on Thursday afternoon:

"I've got a tough job. I've got to put these guys from different worlds together, right? I've got guys from Chicago, Detroit ... I'm talking about the 'hood! And I've got guys from Grainger County, where they wear the hood."

Pearl on Thursday afternoon:

"Unfortunately while I was trying to excite the crowd and encourage employees to give, I made an inappropriate joke. I certainly did not intend to offend anyone and I apologize to everyone, especially the people of Grainger County."

That would probably be the right thing to do.