Enjoy Saturday night.
South Carolina football fans invested a lot into the Gamecocks without getting much of anything in return for more than a century. That has changed in recent years with special moments like Marcus Lattimore carrying the ball 40 times in The Swamp to carry South Carolina to an SEC East title or the Gamecocks beating No. 1 Alabama provided as payback. Saturday night, regardless of what happens, will be another one of those nights.
The Gamecocks kick off against Clemson at 7 p.m. with a chance to beat the program that was long the big brother in this state a fifth straight time. Forty-five minutes later, Missouri and Texas A&M will kick off with an Aggies’ win sending South Carolina to the SEC championship game.
“We have no control over that (Missouri) game,” Steve Spurrier said. “After we play ours here, some of you guys in (the media) will tell me what happened, probably. We have enough on our hands trying to beat our in-state rival, trying to win 10 games again, all that kind of stuff. We don't need to worry about those other games that we have no control over. We accept where we're at.”
That doesn’t mean the Gamecocks won’t be sneaking a peak when highlights from the Missouri game are shown on the Williams-Brice video board during breaks in the action.
“It’s going to be pretty hard (not to look) if they show it on the jumbo,” senior offensive lineman Ronald Patrick said. “I mean, it’s big.”
By the end of the night, South Carolina fans will be on top of the world, at the bottom of their bottle or somewhere in between. Either way, enjoy it.
Around the SEC:
Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease has been getting hammered because of the Gators’ dreadful play this season. There’s already one report out that he will be fired at the end of the season, but say this for Pease, he met with the media on Tuesday and took every question candidly and with class. In my opinion, that says a lot about a guy.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the interview was when Pease was asked if he was being used as a scapegoat.
“I don't know. That's a tough question to answer,” he said. “Right now I’d say no. I mean, you can always address that question later.”
There’s some talk in College Station, Texas, that the Aggies will be wearing wacky uniforms Saturday for their game against Missouri.
A rules change now allows college football coaches to talk about recruits once they have signed a financial aid agreement, which is why Kentucky coach Mark Stoops was able to talk Tuesday about Drew Barker, the quarterback who spurned South Carolina to stay at home with the Wildcats.
Barker is “a guy that’s very important to us and to this program because he’s one of the best players in the state, and we all know how important it is to lock down your own state and to start the recruiting within your state,” Stoops said. “This guy has been rock solid. He’s a tremendous leader. He’s a heck of a player.”