David Cloninger

Cloninger’s pick: Change gives USC chance to turn things around

Shawn Elliott
Shawn Elliott gmelendez@thestate.com

Steve Spurrier walked away like we always knew he would – this is it, I’m done, don’t try to talk me out of it. Some question his timing (and they are right), because quitting on a team midseason is bad form.

Then again, there are some advantages.

Spurrier has coached his entire career by letting the next guy have a shot if the starter isn’t getting it done. Same as he’s done with Shawn Elliott. The Gamecocks were going nowhere with Spurrier in charge, so why not try something new?

Also, USC knows better than anybody what can happen when a coach has announced his retirement at the end of the season but while there are games to play. Lou Holtz had the same thing happen in 2004 – and his team quit being disciplined, quit playing hard and cost itself a bowl game in one of the worst moments in USC-Clemson rivalry history.

Elliott’s made it clear to his team – you have a chance to turn this around. Your choice.

Vanderbilt, of course, finds itself playing a mysterious team. Stats and numbers are quantifiable, emotions are not. I think the Gamecocks will find some feelgood for a program and community that really needs some and the talk for at least two weeks will be how they can still make a run at this thing.

Prediction: South Carolina 20, Vanderbilt 14