The Rant: USC should take a page from Tigers’ playbook

Last week, I was so spot-on with straightening out the ACC’s membership and divisional alignment that I’m encouraged to right a couple of other wrongs that are closer to home.

First, let me welcome Coastal Carolina football back to the I-AA Top 25 (quit with the stupid FCS, or is it FBS; we all understand D-1 & I-AA, so leave well enough alone). It’s the Chants’ first appearance in the poll since 2006 and they are currently the highest ranked Big South Conference team in the nation.

I say that to say this, to all you loudmouth haters (and believe me, it takes one to know one), who were calling for David Bennett to be fired last year when CCU was 1-4. If you haven’t crawled back under your cardboard box of a home, shut up! I feel better now…

Steve Spurrier announced on Monday that Stephen Garcia has exhausted the Gamecock Nation’s patience and will be replaced by Connor Shaw. We’re talking about the same guy who had to have Garcia come in to pull USC’s chicken out of the fryer during the season-opener in Charlotte.

Shaw stated that he’s “prepared for this opportunity and we’ll see how it goes on Saturday,” because of all the “experience” he has. Huh? What, all that experience he’s gained over the past month vs. the Carolina second-team defense?

This feels like a desperation move, because what else are you going to “change?” Lattimore? Jeffery? If not Garcia, who? Well, I’ll tell you who. Pull out the old “Wild-Cock” formation with Bruce Ellington, Stephon Gilmore and Stephen Garcia. Throw the kitchen sink at the SEC. Give Nick Saban, Les Miles and everyone else something … make that everything to prepare for except a backup QB.

Shaw is a backup for a reason. The play-calling has been too vanilla, too predictable. That was the criticism of Clemson over the past few years. Then they brought in the “Smashmouth-spread” of Chad Morris and their offense is unbelievably diverse. Their tight is involved, tons of receivers, the QB is wide-open and several running backs are running wild.

It’s time for USC to open it up, give ’em the “Cock & Fire” or the “Stun & Gun” or invent a new name for the portrait in the sand you’ve been known for throughout your career. This change for change sake is boring. Garcia is not the Gamecocks’ problem; boredom is. I’m not talking gadget. I’m talking a little pizzazz from the Ol’ Ball Coach, or at least fewer plays across the middle of the field with no timeouts and less than 5 seconds on the clock.

Another recent announcement that defies logic and clearly defines why I, and I alone, should be granted ultimate rule-making power over the SCHSL, is the decision to include every Class AA team in the football playoffs.

You heard right; EVERY single AA football team in S.C. “earns” a playoff berth, regardless of record. Even 0-10 teams will be playing for the right to win a state championship? Yep, the 52-school classification will crown two state champions. Then again, so does AAAA and A (which has only 45 teams, and that includes the S.C. School for the Deaf & Blind, and something called the Greer Middle College & the Governor’s School).

Class AAA will without a doubt follow suit soon. We have 201 public schools that play football in South Carolina and crown seven State Champions. That’s one State Champ per 28.7 schools in a football-fanatical state. There are 387 schools in North Carolina, a basketball-centric state, and even though it’s still ridiculous to have eight state champions, at least each represents 48.4 schools per classification.

What happened to the pride of saying we’re THE best in this state, period? That’s one school being better than 200 others in South Carolina, not one for every 28 schools in South Cack. That is NOT a true state championship. The coaches love it because it gives inferior teams a false sense of accomplishment.

Let’s just give a state championship to 101 teams, so more than half of the children in S.C. can say they were the very best in the state and, furthermore, we can give silver medals to the other 100 teams in SC, so they won’t feel bad about themselves and can say they accomplished a great feat of making the state title game. All the coaches will keep their jobs forever and everyone will play the same number of games and have the same number of home “gates,” which is yet another bogus reason the coaches give for adding state titles and letting everyone in the playoffs.

A couple of coaches who were interviewed about how great this new rule is stated that it was simply a numbers game and that their AA-Division 2 school of 560 students couldn’t possibly compete with the mammoth AA-Division 1 schools that have a whopping 900 students. We’re not talking about a difference of 340 prospective football players or even 340 boys in the school, but 340 “students.” That’s the biggest line of bill-jive that a coach has ever run on the unwashed masses.

When I was in West Virginia, which only has three classes, and amazingly only three state champions in football (what a concept), the smallest AAA team, Nitro High, with approximately 900 students (and was coached by current Pawleys Island resident and Waccamaw assistant James Burdette) defeated the largest, Parkersburg High, with approximately 1,800 students, 70-7, behind 10 touchdown passes by prolific QB J.R. House.

It’s a false premise that coaches use to keep from being criticized and/or fired; better yet it’s a lie that I don’t want you to accept. A state our size should have no more than four state football champions. Two would be even better, but a single state champion in every other sport is all that’s necessary and would bring back the real pride of a true state championship.

With the support of several state legislators (unfortunately, my good friend and Dillon football coach Jackie Hayes is not one of them), I have actively campaigned to become Czar of Prep Sports in South Carolina for nearly a decade now and I will not rest until I am appointed the savoir of all that is right with amateur athletics in the Palmetto State.

Until next time, when I find more broken sports that need fixing, I am the Uncommon Voice of the Common Fan!

 

The Bad Boy of Sports Radio, Allen Smothers can be heard on this site under live broadcasts from 7am-10am daily. His show also broadcasts live in the Florence, SC market on The Source 98.9 FM. His website is http://thepressboxradio.com

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