Every game is a ‘big game’ for Vol fans. That’s what makes us great fans. We care. A lot.
But Saturday’s game against South Carolina is a really Big Game. This team has made it a big game due to psychological concerns – we now have a phobia of, a neurotic aversion to, a downright fear of the Dreaded Second Half.
I had a dream about Saturday’s game…
For many days, it was a foregone conclusion that Tennessee would be headed to Nashville for their first Music City Bowl appearance. But rumors from ‘insiders’ started to sprout on Saturday like flowers in May — the Vols were headed to Jacksonville on New Year’s Day for their reward of a perfect November.
There is no debate about who are the best two teams in the land. And, there is no debate about who is the best college football player in the land.
Auburn vs South Carolina in Atlanta for the SEC Championship game, and Oregon vs Oregon State in The Civil War clash in Corvallis.
Read what happened, as it happened, as the Ducks and Tigers took their final step in anticipation of facing each other for glory.
MAXIM #2: Play for and make the breaks and when one comes your way – SCORE!
Mission accomplished on Saturday. It was simply the difference. Three induced fumbles by the Vol ball hawks in the first half and an interception in the second were quickly turned into 24 points on All Hallow’s Eve down by the river. That’s right – 3 TD’s and a FG immediately after 4 turnovers. These weren’t turnovers that killed Gamecock drives. Instead, they happened in USC’s own half, allowing the Vols to start their drives from the C27, the C43, the C22, and the C47 because of the 4 Gamecock turnovers. Yes indeed – make the breaks and when one four come your way – SCORE (EVERY TIME)!
However, in years to come, this game will not likely be remembered for the turnovers and resultant scores, but for the black jerseys.
This All Hallow’s Eve matchup gives us two of the great coaching minds of a generation. Will the game become a chess match between a high-powered Spurrier passing game against Monte’s vaunted defense?
To answer this question, let’s think about the major strengths and weaknesses of this season’s South Carolina Gamecocks, and the Vols on the opposite side of those weaknesses.
Today, we are hosting another Q&A, this time with Gamecock Man from the fine South Carolina blog Garnet and Black Attack. Our friend has an interesting history as noted on his bio. He came late to Gamecock sports having grown up in Mobile and being raised by his Auburn-loving family. But graduate school at USC turned him around to where he is all garnet and black. Damn – I should have asked him if his family still speaks to him! He’s currently in exile somewhere north of the Mason-Dixon Line getting a PhD, which explains his good writing and insightful posts (but what about his common sense?!?!).
Gamecock Man has already posted a couple of previews for this weekend’s Halloween bonanza: Previewing South Carolina at Tennessee: Topics for Discussion on the Vols’ Offense; and Previewing South Carolina at Tennessee: Topics for Discussion on the Vols’ Defense. If he keeps that productivity up, he’s going to get his degree in less that the typical three years!
He has recriprocated by posting on his blog [HERE] my answers to his questions regarding the Vols and the Tennessee-South Carolina matchup. But first, give a read of Gamecock Man’s answers to my questions on the state of Gamecock football and the upcoming game – right after the jump.
Today, I am pleased to have the writers over at Leftover Hot Dog (LOHD) as a guest at Vols in the Fall. LOHD is a Gamecock blog that, as they say on their site, “has worked to bring you all the Gamecocks sports info you need concerning THE University of South Carolina while mixing in the occasional tailgating story along the way or other mindless pieces of information. The LOHD blog is your independent source for Gamecock news.” It is informative, entertaining, and if nothing else has one of the best names in the blogosphere.
The authors at LOHD were kind enough to offer a Q&A trade. We both submitted questions to each other. The following, after the jump, are their answers to my questions. They have posted my answers to their questions over at LOHD. So, enjoy a Gamecock perspective.