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South Carolina arrived in Tampa yesterday for the 2009 Outback Bowl, a game that is currently evoking about as much excitement as that sweater your mother got you with the reindeer on it … you know, the one with the nose that lights up.

Thanks, mom. Love it.

Anyway, the Gamecocks flew in, practiced, visited some sick kids at a hospital (looking for gameday starters?) and called it a day.

And while we’re glad our boys in garnet and black got that “extra month of practice” coaches always rave about whenever bowl season rolls around, let’s not forget what happened the last time this team set foot on Florida soil.

Yeah, it wasn’t pretty.

South Carolina followed up that humiliation with an equally painful performance against a middle-tier ACC team … a middle-tier ACC team that is 3-1 against USC head coach Steve Spurrier, of course … not to mention highly-skilled in the agrarian arts.

Anyway, crestfallen doesn’t fit what we’re feeling, because we’re used to feeling this way by now.

And while our beloved Gamecocks may be going bowling, we’re staying home for the holidays this time – and it’s got nothing to do with America’s government-induced recession.

Call us fair weather fans, call us whatever you want, we just don’t think the Gamecocks’ football program deserves to be financially supported (by us, anyway) after Spurrier’s team utterly failed to show up in it’s last two games, sputtering to a 7-5 record and yet another year of mediocrity.

Look, we’ve been there for this program.

We made the trip to Memphis two years ago when the Gamecocks faced off against Houston in the Liberty Bowl – and we had a blast.

But the program seemed to have a wide open road ahead of it then.

We were also in the stands for both of USC’s Outback Bowl victories against Ohio State (in 2001 and 2002), and the program seemed to be bursting with possibilities then, as well.

We were even in the stands for the 1987 Gator Bowl (anybody remember Tommy Hodson?)

But now? Not so much.

Which is why we’re saving our money.

We said earlier this season that Spurrier should resign if he lost to Clempsun.

People think we’re nuts, but we say that because his offenses have gone downhill in each of the past three seasons and his SEC record at South Carolina is a pathetic 15-17.

Plus, he hasn’t recruited worth a damn, and the kids he has brought in come off as punks who can’t stay in school or out of trouble.

Spurrier’s tenure at Carolina has been a huge disappointment, people, and we’re not the only ones saying so. Just the first.

In fact, it’s only thanks to Ellis Johnson’s defense that South Carolina is even bowl eligible at all this season.

And it’s only due to the rabid support of USC fans (and the fact that Arkansas, Auburn and Tennessee all uncharacteristically sucked this season) that Spurrier’s team is playing in a New Year’s Day bowl game.

Having said all of this, of course we still love Carolina and of course we hope they show up next Thursday (in fact, we’ve got a date with some hockey hotties in Iowa riding on the outcome of the game), but we’re not holding our collective breath.

Nor are we wasting a couple grand to find out if they show up or not … we hate to say it, but it’s just not worth it.

Pics courtesty of Travis Bell, Sideline Carolina.