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PERPETUAL MEDIOCRITY DEMANDS RADICAL CHANGES

FITSNews – November 24, 2007 – Having cheered for the University of South Carolina football team from the womb, tonight’s last-second 23-21 loss to arch-rival Clemson really wasn’t all that bitter. After all, it’s tough to feel too much pain when you know what’s coming in advance, and when you’ve been numbed by three decades of disappointment and mediocrity.

Six weeks ago, South Carolina was 6-1 and ranked No. 6 in the nation. It seemed like things had finally come together under third-year head coach Steve Spurrier, and a New Year’s Day Bowl and BCS bid finally appeared to be within reach for legions of long-suffering Gamecock fans.

Of course, Carolina proceeded to choke against Vanderbilt and Tennessee, get blown out by Arkansas and Florida, and do what they always do against Clemson … find a way lose. At 6-6, the Gamecocks will now be lucky to get a bid to the toilet bowl, marking the end of yet another mediocre season for a program that has literally defined the word over the past century. “Even Spurrier Produces Nothing,” read a sign carried by a Clemson fan into Williams-Brice stadium tonight, and it’s hard to argue the point.

Frankly, we’ve had it. We’re not fairweather fans or anything (ahem, did you sit until the very last second of Florida State’s 59-0 drubbing of the Gamecocks back in 1988???), we’re just of the opinion that if something has never worked, you try something different. Which is why tonight our very own Sic Willie is unveiling his ‘Ten Ways To Fix South Carolina Football.’ Here we go …

10. STOP CELEBRATING FIRST DOWNS

This is college football, people. First downs are supposed to happen, and the fact that the public address announcer at Williams-Brice Stadium makes such a big deal when the Gamecocks actually get one is kind of embarrassing. So here’s a thought … the next time the home team gets a first down and you hear the idiot in the press box yell out “That’s another Carolina … (and you’re supposed to yell back “first down!”) how about yell “shut up!” and insist on a touchdown instead.

9. START PLAYING “BEAMER BALL”

South Carolina’s special teams sucked this year, which really wasn’t a huge surprise because South Carolina’s special teams suck every year. Sort of like our offense and defense. At Virginia Tech, head coach Frank Beamer focuses on special teams, which is a big reason Virginia Tech wins a lot more football games than we do. Hmmm … is he onto something?

8. STOP CHANGING HELMETS, JERSEYS

We’re not talking about the big $$$$ that Nike, Addidas, Under Armor or Russell Athletic shell out to plaster their logos all over the place, we’re talking about South Carolina’s chronic fashion schizophrenia. Seriously, we’ve tried every combination of garnet, black and white known to man and nothing has worked. More on this in a little bit, though …

7. START PLAYING OPPONENTS’ FIGHT SONGS

Why not? We hate Clemson, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida’s obnoxious fight songs as much as the next South Carolina fan, but who knows? Playing our own lame ass fight song obviously isn’t working out, and maybe having our band strike up the other team’s tunes will freak our opponents out …

6. GET RID OF THE “2001” ENTRANCE

Sure it’s the coolest entrance in all of college football, but so what? When you’re better known for the way you come out onto the football field than the way you play when you get there, that says a lot about your program.

5. SHUT UP AND PLAY

We used to think it was just the Miami Hurricanes and Clemson Tigers that acted like a bunch of arrogant, trash-talking punks on the football field, but South Carolina has gotten just as bad in recent years. Of course, we can’t afford stupid personal fouls and jackass celebration penalties because we’re not that good, which makes you wonder why so much showboating is going on here in the first place.

4. BETTER FAN SUPPORT

You heard us. Carolina fans fill the stands, but how many are still there when the fourth quarter starts and the Gamecocks are down by two scores? Of course it’s hard to blame them since we never actually come back and win those games, but still …

3. HIRE A YOUNG (BLACK?) COACH & STICK WITH HIM

We’re not saying Steve Spurrier should be fired this year, but if he doesn’t win nine games next year they ought to seriously consider it. Besides, nothing could do more to reverse our rebel flag stigma than to hire a talented young black coach and give him a chance. What Would Tony Dungy Do, people?

2. RECRUIT SOME BIGGER PLAYERS

South Carolina has historically recruited good skill position players but its teams have been chronically undersized on the offensive and defensive lines – which is where football games are won or lost. This isn’t rocket science, people. Oh, and that Tim Tebow guy is pretty good, so while we’re at it, a big quarterback who can run and throw the ball wouldn’t hurt either.

1. DITCH THE CHICKEN

That’s right. It’s not just players, coaches, jerseys, and entrances that need changing, it’s the whole ball of wax. Seriously, if you don’t believe there’s a “chicken curse” at this point, you need to have your head examined. This would be a professional marketer’s worst nightmare, but maybe we could keep the colors and just ditch the “Gamecock” name. Garnet Knights, anybody?