Sports

Liz: The Gamecock Kickoff Countdown Is On!

ONE WEEK TO GO … By Liz Gunn || I knew immediately upon taking on this “FITS thing” that I eventually wanted to write about college football.  I plan my life around seven, specific Saturdays every fall. Some might call it an obsession, but for me and millions of others…

ONE WEEK TO GO …

photoBy Liz Gunn || I knew immediately upon taking on this “FITS thing” that I eventually wanted to write about college football.  I plan my life around seven, specific Saturdays every fall. Some might call it an obsession, but for me and millions of others across the country it’s simply a way of life.

And nowhere is that way of life more ingrained than at the University of South Carolina.

It’s not just about the game. It’s the complete experience. For me it’s “2001” and “Black Magic,” always taking me back to that first game I went to as a child. It’s 85,000 people yelling “GAME” and “COCKS” back and forth across the stadium in perfect succession. It’s boiled peanuts and the smell of burnt popcorn. It’s tailgating and fashionable ensembles that people outside the South consider too dressy for a ballgame.

These days it’s also bouncing to “Sandstorm” and head coach Steve Spurrier coming on the Jumbotron to tell us “It’s time for Carolina football!”

I could not be more ready for next week’s kickoff!

This year marks the seventh consecutive year that South Carolina will open on a Thursday night, meaning our game against Texas A&M will be one of the first college football games America gets to see. And while Thursday nights aren’t exactly convenient for people who work 9-5, you make football a priority – am I right?

The level of productivity in this city and other parts of the state will sink to an all-time low this time next week.  And unless your boss is a communist, he or she should be okay with that.

Opening day feels like Christmas to me. I can’t sleep the night before, thanks to a mixture of extreme excitement and extreme anxiety. When I do get to sleep, I dream about football – about losing, or one of our starters getting hurt. It’s a sickness, I tell ya!

I wake up at the crack of dawn, even for a night game, and I am all business until our car is in its tailgate spot.

Over the last thirty years, I have definitely seen firsthand the best of times and the worst of times for Gamecock football. In good times and bad, it never loses its appeal. I once wrote that the Gamecocks made me feel like a battered housewife. No matter how much they break my heart, I always come back for more.

I have learned over time to lower my expectations at the beginning of the season to limit disappointment. Has a more Gamecock-y statement ever been written? This year that is going to be really hard to do after having gotten some inside scoop on what to expect.

My trusted source for all things Gamecock football tells me we have the best offense we’ve ever had in Spurrier’s tenure. I’m sorry, but what?  We graduate the winningest quarterback in school history, and NOW we have the best offense we’ve ever had?

Our best receiver goes to the draft and NOW we have the best offense we’ve ever had?

This I’ve got to see!

I would be lying if I said I didn’t often envy teams with explosive offenses, while we are usually relegated to lie in wait with our stout defense, ready to shut them down. But you know what they say – offense sells tickets, defense wins games. A nice combination of the two would be welcomed this year.

If you’ve been a Gamecock fan long enough then you know we have traditionally struggled with our lines – both offensive and defensive. It’s not easy for skill players to make big plays when the line doesn’t give them that opportunity. Well not this year. My source says in addition to an outstanding offense, our O-line and D-line are solid.

Football games really are won or lost at the line of scrimmage – and it sounds like we are putting ourselves in position to win those key battles this year.

Let’s take a look at the schedule. I rarely make bold predictions about my own team, especially before we have even played a single down, but it looks like we have a realistic shot at being undefeated at the end of regular season play, which means we have a realistic shot at a conference title game as well as spot in the inaugural college football playoffs.  I’m not saying getting there will be easy, but it certainly can be done.

I think we’ll at least scrape by Georgia at home, although I would love nothing more than a brutal beat down after last year’s choke job in Athens.  Vandy and Auburn on the road stand out to me as games to be the most nervous about.  Unranked Florida is a big question mark, and unfortunately we do play them in “The Swamp” this year – and the last time we went into the Swamp with high hopes, it got out of hand quickly.

Of course playing Clemson in Death Valley is just the worst … not that it’s mattered in recent years.

It’s never a cake walk playing in the SEC, but our other conference games shouldn’t give us any trouble.  Of course this is Gamecock football, so we’ll all have to hold our breath as we wait and see.

One week from today our city comes to life!  Say what you will about Columbia, but come August 28th there is nowhere on earth I’d rather be than Williams-Brice Stadium.

Get Cocky, Carolina!

carolina panorama

Liz Gunn is a wife, mom, author, businesswoman, travel enthusiast, food snob, fashionista, lover of great wine and the No. 1 Gamecock football fan … ever.  A graduate of the University of South Carolina, she lives in Columbia, S.C. with her husband and daughter.

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28 comments

euwe max August 21, 2014 at 12:08 am

I like your cheek tattoo… I’m assuming it’s henna, and will wash off… but is it an avant garde take off on the ebola virus?

I’ve heard that methamphetamine users use henna tattoos to hide needle marks…. is that true?

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jimlewisowb August 21, 2014 at 8:11 am

If tattoo had been on the other cheek, would have read article

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euwe max August 21, 2014 at 12:11 am

Denny: In my family, a man has only to look at a woman and she’s pregnant.

Rita: That’s because you’re all so cockeyed.

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shifty henry August 21, 2014 at 5:49 am

Liz, your enthusiasm sends chills up and down my spine… and
“My source says..” — too much time hanging around Will?

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Stymie Yelodog August 21, 2014 at 8:45 am

I can still see the man in black walking up and down the sidelines smoking a cigarette. My blood runneth garnet.

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MFH August 21, 2014 at 9:12 am

GAHHH! This just got me WAY too excited! Being originally from a non-college football town in California I try to explain to family and friends back home what (the real) USC football is like. I can’t explain it; they need to see for themselves. And they are always FLOORED by how this city shuts down and livens up all at the same time. It is truly the best! Fantastic article, Liz!

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Liz August 21, 2014 at 10:03 am

Sounds like you’ll fit in here just fine, MFH! Go COCKS!

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ThreePalms August 21, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Go COCKS!

Thanks for this.

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Matt Knowles August 21, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Great article, unicorn!

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E Norma Scok August 21, 2014 at 3:19 pm

What is the chicken jumping around in the cage all about? I’ve never gotten a straight answer about that one. I always hear something about black magic, then nobody seems to know anymore. Seriously..whats the story?

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Cocky 2001 August 21, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Yes, Black MAGIC…magic, by definition, is mysterious and unexplained. So no, no one can’t explain it to you.

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E Norma Scok August 21, 2014 at 6:40 pm

So what you’re saying is that you don’t know what it means either.

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Stymie Yelodog August 22, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Google, Joe Morrison Black Magic.

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Squishy123 August 22, 2014 at 6:46 pm

Wasn’t he the coach who dropped dead while screwing a cheerleader in her apartment and was hauled back by an assistant coach naked and stuffed into a car trunk back to the stadium and thrown into a shower where he was “found” by the same assistant coach?

Stymie Yelodog August 22, 2014 at 7:46 pm

Wrong coach. And this tryst didn’t kill him.

Squishy123 August 21, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Forecast for next Thursday, 92 degrees and partly cloudy. In other words, it’s going to be hot as fuck and sunny at game time.

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Limbaughsaphatkhunt August 21, 2014 at 7:58 pm

Finally, a welcomed diversion on this site. I’m also excited about the upcoming season but my blood runneth orange. Both S.C. and Clemson have interesting openers. All the signs are pointing to a Gamecock win to kick things off…probably by at least a couple of touchdowns.

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Liz August 22, 2014 at 10:07 am

I share a home with a Clemson fan! It’s not easy – but right now we’re just both excited that college football is about to return :) Thanks for reading!

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E Norma Scok August 22, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Probably not any easier for them, either.
Tell me..who makes more money?

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Liz August 22, 2014 at 4:24 pm

He does – because he earned a law degree from the University of South Carolina…BOOM! Why do I get the feeling we know each other, Norma?

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Liz August 22, 2014 at 4:25 pm

And I said “It’s not easy” – implying that it’s not easy for both of us.

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Benjamin Stackz Derrick August 22, 2014 at 3:48 am

Our offensive line is alive and well and Mike Davis runs all over A&M. Gamecocks by 17.

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ira hilary August 22, 2014 at 9:04 am

even being a carolina fan doesnt really redeem you in my opinion. instead of some celebrity-themed national media agenda article, with the faithful commissar approved talking points, you tried the ultimate ingratiating maneuver: invoke sports to draw mainstream,non-controversial audience. transparent. (also sad that as a professional person you need to exploit “amateur athletics” for your own profit.) the fact that you claim to be the “No.1 gamecock football fan…ever” is not only insulting to the true gamecock fans ranked above you, but totally factually incorrect and blatantly pandering- in other words its a cheap way to wrap yourself in the flag. infact, any real gamecock fans know there’s always someone out there even more obssessed than themselves. i know because as big of a gamecock fan as i am, i KNOW there are people who live and die on the resultsof it more than me, who reprogram their hopes and dreams every year, knowing tht if we can win the sec, we canplay to win the nationa championship, the utimate no.1 gamecock fan aspiration, AND TOTALLY BELIEVE IT WITH ALL FIBRE OF THEIR BEING every yea over and over until we finally lose that first game of the season and their dreams are smashed and shattered all over again and it takes at least a couple weeks before they even start to recover.no.1 fan? you didnt mention even winning the sec much less the natl championship- instead you predict a tough game vs VANDERBILT LOL LMFAO!!! no.1 gamecock football fan ever? really? please remove that tagline off your bio SO WAIT A MINUTE, the no.1 gamecock football fan ever is also a “fashionista (which is a trendy take-off on communist factional designatons) and food snob?” oh and nice battered housewife reference. comparing following football to the plight of abused women is a very clever way to get your point across. was that supposed to an inside joke with with will folks? if so, hilarious.

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Liz August 22, 2014 at 9:55 am

Gee, I had no idea there was a fan ranking system…do you mind sharing that? If you’re such a fan you might remember that we lost to Tennessee last year…unranked, terrible, Tennessee. We play Vandy on the road this year and they have been giving us quite a game the last several years.(2 of which we lost, mind you) For your information – not that it should concern you as much as it obviously does – I didn’t write that about myself. My bio was created based on observations about my interests…things I write about, tweet about, photograph, etc. Perhaps you have heard of hyperbole? I am sorry it bothers you that I have such varied interests…but I’m glad you thought my comparison was “hilarious”. You seriously need to lighten up, dude…or dudette I’m guessing.

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MFH August 22, 2014 at 11:49 am

Yikes. Is that kind of nasty hatred really necessary? There are bigger things going on in the world to hate; not berating a fellow Gamecock fan. Don’t read her articles if you don’t like them. Instead of trying to make everyone else as miserable as you are, do yourself and mankind a favor and go get intense therapy.

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gdaddy August 22, 2014 at 12:23 pm

oh Ira please learn to fucking spell before you begin your ‘educated’ rant..you are the typical fan who can’t name a player, recall a score, and sure as fuck doesn’t buy season tickets. Stay home and jam another cheap six pack down you overweight and oversensitive ass..good article Liz

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Mike Massey says... August 22, 2014 at 11:18 am

Pierce Cauthen does not qualify as a “source”

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Liz August 22, 2014 at 11:34 am

Ha! Well I tend to to disagree, although he is the not the source I’m referring to.

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