How was your weekend? Wiz correspondent Greg Laughlin made the most of his, taking in two bowl games in two days. After a stop in Tampa (see post below), Greg made it to Birmingham for the Papajohns.com Bowl. Accept no imitations. Birmingham is home of the original Pizza Bowl. Forget this Little Caesars stuff in Detroit.
Greg can now make the rarest of claims: He has attended all four Pizza Bowls in Birmingham and — this is the clincher — the first Little Caesars Bowl in Detroit. If anybody else has pulled this off, please step forward.
For the most part, the Birmingham game has been a giant headache. The first game in 2006 didn't have pizza. Not good when the title sponsor can't sell its goods.
ESPN, which operates the game, attempted to deceive viewers into thinking the crowd was bigger than it actually was by having the majority of fans sit on one side of the stadium — the side that faced the cameras.
Two Georgia state troopers assigned to South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier do a victorious fist bump after the Gamecocks' Stephen Garcia has his final pass tipped away by Rennie Curran, securing a 41-37 victory for the Bulldogs. Thanks to Get The Picture.
A year ago, the Gamecocks opened with a 34-0 victory against North Carolina State. The teams meet tonight in Raleigh, and Steve Spurrier's team is a five-point underdog. South Carolina has faded down the stretch the past two seasons. The 2007 team lost its last five after a 6-1 start. In 2008, the Gamecocks dropped their last three, the closest loss coming by 17 points. Spurrier is 28-22 at Columbia, and the schedule-maker has cut him no favors this fall. After tonight, South Carolina travels to Georgia before homes games against Florida Atlantic, Mississippi, South Carolina State (Division I-AA) and Kentucky. A 3-3 start is likely before the teeth of the Southeastern Conference schedule. Thanks to Dawn!
Steve Spurrier is doing little more than cashing paychecks these days at South Carolina. Example 1A: The Outback Bowl, where his team got rolled by Iowa, 31-10.
In a desperate attempt to jump-start his program, Spurrier told hotshot prep receiver Alshon Jeffery that he could wear No. 2 if he signed with the Gamecocks. The plan worked, with Jeffery now headed to South Carolina, but there's one problem: No. 2 is Sterling Sharpe’s retired jersey number.
On Thursday, during an interview with former Gamecock Duce Staley on 107.5 The Game, Sharpe emphatically stated that he wanted his number to remain retired. Sharpe told Staley that he had spoken twice to Spurrier about the number told the coach he was opposed to the idea.
Zanfardino writes: "Just about the only success Spurrier has had at South Carolina has been to lower the university's standards regarding the admission of student-athletes, bringing shame and embarrassment to the university in the process.
"In return for having his pockets filled and his giant ego constantly stroked, Spurrier has brought Gamecocks fans only disappointment and frustration due to the failures of the football team."
And this: "With Spurrier's coaching talent a thing of the past, all the University of South Carolina has been left with is a greedy, arrogant old man to whom they owe nearly $2 million each season.
"Only one thing is for certain at South Carolina: If the Gamecocks are going to win an SEC championship, they are going to have to do it under the leadership of a coach other than Steve Spurrier."