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 COUNTDOWN TO KICK-OFF "2019" GAMECOCK FOOTBALL

post-2-0-09566000-1521979948.pngSouth Carolina Gamecocks vs. North Carolina Tarheels NC_38x38.png

 

ShepCock

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ShepCock last won the day on July 12

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  1. By Saturday Down South SEC schools have plenty to consider when crafting their nonconference football schedules. They all have a gauntlet to run within the conference, so the out-of-conference schedule provides 4 opportunities for some less-challenging matchups, especially as tune-ups for the start of league play. But the lure of big dollars, national-television exposure and strength of schedule that can impress the Playoff selection committee factor in as well. Teams can play blockbuster neutral-site games against a ranked opponent in Week 1, accelerating their early-season development while allowing enough time to overcome a loss in the polls. They can drop down a notch and play bowl-quality teams to still get a good challenge while reducing the risk of defeat. They can play smaller FBS programs or high-quality FCS schools and accomplish essentially the same thing. And there are the periodic really weak teams – both of the FBS and FCS variety. A common formula is to play 1 ranked team, 1 bowl quality team and 2 lighter-weight teams. But everyone’s approach is a little different and schedules are made so far in advance that opponents sometimes will be better or worse than expected when the contracts were signed. The 2019 nonconference schedules for the 14 SEC schools feature a variety of approaches. Here’s one ranking of their relative strength from the easiest to the toughest: 14. Arkansas The Razorbacks might have a shot at bowl eligibility if they can run the table against a modest group comprised of Portland State, Colorado State, San Jose State and Western Kentucky – all at home. Those 4 opponents were a combined 11-36 in 2018. 13. Kentucky The Wildcats also get all of their nonconference games at home, featuring a marginally more difficult group – bowl teams Toledo and Eastern Michigan but also Tennessee-Martin and Louisville, both of which are coming off 2-win seasons. 12. Alabama The Crimson Tide have become regular visitors to Atlanta on opening weekend. This year’s opponent isn’t a marquee one, but it’s still a potential bowl team in Duke. Then it’s home games against New Mexico State, Southern Miss and Western Carolina. 11. Tennessee The Volunteers are also taking the all-home-game approach, hosting Georgia State, BYU, Chattanooga and UAB. BYU and UAB were bowl teams last season, and Jeremy Pruitt has ties to Birmingham, having started his coaching career at Hoover High before becoming an assistant at Alabama. 10. Vanderbilt The Commodores certainly aren’t easing into 2019. They host Georgia in Week 1, then jump into the nonconference portion with a rare nonconference road game at Purdue in Week 2. The Boilers stunned Ohio State last season and return one of the nation’s most explosive playmakers in Rondale Moore. Home games against Northern Illinois, UNLV and East Tennessee State should be more manageable. 9. Mississippi State The Bulldogs have a rare neutral-site, non-blockbuster opener as they meet Louisiana-Lafayette in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The other 3 games are in Starkville against Southern Miss, Kansas State and Abilene Christian. 8. Ole Miss The Rebels open in the neighborhood but with a dangerous road game against Memphis. Many are predicting an upset. After that, they’re home to face Southeastern Louisiana, Cal and New Mexico State. Cal was picked to finish 5th in the Pac-12 North but did play in a bowl game last season. 7. Missouri The Tigers visit Wyoming to start, then come home to face West Virginia, which is starting anew on offense, Southeast Missouri (No. 17 in the FCS poll) and Troy. 6. Auburn These Tigers open with Oregon (No. 13 in the Coaches poll) in Cowboys Stadium, then host a Tulane team coming off a bowl win, Kent State and Samford. Auburn will be breaking in a new QB (Joey Gatewood or Bo Nix), but knocking off the Ducks could set the tone. 5. LSU The Tigers get a tune-up at home against a pretty good FCS program in Georgia Southern before visiting Texas, which is No. 10 in the Coaches preseason poll. Then it’s back to Tiger Stadium to face Northwestern State and Utah State. Utah State finished 11-2 last season and nearly upset Michigan State. They return a dangerous QB in Jordan Love (3,567 yards, 32 TDs.) 4. Georgia The Bulldogs ease their way into the season with home games against Murray State and Arkansas State before hosting preseason No. 9 Notre Dame and visiting Georgia Tech in the annual finale. This will be a new-look Tech team. Longtime coach Paul Johnson retired, which means Tech is transitioning from his triple-option attack. Geoff Collins, a former DC at Mississippi State and Florida, is Tech’s new head coach. 3. Texas A&M The Aggies host Texas State before visiting defending national champion Clemson in a nationally-televised Week 2 test. They’ll also host Lamar and Texas-San Antonio. 2. Florida The Gators have all their games at home or in not-too-far away Orlando, but they have multiple games against tough programs. It starts with Miami in Orlando on Aug. 24, followed by Tennessee-Martin, Towson (No. 11 in the FCS preseason poll) and Florida State. 1. South Carolina The Gamecocks open with Mack Brown’s first game back as North Carolina’s coach (in Charlotte), then host Charleston Southern, defending Sun Belt champion Appalachian State and close with Clemson. If you’re looking for good news, the Clemson game is at Williams-Brice, but the Tigers have won 5 in a row, including the past 2 in Columbia.
  2. This is great to hear. I estimate we average another TD scored a game if we do this.
  3. Exactly! And I also think if we have to rely on Jake to win ballgames this year for us, we're in big trouble. The running game MUST be solid, or we could easily be 5-7.
  4. I still have the baseball that he signed for our son. Right before he crossed the plate with the winning run to win the National Championship.
  5. Thought the 76ers were going to take him. Oh well, their loss. Personally I think Denver is going to win the Western Conference this year anyway. They have a great nucleus of young players.
  6. By JOE MCLEAN, and SILVIA RAMIREZ 1. Georgia: Last season Georgia went 7-1 in the conference and 11-3 overall, finishing at No. 1 in the SEC East standings. The Bulldogs' strong season came with the help of rising junior Jake Fromm, who has been playing center and completely controlling the offense to his advantage throughout his time at Georgia. Last season, Fromm completed 206 passes, 25 more passes than he completed in the 2017 season. Additionally, the Bulldogs have rising junior DeAndre Swift as a running back. Last season, Swift ran for 1,049 yards and 10 touchdowns and he is projected as a high-round NFL draft pick. A strong offense wasn't the only threat Georgia had: They were just as strong from a defensive perspective. Cornerback DeAndre Baker was awarded the Jim Thorpe Award last year as the nation's best defensive back; however, with the loss of Baker to the 2019 NFL draft, Georgia will have big shoes to fill defensively. Overall, Georgia's chemistry on offensive is a tough one to break; it is a powerhouse and will most likely continue to be at the top of the SEC East at the end of the 2019 season. 2. Florida: The Gators, who posted a 10-3 record last year, are the pick for second place in the SEC East, behind defending division champion Georgia. Coming off a 10-win season, which included a win over the Gamecocks, the Gators are returning with a lot of players from last season, including quarterback Feleipe Franks and 13 of their 17 defensive players from last year. Gators head coach Dan Mullen exceeded expectations in 2018, and with a schedule that doesn’t include Auburn or Texas A&M, the Gators are in a position to build off of last season. The Gators have been notorious for having a stellar defense in the SEC; however, the biggest question will be whether Franks can limit his mistakes, as the veteran quarterback has been inconsistent at times throughout his career in Gainesville. 3. South Carolina: The Gamecocks are at a crossroads of sorts this year. Following a 7-6 season, which included a 28-0 loss in the Belk Bowl, South Carolina is looking to bounce back in 2019. They will have talent on both sides of the ball, as they return with veteran players such as quarterback Jake Bentley and wide receiver Bryan Edwards, in addition to adding highly recruited freshman lineman Zacch Pickens. However, the schedule is considered one of the toughest in the nation with teams like Alabama, Georgia and Clemson on the schedule. It is possible that this team will be better in 2019, but the record may not reflect it, given the talent of the competition. It will be vital for the Gamecocks to keep pace in the SEC after a disappointing end to the 2018 season and to maintain the improvements they have made under Will Muschamp, despite the level of competition. 4. Missouri: The Missouri Tigers come in at No. 4 in the SEC East for our preseason picks. The Tigers are coming off a respectable 8-5 season. They gained quarterback Kelly Bryant, who transferred from Clemson, in place of former quarterback Drew Lock, who was drafted by the NFL’s Denver Broncos this past spring. Bryant was successful at Clemson and led it to an ACC title in 2017, bringing a new dynamic to the Missouri offense. However, Missouri is facing a postseason ban in 2019 due to NCAA violations. Additionally, Missouri has had problems on the defensive side of the ball recently. In 2018, the Tigers struggled to get to the opposing quarterback and ranked 108th in the country in sack rate; no defender had more than 2.5 sacks over 13 games. With the combination of questions to be answered, from defense to the bowl ban, Missouri will have a lot to prove in 2019 as they move on from the Drew Lock-era. 5. Kentucky: Kentucky is coming off one of the best seasons in its history, coming from a 10-3 in 2018. Head coach Mark Stoops was also the SEC Coach of the Year in 2018, further cementing last year’s Wildcats team as one of the best in school history. However, 2019 could be a different story, as they lost key players such as Josh Allen and Benny Snell, in addition to 12 other starters from last year. Quarterback Terry Wilson is back, but Wilson was inconsistent last year and was ranked 14th in the SEC for total passing yards. The schedule is not easy either, with games at Georgia, South Carolina and Mississippi State. The Wildcats just finished their best stretch of football in program history, but this self-proclaimed basketball school will have to prove themselves on the football field this year. 6. Tennessee: Tennessee does not have it easy on the field this year, as they face the Alabama Crimson Tide in Alabama. Tennessee was at the bottom of the SEC East standings in 2018 with their season ending 2-6 in the conference and 5-7 overall. In the upcoming season, besides having to face Alabama, the Volunteers are also facing Florida, Georgia and Kentucky. Tennessee still has too many struggles offensively to be a threat to Alabama, Florida, Georgia or Kentucky. Over the past two seasons, Tennessee has struggled offensively to move the ball. As they come into the 2019 season they must rely on a young team of freshman to carry the team because of injuries in the previous season. Starting a young core can be difficult, but may turn out in favor of the Volunteers with Wanya Morris and Darnell Wright likely to be starters this upcoming season. Tennessee was at the bottom of the SEC East standings last season but Vanderbilt may take the seventh spot this season and move Tennessee to sixth because of Vanderbilt's upcoming schedule. 7. Vanderbilt: Vanderbilt has a high chance of being moved from sixth in the SEC East in the 2018 season to seventh by the end of the upcoming season. The Commodores have a tough schedule; they do not play Alabama this season but they will have to go up against, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina, Florida and Kentucky. Vanderbilt has more of a threat this season than Tennessee does, although they are not playing Alabama. Vanderbilt's leader last season was quarterback Kyle Shurmur, who had 2,844 passing yards last season; however, he was signed this year as an undrafted free agent by the Chiefs. Without Shurmur leading the team, Vanderbilt will struggle offensively. Those struggles may push Tennessee to sixth in the SEC and Vanderbilt to seventh.
  7. Since that one is taken, I'll go with the last Carolina/Clemson game I attended in person. That would be 1987: Carolina 20, Clemson 7, Brad Edwards had 2 picks. Great atmosphere!
  8. Is he at Roselle Catholic, the same school that Chris Silva and Alonzo Frink came here from?
  9. I went to Dorman, and I'm very disappointed that neither of them appeared to seriously consider USC.
  10. Ari Fleischer: The Dems' 24 candidates is not enough because 'not one of them is any good' Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said Thursday that the 2020 presidential Democratic hopefuls’ “bad” policy ideas have emerged as the theme after two sets of debates over the past month. “The real problem Democrats have had in floor debates is because no one individual has emerged the way Donald Trump seized the moment and emerged four years ago. What’s emerged are bad ideas,” the Fox News contributor told "Outnumbered," reacting to the Democratic presidential debates Tuesday and Wednesday in Detroit. He said three main policy proposals have stood out in the first two rounds of debates: eliminating private health insurance, decriminalizing border crossings and providing taxpayer-funded health care to illegals. “These are the ideas that people will remember from the debates. There’s no one individual anyone will remember yet,” said Fleischer, who was press secretary under George W. Bush from 2001 to 2003. Former Vice President Joe Biden has maintained his front-runner status, but Fleischer believes that it is a reflection on the weakness of the field. “I think they don’t have enough candidates. 24 Democrats isn't enough because not one of them is any good and that’s what you’re seeing on stage over the floor debates we’ve seen,” Fleischer said. He added that Biden’s lead in the presidential race is not attributed to his “acumen, performance, ability, and sharpness" on the debate stage and predicted he will fade in the polls. Fleischer went on to say, “He’s yesterday senator, but because he was also yesterday’s vice president, it’s artificially propelled him to where he is now. He won’t last. Someone is going to break through and emerge. Likely this fall, early next year and then Biden, like a balloon, the air runs out of it; it just deflates and goes away."
  11. New Orleans Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin detailed the challenges of his three seasons working with LeBron James as Cleveland Cavaliers general manager, saying the experience was "miserable" and questioning James' winning instinct in Los Angeles. Griffin told Sports Illustrated for a story published Thursday that the annual challenge of building a title contender around James was too stressful, even if it did result in a championship in 2016. "Everything we did was so inorganic and unsustainable and, frankly, not fun. I was miserable," Griffin said. "Literally the moment we won the championship I knew I was gonna leave. There was no way I was gonna stay for any amount of money." Winning a title in his home state also has affected James' mindset on the court, said Griffin, who wonders whether James, now with the Los Angeles Lakers, is more preoccupied with other priorities. "There wasn't a lot else for him," Griffin said. "I don't think he's the same animal anymore about winning." Griffin told SI that he privately wept the night the Cavaliers won the title, saying he was so obsessed with winning that he "didn't love the game anymore." Griffin ultimately parted ways with the Cavaliers in June 2017, with his contract set to expire at the end of that month. "LeBron is getting all the credit and none of the blame. And that's not fun for people," Griffin said of the challenge of working with and playing with James. "They don't like being part of that world." James and Griffin have maintained a positive relationship since their time together in Cleveland. James went public with his disappointment when the Cavaliers parted ways with Griffin, and as recently as July, James took to Twitter to promote the business of Griffin's wife, Meredith Hale-Griffin, to his more than 43 million followers. The Pelicans hired Griffin in April, and he has quickly reworked the roster after losing Anthony Davis by building around No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson. Griffin said he will continue adding players if the postseason is within reach this coming season. "People are gonna be like, 'What the f--- are they doing?'" he said. "We're trying to win basketball games!"
  12. By Deroy Murdock - July 31, 2019 President Trump has feuded since Saturday with Rep. Elijah Cummings about the Maryland Democrat’s congressional district, which includes West Baltimore – its poorest section. Racism accusations are flying like feathers in a chicken coop. The following quiz should illuminate these bipartisan charges of bigotry and identify who actually talked trash about Charm City. True or False? President Trump made the following 10 statements about Baltimore: 1) “Rep, Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous. His district is considered the Worst in the USA...... “....As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded. Cumming District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place… “Why is so much money sent to the Elijah Cummings district when it is considered the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States. No human being would want to live there. Where is all this money going? How much is stolen? Investigate this corrupt mess immediately!” True! These three unedited Twitter messages, starting at 4:14 a.m. Saturday, were President Trump’s reply to Cummings’ criticism about circumstances on America’s southern frontier. These early volleys devolved into the verbal melee now underway. 2) In Baltimore, “you have impoverished communities that have been stripped away of opportunities, where children are born into abject poverty, they’ve got parents — often because of substance abuse problems, or incarceration, or lack of education themselves — [who] can’t do right by their kids.” Further, there are “no fathers who can provide guidance to young men,” and “drugs are flooding the community.” False! Obama said this in the Rose Garden on April 28, 2015. 3) “Residents of Baltimore’s poorest boroughs have lifespans shorter than people living under dictatorship in North Korea. That is a disgrace.” False! Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., wrote this on Twitter, on May 5, 2016. 4) “Anyone who took the walk that we took around this neighborhood would not think you’re in a wealthy nation…You would think that you were in a Third World country….We’re talking about a community in which there are hundreds of buildings that are uninhabitable.” False! Bernie Sanders said this, too — on December 15, 2015 5) “Whoa, you can smell the rats…Whew, Jesus. Oh, my God, you can smell the dead animals.” False! These are the videotaped words of former Baltimore Democratic Mayor Catherine Pugh, as WBFF-TV reported last Sept. 11. 6) Baltimore was ranked No. 9 among America’s Top 50 Rattiest Cities last year. False! This is the conclusion of the professionals at Orkin, the Atlanta-based extermination company. 7) “A Project Baltimore investigation has found five Baltimore City high schools and one middle school do not have a single student proficient in the state tested subjects of math and English.” False! WBFF-TV’s Chris Papst wrote this on the station’s website on May 17, 2017. Headline: “6 Baltimore schools, no students proficient in state tests.” 8) “Baltimore has by far the highest murder rate of any of the 26 big cities for which 2018 data are available. Despite a decline in murders since Baltimore’s horrific 2017…Baltimore’s 50.7 murders per 100,000 people add up to more than ten times the rate in New York City or San Diego.” False! As James Freeman explained Monday, in a fine Wall Street Journal piece, these figures are from New York University’s Brennan Center, based on Baltimore Police Department data. 9) Referring to Baltimore’s homicides: “The only people making good now are the morticians.” False! Thus spoke none other than Rep. Elijah Cummings, on August 4, 2015. 10) “I have known the little girls who I have watched grow up from babies and now selling their bodies for $5 at 14 years old. I see them every day. I know the pain of coming home and seeing my home ransacked, my car broken into because people are in so much pain they don’t even know they are in pain.” False! Elijah Cummings said this, too — on Capitol Hill on June 16, 1999 — 20 years ago. Precious little seems to have changed. There you have it: One set of negative comments about Baltimore from President Trump and nine others, from Democrats, journalists, and liberal academics. Yet somehow, only Trump’s remarks are called racist. Trump didn’t mention race. He merely described the same dire straits that bothered Baltimore’s Democratic former mayor, a socialist U.S. senator, and others on the left. Either they all are racists, or none of them is a racist, starting with President Trump. Those on the left should halt their baseless, vulgar, divisive lies about Trump’s alleged racism — or they can yell, “Racists!” at the Brennan Center and Cummings himself. Far more productive: declare a ceasefire and refocus on public policy. More of this will not help Trump. These relentless Twitter exchanges and other comments have devoured way too much time. Also, this Baltorama knocked last week’s fiasco involving former Special Counsel Robert Mueller off the radar. Pity. For Democrats, Mueller’s entire enterprise lay bleeding in their hands — until Trump’s Twitter feed torpedoed their epic fail out of the headlines. Not good. What Trump desperately needs is a junkyard dog of a press secretary, and other surrogates, who can bark and snarl at his domestic detractors. This would liberate the president of the United States to stay positive, showcase his administration’s accomplishments, and share his vision for the future. Trump should go to Baltimore and demonstrate how limited government and free-enterprise can light more of this darkness. He should visit charter schools, where pupils actually learn. “Black charter students” in Maryland, mainly in Baltimore, “made math gains equivalent to 47 extra days of learning, while Hispanic children’s advances in reading represented 77 additional days of learning,” according to Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, as The Baltimore Sun reported July 16. Trump also should tour City Life Community Builders, a new job-training facility and one of some 50 economic development projects launched in Baltimore, thanks to the Trump/GOP tax cuts and its Opportunity Zone initiative. Will President Trump take the high road and let his soldiers maintain covering fire from the low road? Not likely. But a guy can dream!
  13. With all the talk Saban has been offering about this game, Alabama might very well take us to the shed. How we respond to that will either make or break our season.
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