Gamecocks-Hawkeyes: Stephen Garcia's Turnovers Doom South Carolina Early

James Gray IICorrespondent IJanuary 8, 2009

After hearing the 2009 Outback Bowl was being played in Tampa Bay, FL, my initial thought was, "Oh no, all of Garcia's friends and family are going to be a distraction," but after seeing the game time I knew we were doomed.

After being at Carolina for for two-and-a-half years, I know how hard our football team can party. As a matter of fact, that is about the only thing they can consistently accomplish. With the addition of Garcia to the roster, it without question put South Carolina at the top of the partying game.

I can remember back when they were demolished by the Florida Gators, Garcia still had plenty of energy left as he quickly made it down town to party the night away. There is no doubt in my mind that the dual-threat quarterback had a good time the night before and by his performance it probably was too good of a time for the redshirt freshman.

I for one am sick of the effort our football team has put out on the playing field because it seems these guys care about getting messed up rather than making a play.

With the fan base such as the Gamecock nation, who is statistically the most faithful crowd for the mediocre team South Carolina has been for years. The sad thing is South Carolina could lose every game and William Brice Stadium still would be packed the following season. 

With the elite recruiting classes that have been coming in for the past three seasons there is no reason why the Gamecocks shouldn't be competing for the SEC East title. 

In the last game it wasn't everybody's fault for their terrible showing against Big Ten "Power house" I mean Iowa. First of all the 13th overall defense in the nation was without Second Team All-SEC safety Emanuel Cook, who apparently didn't care that he only passed to classes this past semester because he was NFL bound. 

Cook was second team behind All-American Berry out of Tennessee, Cook was known for his ruthless hits with close similarities to Colts safety Bob Sanders. 

Without Cook, Coach Ellis was forced to put former wide-out sophomore Dion LeCorn at the the starting position. The inexperience was exposed in the first possession as Sophomore Chris Culliver, also a converted wide out were both used and abused letting three third-and-longs go for first downs all caught by the same tight end. 

With zero help from the offense in the first half the Gamecocks defence was on the field for over 11 minutes in the first quarter. The only five drives South Carolina had in the first half ended in an interception, a fumble, an interception, an interception, and a punt.

By halftime, the Gamecocks were in a 21 point hole and a fumble and a missed field goal resulted in 10 more Hawkeye points. 

By then the game was over; bottom line both sides of the ball didn't play, the defence played decent but not spectacular and the offense was non existent under Garcia's direction but came to life in the second half under Chris Smelley. 

Smelley replacing Garcia to start the second half ended 16-31 for 174 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions.  Garcia stunk Tampa Bay up in which he threw for 9-18 for 79 yards, three interceptions, and one fumble. 

In the final three game, Spurrier and company were outscored 118 to 30, yeah that's how bad it has been for this offense.  Sometimes you have to wonder is this team really coached by the same man who led Florida to six SEC championship games winning four of them and winning a national title in 1996. 

Gamecock nation can only hope and pray once again that things will change and can build off of Norwood's return and look ahead from there. Hopefully the team will realize as a unit that school and football should be on their top priorities during their stay in Columbia.