South Carolina Football: Why I Hate Watching "Cupcake" Games
South Carolina, I will admit, has some cupcakes on this year's schedule. Or at least games that the Gamecocks will be heavily favored in.
One of these games is against the ECU Pirates who are 24.5 point underdogs. While ECU is the most dangerous of the "cupcakes," a good team should have no problems pounding the Pirates. The Gamecocks still have UAB and Wofford.
Now, I am not calling the Gamecocks out on their schedule. It's brutal, and they need these types of games. Every team has them, so there is no point in arguing about who has a more "cupcakes." I also believe that these games do worlds of good for the smaller schools monetarily. I think that's great.
But as a fan...specifically a Gamecocks fan...I hate watching them, and I hate when they come up on the schedule.
You're Supposed to Win
When you are supposed to win, the pressure is on you. These lower-level teams have nothing to lose. If you're supposed to win, there is only one of two things that can happen.
You can either win, which is expected, so not exciting. It's actually pretty boring.
Oh Lord, If You Lose...
If you lose, be prepared. The scorn from the opposition, media and even your own fanbase will be enough to make you want to ignore football for the rest of the season.
If it's really bad, lets say Michigan/Appalachian State bad, you'll never hear the end of it.
You Better Blow Them Out...
If you struggle against a lower-level team for even part of a game (Georgia, Florida, I've even heard complaints about Arkansas letting Jacksonville State score 24) then you failed a test.
Heck, even Carolina beating a team like Vanderbilt (they'll earn some credit this year) by four is a disaster.
If you aren't blowing the team out, be prepared for the media to call you a failure or question your integrity. What's the point? Once again, blowouts aren't always exciting, and close games against bad teams are horrible, because even if you win, you get a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach.
Game Attendance and Crowd Support
It's tough to sell out games vs. Wofford. It just doesn't happen often. Even if the game is considered "sold out," people don't always come. You have empty seats and just a poor game environment.
Then, it falls back to the "You better blow them out..." slide. If the team is blowing out the opposition, the fans lose interest and file out. This goes for every team I have ever watched in a blowout, so I hope there are no "our program doesn't do that" folks. You're lying. You know you are.
If you're losing, then the fans are so stunned, they can hardly speak.
It just stinks.
How do you prepare for these games? If the team is inferior on paper, do you go all out? What if you're blowing them out in the second quarter? Does all that work go out the window since the opposition will change their normal game plan?
What about if you are super-prepared, have a hard week of practice, destroy the team you are supposed to destroy and then come back out and lose next week in the "big game?" Would you eat yourself alive for not looking ahead?
The Bottom Line...
I just can't wait to watch South Carolina play Missouri.
Have a great weekend of college football, and good luck to all who are going up against cupcakes. I hope they are delicious.