At the beginning of the season, South Carolina player's proclaimed that this is a "New Carolina," meaning that the past 100 years of mediocrity would be wiped away this season. That means no more "chicken curse," no more player's leaving early, no more losses to Clemson, and most of all, no more late-season slides.
Well, it seems to be reverting to "Old Carolina," with a two-game losing streak and a 6-4 record.
Two weeks ago, the Gamecocks were 6-2 and ranked in the Top 25. Their only two losses were at Georgia, which they should have won, and at Alabama, which they could have won. Now, USC is coming off two straight road beatings at the hands of Tennessee and Arkansas and still gets to play Florida and Clemson.
Most Carolina fans have written off the season, assuming that we will fall to UF and Clemson, with a loss in a bowl game if we get won.
This defeatist attitude is certainly "Old Carolina"; now it's time for the player's to show us what "New Carolina" really is.
The last two weeks have looked bad, with either a lack of effort or just exhaustion contributing to the Gamecocks poor play.
The Cocks really need to step it up over these next two games. I'm not asking for a win against Florida, although that would be nice. I just want to see the team go out and play hard for 60 minutes, and not roll over and die like last year. I am asking for a victory against Clemson. We seriously cannot let those "people" from Upstate beat us again, especially with the overrated hype-machine that is C.J. Spiller.
But, don't do it for the fans. Do it for the seniors. Moe Brown probably loves this team more than any fan and has contributed to USC both on the field and off the field in so many ways. He doesn't deserve to go out like this. Eric Norwood could be making millions in the NFL right now but chose to come back for his senior season. Don't make him regret it.
Do it for your pride. A late season collapse would kill this team more than any previous team, because of the concept of "New Carolina." That phrase has already angered some of the former player's (see, Rick Sanford), who selfishly feel that this disrespects them even though they did nothing to earn respect in the first place.
Sadly, some of the fans agree with this sentiment, and would love to jump all over this team for creating it.
Do it for the recruits. USC is on the verge of signing two big-time recruits in Sharrif Floyd and Marcus Lattimore. A four or five game losing streak would not be helpful in landing these recruits.
I for one have not given up and the season yet and really do believe this is a "New Carolina." But, to prove me right they must show heart and fight for these last two games. Let's hope they go and leave everything they have out there this Saturday against Florida.
Also, to all the message board posters and radio personalities (Duce Staley, Sanford) who want to question a guy's effort and then find out he's been playing hurt and potentially risking his promising NFL career for this team, shut up until you learn the full story. You are what is wrong with "Old Carolina" and why we need a "New Carolina" in the first place.
See you guys this Saturday at Williams-Brice.