Gamecock Thoughts: Three Months and Counting To Kickoff

DJ BatchlerCorrespondent IJune 10, 2010

COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 28:  Cocky, the South Carolina Gamecocks mascot celebrates a first half touchdown against the Clemson Tigers at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 28, 2009 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The college football conference expansion is basically everyone trying to catch the SEC and it's taking up all the news.  Everyone wants to become the dominant conference in college football and it is easy to let less nationally attractive news slip under the radar.

At South Carolina, a few things have come up worth talking about.  Rodney Paulk has been granted his sixth year of eligibility.  Paulk was such a promising commitment coming out of Richland Northeast High School.  Both the 2008 and 2009 seasons ended with knee injuries allowing him to play in just five games over those two seasons.

Paulk saw action at linebacker in four games in 2008 but in the first half of the season opener against North Carolina State in 2009 he suffered from torn knee ligaments.  Coming back for 2010, Paulk seems much focused and very determined to help fill the gap left by Eric Norwood.

Though Paulk was a true freshman in 2006, he still has impressive numbers.  23 starts in 30 games with 74 solo tackles and 111 total.  Nine Tackles for Loss, two sacks, a quarterback hurry and a fumble recovery.

Also of note, is that the yearly rivalry between Georgia and South Carolina will be renewed once again this season but will be shown on ESPN at noon.  The game will be on September 11, 2010 and will be broadcast on ESPN instead of CBS as it has been the last few seasons.

The South Carolina/Georgia and Tennessee/Oregon games were scheduled at noon and seven respectively.  Apparently the Tennessee/Oregon game will be shown on ESPN2. 

Noon isn't a horrible time slot to play but South Carolina/Georgia games tend to be 3:30pm EST games or 7:00pm EST games.  This year the winner of the Gamecocks and  'Dawgs game will have a hill to climb to get to Atlanta for the SEC Championship but the loser will have Mount Everest in front of them.

Interest is seemingly higher for this game because it does have SEC Championship implications, even that early in the season.  Tennessee and Oregon are both in the midst of messes, Oregon is far worse than Tennessee but both are close to, if not struggling. 

The only positive about not having the 7:00PM time slot on ESPN2 is the fact that on ESPN at the same time Penn State will be playing Alabama.  So the Tennessee/Oregon game won't get an incredible amount of attention, actually nothing at 7:00pm on Saturday September 11, will get attention other than the Lions and the Tide.

My issue with the noon kickoff is the heat and the culture at Williams-Brice.  There is an entire faction of Gamecocks fans who would just assume that every game is held at night, or at least late afternoon.  It seems as though the stadium and surrounding areas have an entirely different identity when the Gamecocks play at night.