Okay...first and foremost, I am a diehard South Carolina fan. I bleed garnet and black. (Well, technically we all bleed garnet.)
I have suffered just like every other South Carolina fan (as one Bleacher Report user called them in another article, "the Chicago Cubs of college football.")
I have never understood the amount of disrespect the Gamecocks get. The Gamecocks are average. I will openly admit that. However, they get the doormat treatment. I have never understood that...
Fans...it is OUR FAULT.
After beating No. 1 Alabama last weekend, South Carolina's expectations blew up. National championships were mentioned in major media outlets such as CBS Sportsline and CNNSI...we were media darlings and a national title dark-horse contender.
The praise was warranted...it was the biggest win in school history. Let's be realistic, though: The expectations were too high for a program that has only in the last 10 years became a factor in the SEC. (By factor, I mean team that other teams must prepare for us...or lose. We have kept a few good teams from making the championship game over the years.)
However, Kentucky brought everyone back down to Earth.
Then the fans drilled a hole to the center.
This has been the most ridiculous fan turnaround I have EVER SEEN. I have visited discussion boards on GoGamecocks.com, cockytalk.com and sportsline.com...it is all the same.
Last Week: National Championship Contender! SEC Champions! YEAH!! Revenge on All-Barn (Auburn)!!! We can do this! 11-1! Steve Spurrier is the COACH OF THE YEAR!!
This week: Another 7-5 season. Third in the East. Let's hope we can beat Vandy. Fire Spurrier!
Give Kentucky SOME respect. They have a talented offensive team, a good coach and a FANTASTIC quarterback. Randall Cobb is a machine...and they were just hungrier. They preyed on a "full" South Carolina team—a team that was "fat and happy" after such a big win...a team that lost its playmaking star to an ankle injury.
(By the way, I am not making excuses...this is the nature of the game.)
I give major props to Kentucky fans. They have not felt the need to talk junk or anything. They got a big win, and I congratulate them for handling it with some class.
This season isn't over, boys and girls. In fact, thanks to the Florida gift, South Carolina still rests at the top the SEC East standings with a one-game lead on Florida and the equivalent to a two-game lead on Georgia (thanks to the tiebreaker of us beating them).
Take a breath. The goal of this team should be to win the SEC East—period. Once you get to the championship game, it is anybody's game. Take steps, guys. If we can win the East, recruiting will improve even more. Then you can think SEC championships on a yearly basis. THEN you can start thinking national championships.
We aren't there yet. The overall goal of making the SEC Championship Game is right there for us. If South Carolina goes 9-3 and wins the East, regardless of the outcome of the championship game, this would be a landmark season.
Fans, quit with the flip-flopping. The reality is somewhere right in the middle of the two extremes.
Support the team after a tough loss; don't start talking like there is no chance. This won't be the most popular article with the fans...but the truth hurts.
Now sit back and enjoy the season, scrapping for the East.
I know I will.