Saturday, November 06, 2004
This is South Carolina Football
So, going into the 2004 football season...
The University of South Carolina began playing football in 1892. Since then, they have had an all-time winning percentage under .500, which ranks 92nd all-time in D-1A football...only 25 programs have been worse. A few of the notable football programs who have been better than the Gamecocks include such powerhouses as: Duke, Western Michigan, Tulsa, Toledo, Navy, UAB, Central Florida, Ball St., North Texas, Nevada, East Carolina, Houston, Northern Illinois, Utah St., San Jose St., Vanderbilt, Akron, Baylor, UNLV, Kansas, and Rutgers just to name a few. This is South Carolina Gamecock football.
Since the Associated Press began ranking football teams in 1936, the Gamecocks have finished in the top 20 of the rankings only five times. Carolina has never finished in the Top 10 of a major recognized poll. South Carolina won its first bowl game 103 years after they started playing football. In over 100 seasons of football, Carolina has yet to participate in one of the "Big 5" Bowls (Rose, Sugar, Orange, Fiesta, Cotton). As Carolina is set to begin this season of collegiate football, they have won 10 or more games in a single season once. Since 1892, South Carolina has had only 42 winning seasons and 52 losing seasons. This is South Carolina Gamecock football.
South Carolina has had 32 different head coaches in its storied tradition...only five of them stayed longer than 5 seasons, 21 of them have losing records. Of the 56 programs which have played more than 1000 games all-time, only four have scored fewer points than South Carolina in their schools history. This is the tradition of South Carolina Gamecock football.
In the 50+ seasons Carolina has been affiliated with a conference, they have won that conference once...the ACC in 1969, with a 7-4 record. Since joining the SEC in 1992, Carolina has had a winning record in the conference twice (2000 and 2001). In the twelve seasons as a member of the SEC, Carolina boasts a conference record of 35-68-1...only two teams have been worse: Kentucky has 27 wins, Vanderbilt 12. Although Carolina has yet to finish in the top two of the Eastern division, they have finished last twice (1998 and 1999). Carolina has yet to win six conference games in a season. And no one should forget the fact that Carolina went two consecutive seasons without winning one conference game, not one (1998 and 1999). Carolina had an impressive string of 21 consecutive games with a loss snapped in 2000 by beating New Mexico State (then let the rest of the country know what Carolina football was all about by tearing down the goal-posts). Since 1992, only three times has any non-probation member of the conference failed to win two or more games overall in a season...South Carolina has accomplished this feat twice, Kentucky once. Since 1992, only once has a conference member failed to win a game overall in a single season...you guessed it, South Carolina. South Carolina’s all-time record versus other current conference members is even more impressive: 2-9 vs Alabama, 4-8 vs Arkansas, 1-4-1 vs Auburn, 3-18-3 vs Florida, 13-41-2 vs Georgia, 8-6-1 vs Kentucky, 2-14-1 vs LSU, 5-7 vs Ole Miss, 5-6 vs Mississippi St., 2-18-2 vs Tennessee, and 11-2 vs Vanderbilt. That’s correct, Carolina leads the all-time series against 2 SEC teams...Kentucky and Vanderbilt. This is South Carolina Gamecock football.
South Carolina vs. Others
The comparison of only 12 seasons in one conference does no justice to the tradition of South Carolina football. So lets compare the Gamecocks record versus D-1A schools they have played 30 or more times: 35-62-4 vs Clemson, 13-41-2 vs Georgia, 33-21-2 vs Wake Forest, 24-27-4 vs NC State, 16-34-4 vs North Carolina, 17-24-3 vs Duke, and 20-13-1 vs Virginia. That’s correct, Carolina leads the all-time series against 2 of these 11 teams...Virginia and Wake Forest. This is South Carolina Gamecock football.
Last 10 Years
But all this tradition and past records are meaningless. What is more important is the recent history. Only losers live in the past. We are in the best years of Carolina Gamecock football, and the future has never been brighter...or has it? For perspective, let's look at the last ten years...Carolina is coming off another losing season, the 6th in the last 10 seasons. Overall record since Lou Holtz became Head Coach is 27-32 (.458). Since 1994 they are 50-64. Remarkably, Carolina has finished in the Top 25 twice in the last 10 seasons and been won all three bowl games in that span. But before you get too excited, remember these are the only 3 bowl games they've EVER won. The three seasons they've allowed the most points all came within the last 10 years. This is South Carolina Gamecock football.
The 2002 season marked a significant time in South Carolina Gamecock football history. On November 9, South Carolina was defeated by Arkansas giving South Carolina their 500th loss in history. Currently there are 16 members of the elite "500 Club", five of them with better win percentages than the Gamecocks (Virginia, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Kansas, and Rutgers). In the middle of the season, the Gamecocks were within 1 game of reaching .500 winning percentage at 489-490-44. What would they do? Could USC reach the elusive benchmark of minimal mediocrity? No. They lost five straight to close the season at 5-7 and miss the post season by one game. This is South Carolina Gamecock football.
The Gamecocks fell to 0-9 the last two years in games that could've gained them a bowl bid. The final defeat was a humiliating trouncing at home to their arch-rival Clemson 63-17. Many records were set or tied in the "rivalry" game including most points scored by a team. Coach Holtz said afterwards that he's "embarrassed like I've never been before"...
This is South Carolina Gamecock Football.
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