South Carolina Blog - College

  • Wed Jul 04 07:27am EDT

    Pic of the Day – July 4

    This picture of flags flying over the South Carolina State House was taken on July 2, 2010 by Paul Collins.

    To view the GamecockCentral photo archive, click here.

  • Sun Jul 01 10:32pm EDT

    Erin Andrews to Fox

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Erin Andrews will host Fox's new college football pregame show.

    Two days after ESPN said the broadcaster was leaving after eight years, Fox officially announced her hiring Sunday. Andrews also will contribute to the network's NFL and Major League Baseball coverage among other sports.

    The main Fox network will start its first regular-season college football package this fall. The 30-minute pregame show will premiere Sept. 1.

    The popular Andrews has over 1.3 million Twitter followers. She calls the new job a ''once in a lifetime opportunity.''

    Fox Sports Media Group Co-President Eric Shanks calls Andrews ''one of the hardest-working, most-respected individuals in sports television.''

  • Sun Jul 01 02:30am EDT

    Pic of the Day – July 1

    Sept. 24, 2011. D.J. Swearinger makes a during the 2011 Vanderbilt game.

    Photo taken by Paul Collins

    To view the GamecockCentral photo archive, click here.

  • Sat Jun 30 05:47am EDT

    Pic of the Day – June 30

    Sept. 24, 2011. Jadeveon Clowney has his eyes on the defender during the 2011 Vanderbilt game.

    Photo taken by Paul Collins

    To view the GamecockCentral photo archive, click here.

  • Fri Jun 29 01:46pm EDT

    Pic of the Day – June 29

    Sept. 24, 2011. A 22-yard TD run by Marcus Lattimore during the 2011 Vanderbilt game.

    Photo taken by Paul Collins

    To view the GamecockCentral photo archive, click here.

  • Thu Jun 28 04:04pm EDT

    Pic of the Day – June 28

    Nov. 12, 2011. Travian Robertson, Melvin Ingram and Kelcy Quarles say hello.

    Photo taken by C.J. Driggers

    To view the GamecockCentral photo archive, click here.

  • Wed Jun 27 12:30am EDT

    Pic of the Day – June 27

    Sept. 10, 2011. Melvin Ingram returns a funt punt for a touchdown against Georgia.

    Photo taken by C.J. Driggers

    To view the GamecockCentral photo archive, click here.

  • "Nothing lasts forever."

    --------------------------- QUEEN

    Still in shock? Me too.

    We all knew this day had to come. Nobody wins forever. UCLA had to quit winning basketball titles, Oklahoma had to lose a football game and even Arkansas missed a couple of track and field championships over the past 40 years.

    South Carolina won back-to-back national championships, something only five other teams in college baseball history have done, and played in the College World Series finals for three straight years, which only three teams have done. That it lost, to a pitching-studded Arizona squad, is not a knock on what it has accomplished. Put it this way — if you're crying because the Gamecocks didn't win a third straight national championship, that's wasted tears.

    It is surprising, though, just because of how it ended. Honestly, after the first loss to Arkansas, I was planning to come home and go on vacation. I figured it would be over on Thursday, when USC would have had to win two games in a day, and if not then, then on Friday.

    But it wasn't over, and when the Gamecocks beat Arkansas to advance to the finals, I figured they were going to win the whole thing one more time. It was too perfect — come back through the loser's bracket, with a different-looking team but still the one that had worn that same uniform for the past two championships. The Gamecocks would win one more time and keep this incredible run going.

    Then the Wildcats quickly and efficiently took USC's crown. They made the plays that the Gamecocks made the past two years, and their pitching was absurdly good. USC couldn't touch Konner Wade or James Farris with a snow shovel and the Wildcats collected two-out RBIs like a date with Jenn Brown depended on it.

    The better team won. It was a hard truth to accept. But it was. USC had beaten the better teams, definitely in 2011 and arguably in 2010, for the two titles. Arizona was the better team and won the title.

    But Monday night was no time to feel bad. It was a time to reflect.

    Just think how far the program has come.

    The Gamecocks are not just a good program anymore. They're one of the elite. Elite teams go to six College World Series in 11 years and finish in the top two in four of them. Elite teams win 158 games in a three-year stretch. Elite teams play for three straight national championships.

    USC is the top program in the state, and really in the Carolinas. It's a strong argument that it's the top team in the Southeast, although other teams in the SEC might have something to say about that.

    That won't go away overnight, or even in five years. USC is here to stay. The recruiting is top-notch, and after a three-year run where the Gamecocks have become the sport's poster boys, there's no reason to think that they won't be back in Omaha sooner or later.

    It was surprising to see USC play so valiantly to get to the finals and then not finish, but as Ray Tanner is fond of saying, "That's baseball." Nobody wins forever, especially in this game, and the Gamecocks had a great run that ended just short of something so memorable that it's difficult to think about — to win the whole shootin' match three years straight, when the season is such a grind, would have been a miracle equal to the producers deciding to stop making "Final Destination" films.

    I'll be wrapping up the season in a few days, and looking ahead to next year. As LB Dantzler pointed out, fall practice is just around the corner. It won't be that long before I'll be back at scrimmages.

    It's been another fun two weeks.

    Even without the trophy.

    * I lost my raincoat within three days of being here. Didn't really need it this trip, but that was a good raincoat. If anybody managed to pick up a blue hooded coat from the "A" lounge of the Omaha airport, I'd appreciate a call.

    * I had four trips to The Drover and may go back again today. I think I've had every whiskey cut on the menu by now.

    * Our Omaha tradition of playing catch/taking infield practice was held to one this trip, due to Creighton's ground crew working on the field when we went out there and the lateness of USC's games. But we still had a good time, although two baseballs are beneath the softball field stands. Good luck to whoever finds them.

    * Speaking of those times, the NCAA folks agreed that starting the games so late was an awful hindrance. Next year, the games should return to 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The only problem is, year after next, the games may be even worse. The World Cup will be shown on ESPN, and there's only an hour difference in TV broadcasts. Could be rather bad.

    * So I lost the rubber button off the side of my phone while interviewing Michael Roth after the Kent State game. I didn't notice until I got back to the pressbox (four floors up) and tried to access the camera. I had to go back down the elevator and hunt on the floor until I found the little strip of black rubber (which blended in nicely with the floor) and masking-taped it in place.

    * It was a tape kind of weekend. My right Nike separated from its sole playing infield. I borrowed some tape from the Creighton training room and made do.

  • Tue Jun 26 03:41am EDT

    Pic of the Day – June 26

    June 28, 2011. Michael Roth delivers in Game 2 of the 2011 National Championship series.

    Photo taken by Paul Collins

    To view the GamecockCentral photo archive, click here.

  • "Yeah, you got my back against the wall."

    ------------------------------ CAGE THE ELEPHANT

    USC is back against the wall. No biggie.

    You could kind of see it coming. The Gamecocks had to burn an extra pitcher or two get here, and when they did, Ray Tanner went to the cupboard and only Forrest Koumas was there. He went into Game 1 hoping that Koumas could channel the Omaha magic that USC has worked so well over the past two years, but he couldn't.

    I really thought that it would happen again, once Seth Mejias-Brean Bill Buckner'ed Joey Pankake's ground ball to start the game. At that point, I thought, "Man, it's gonna go their way again." Then Alex Mejia made a fantastic play on Evan Marzilli's grounder to start a double play, and I thought, "Well, might be here a while."

    So USC lost, and is down one game. Not ideal, but not a hair-on-fire situation. Nobody's panicking, because honestly, it was probably a bit expected. Koumas was pitching with a busted elbow and hadn't thrown since May 25, and there was no other option.

    Now the contingency plan slips into gear. USC caught a break early on Monday when Arizona re-addressed its pitching status for tonight — James Farris, not Kurt Heyer, will pitch. That alone gives the Gamecocks a huge sigh of relief and may come back to hurt Arizona. If the Wildcats were playing Mortal Kombat right now, they just had the screen light up to "Finish him!" and instead let him get back up.

    The Gamecocks will have Michael Roth out front, their ace, their guy, their standby. In short, the guy that has been so good so many times that playing behind him automatically raises the confidence and the self-expectation to take it up a notch. As Grayson Greiner and Marzilli each said, this is no strange situation. USC was here after the second-game loss to Arkansas, and is here again.

    No big deal.

    * Lot of Gamecock fans flew into Omaha for the championship series, and many were out on the town last night. The game flew by, so several were drowning their sorrows/confidently predicting two wins in the next two games.

    * Already saw two T-shirts, in red and navy blue, that say "2012 NCAA baseball champions, Arizona Wildcats." Hey, I also know a guy with a "Buffalo Bills 1993 World Champions" cap.

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