We have the opportunity in Columbia SC to make a statement about our program and to put doubt in the minds of many a Gamecock fan as to if the glory days of the past three seasons will soon become a fading memory.
South Carolina’s rise to prominence began in 2007, and has been fueled by the controversial oversigning which took place which aided the Gamecocks rise. The changes made in 2012 with the new 25/85 rule are slowly having an impact with South Carolina and will become even more problematic.
So I examine some of the issues that face South Carolina which impacts what I see as a slow demise of the program:
1. The State of South Carolina ranks at or near the bottom of any Educational Survey concerning test scores and any other criteria for it’s High School Seniors. The Coastal areas of South Carolina which produce a larger number of top prospects ranks last in test scores for South Carolina. Even though there are easier Admission standards to South Carolina, prospects getting the test scores needed and meeting the league requirements for admission is not an easy one with recruiting this state (you may notice Clemson takes far more from the upstate where test scores are much higher).
2. The ability to Oversign by big numbers for Spurrier and getting the large number of players from those classes (shown below), began the rise to 11 win seasons. I wrote in an article, when the new rules on oversigning came about, that the big winners would be UGA and Florida, because of the quality recruits within these states, and the fact they had not oversigned in this era, knowing how to live within the new rules.
Class sizes: 2007—31; 2008—23; 2009—29; 2010—23, 2011–32 for a five-year total of 138. (SCAR)
Class sizes 2007—17; 2008—24; 2009—19: 2010—19, 2011 –26 for a five-year total of 105 (UGA)
33 more players than UGA prior to the 25/85 rule
I also wrote South Carolina would be the big losers with the 25/85 rule. Spurrier oversigned in the previous era, and would send several players to JUCO’s and prep schools, eventually bringing back those players needed and let the others go…..because the thought was that SCAR could just keep oversigning classes and taking chances on potential academic failures.
Since the 25/85 rule things are changing
2012 —-25, 2013—–21, projected class for 2014 —35: 3 year total 81(SCAR)
2012 —-19; 2013 —-33, projected class for 2015 —29: 3 year total 81(UGA)
Oversigning worked to a full class more every 4 years for South Carolina. Of course this was before the 25/85 rule, but like a rat in a cage clawing your way out or up is tough now. South Carolina having 7 non-qualifers for the 2014 class becomes a recruiting groundhog day for South Carolina of larger classes, more JUCO’s. It also means more EE’s to fill the previous 25 openings, maybe some kids you might normally have past on. Spurrier never had to worry about Roster Management before, but he better now, as smaller numbers means you can make fewer mistakes.
3. The spoiled South Carolina fans are not use to winning and have forgotten losing. Recruits will soon become aware that the fans will boo, leave the stadium upon getting behind in games, and lack the tradition of backing teams no matter what. If South Carolina begins some losing at home their one and only true tradition will come forth, their long tradition of fairweather fans. This will not help recruiting.
This Saturday afternoon presents the opportunity to display two possible polar opposites…..the potential rise of UGA and the slow demise of Spurrier and South Carolina. If South Carolina does not win this game, they could slowly mire themselves once again in mediocrity.
Now it is my view the future of the SEC East will not be determined in Columbia SC, but eyes will once again be focused upon the teams that play in Jacksonville
GATA ALWAYS…..UGA wins 31-23.