South Carolina Preview
Of the teams I have written previews for this year I am not sure that South Carolina belongs among them. The Gamecocks played in a New Year’s Day Bowl last season, but they were the only team to lose to a Big Ten team in a bowl game. Since most of the media seems to think the Big Ten is the worst conference in the history of college football at the moment, that loss seems like a fate worse than death. When South Carolina hired Steve Spurrier as its head coach a few years ago they dreamed of having him turn their program into a juggernaut like he did at Florida. That has yet to happen, though there is some hope that this is the year that things will turn around.
Georgia flew a little bit under the radar last season. The Bulldogs were a good team that played in a big New Year’s Day bowl game. They ended up beating Michigan State in a convincing manner and finished with a 10-3 record. It was still a pretty disappointing ten win season. For one, they had the #1 overall drafts pick in Matthew Stafford at quarterback. They were thinking national title, but a loss to Alabama in late September ended that. They were then blown out by Florida, costing them any chance at the SEC title, before losing a rivalry game to a probably inferior Georgia Tech team. Georgia is left feeling like it is a little brother to LSU and Florida in the SEC. The Gators will be a consistent roadblock to Georgia’s success in their own division, and even when the Bulldogs have broken onto the big stage in the BCS they haven’t done well.
Mississippi is the hot team on everyone’s lips coming in to 2009. The main reason for this is that they were the only team to defeat national champion Florida last season. Because of that one win, which occurred on the Gators’ home field, everyone views the Rebels as a serious threat to win the SEC. Mississippi had more than just that one win last season to show they were a serious team. They also had a very impressive win at LSU by 18 points and they played Alabama close. A New Year’s Day Bowl win over Texas Tech was equally impressive, but losses to Vanderbilt and South Carolina were not.
There is a general consensus in the college football world that the 2009 national championship is Florida’s to lose. The Gators have won two of the last three national titles. Their quarterback already has one Heisman Trophy in his pocket and is virtually worshipped in Gainesville. Only one other person has won the Heisman twice, but Tim Tebow could easily become the second. They lost only once last season, by one point, on a missed extra point in the Mississippi game. They dominated everyone else, including closest contenders Oklahoma and Alabama. Many argue that no one else in America has as much talent as Florida does right now, and they are probably right. This team can only beat themselves.
Before he earned a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, before teammates pinned the “Manster” nickname on him, Randy White was a rookie with the Cowboys.
What awaited White that first day of training camp was a ritual everyone who played under coach Tom Landry endured: the Landry mile.
That wouldn’t be a problem for White. Heck, he was the second player taken in the draft. The Maryland star was an elite athlete.
“Coach Landry ran it with us and beat me by about 100 yards,” White remembered.
“OK, 200 yards,” he said. “I thought, ‘I can’t even beat the coach running a mile. Maybe I can’t play.’ “