Chicken & Waffles. Your new favorite dish for all things Gamecocks. Grab a cup of joe and hide your screen from your boss as we fill you in on everything happening in the world of South Carolina athletics. Get your Chicken & Waffles right here, Monday through Friday.
High marks for Birmingham Bowl
“Who would have thought one of the most exciting bowl games of the season would have involved South Carolina?” wrote CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli. “It looked like this one could prove to be a blowout early, but South Carolina fought its way back and overcame a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime. It lost, but, hey, a good time was had by all.”
Despite the less-than-stellar result, it’s great to see that so many enjoyed seeing the Gamecocks play in their 46-38 overtime loss to USF.
CBS Sports ranked Carolina’s rousing comeback as its No. 4 game of bowl season — topped only by the Armed Forces Bowl, Orange Bowl and wild Rose Bowl.
National exposure is a big part of recruiting. The more entertaining the Gamecocks are, the more likely they’re to be featured on nationally televised games.
Gamecocks get offensive …
SEC Country’s own Mike Wilson took a crack at ranking South Carolina’s top 5 offensive plays of 2016 …
I took a shot at ranking the top 5 offensive plays from South Carolina's season. Tell me how badly I did. Thx. https://t.co/7ZCFxHMI5c
— Mike Wilson (@MikeWilsonAJC) January 4, 2017
Now, Mike, I won’t belittle your picks, but I am going to champion one specifically: The Rico spin.
Coming it at No. 4, RB Rico Dowdle’s dizzying spin move for six broke a 21-21 tie with Mizzou. Not only did the run put the Gamecocks ahead, it re-energized the crowd and delivered Carolina its critical fifth win of the season.
Hard to argue with the rest of Mike’s selections, but, my goodness, that Rico juke was tremendous.
More from the win in Athens
Following their 67-61 win against the Bulldogs on Wednesday night, the Gamecocks got a major boost in their RPI ranking. Carolina now sits at No. 41, up 13 spots from its previous ranking.
Carolina (11-3, 1-0 SEC) has a big opportunity during its next five contests — with Texas A&M (No. 98), Ole Miss (No. 52) and Florida (No. 3) at home and a road contest at Tennessee (No. 84).
The Gamecocks need to keep winning and hoping that the teams they own nonconference wins against (Vermont, Michigan, Monmouth, etc.) continue to improve.
Women’s hoops rolls on
The No. 5 Lady Gamecocks (12-1) improved to 2-0 in conference play by boat-racing the Auburn Tigers, 73-47, on Thursday night.
— GamecockWBB (@GamecockWBB) January 6, 2017
More impressive than the lopsided score was junior G Kaela Davis’ performance — scoring 19 points in the first quarter alone.
Next up for Carolina: a trip to Gainesville to take on Florida (9-5) on Saturday.
Success off the field
Six teams that competed in bowl games this season own a Graduation Success Rate of at least 90%. pic.twitter.com/aXkgJG7nos
— NCAA (@NCAA) January 4, 2017
The football team’s graduation rate has been getting a lot of headlines during bowl season, but USC athletic teams, as a whole, have a lot to be proud of this year.
“The women’s tennis team led all sports with a 3.738 GPA as 15 of 18 teams posted GPAs of 3.0 or higher,” writes SEC Country’s Mike Wilson.
“The athletic department named 62 student-athletes to the President’s List, 187 to the Dean’s List and 395 to the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.”
— Charles Bloom (@CharlesBloomSC) January 4, 2017
On-field success is the most visible measuring stick for college athletics. Although academic achievements may not get the same publicity, these accolades are arguably more commendable and rewarding.
Elliott Fry’s post-football plans
Gamecocks K Elliott Fry was either inspired by Patrick Fish and Perry Orth or wanted to one-up them (or, most likely, had this idea on his own).
The Frisco, Texas, native announced on Twitter his plans to offer kicking lessons in Columbia over the next few months.
I'll be giving kicking lessons for the next few months in Columbia! Open to anyone, Direct Message me for details! pic.twitter.com/KzelcKATF7
— Elliott fry (@elliott_fry22) January 5, 2017
As a four-year starter, the Gamecocks’ all-time leading scorer certainly has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with any would-be kicking specialists.
More than his on-field success (see: 2013 at Mizzou, 2016 at Vanderbilt), Fry endeared himself to Carolina fans with his strong Twitter and Vine (#RIP) game …
— Elliott fry (@elliott_fry22) November 20, 2016
Two of my favorite Gamecocks share a moment on Twitter …
— dawnstaley (@dawnstaley) January 6, 2017
Don’t ever forget that Bryan Harper (Bryce’s mustached older brother) was a member of the Gamecocks’ 2011 national championship team …
— Bryan Harper (@BryanHarper45) January 5, 2017
Got to love seeing the Gamecocks’ Week 1 tilt listed among the top opening-week games next season …
2017. Week 1. I know it's early but…
BAMA-FSU (Atlanta) ✔️
UF-MICH (Dallas) ✔️
BYU-LSU (Houston) ✔️
VT-WVU (FedEx) ✔️
NCST/SC (Clt) ✔️ pic.twitter.com/s0aN9nnzD0
— College Sports Now (@CSNowTweets) January 5, 2017