For my 7th annual football season preview, I had hoped to give my avid readers (all three of you) something special: a more in-depth review of NCAA and NFL football ball than I've ever before attempted. But alas! Between dealing with my pending court case and helping my folks move 117,532 separate items into their new abode, I haven't been able to study up properly on the upcoming season. At the very least, I'll give a preview of my three favorite teams: The Carolina Panthers (NFL), the Carolina Gamecocks, and the Clemson Tigers (both NCAA).
All I can say is eewwwww! We're gonna stink this year. Delhomme picked up right where he left off -- with 4 interceptions in the first game. Made me sick then (during last year's playoffs), makes me sick now. Add a fumble by Delhomme, an interception by another QB, and another fumble from a wet RB, and that makes !7! turnovers. It doesn't matter how good your defense is, if you turn the ball over 7 times you're going to get beat. It's as simple as that. The offensive line hasn't gelled, we don't have a QB, and the formerly formidable 'D' is getting either too old or too expensive (or both). Steve Smith can do nothing if no one can get the ball to him. We do have two great running backs, but they can't win on their own, especially not with an O-Line that is sucking wind.
I considered accepting Jesus into my heart just so I could pray for victory (or a quick death). If I thought it would help I might do it, but nothing can help the Panthers now. 4th place in the NL East would not surprise me. Hopefully, we can trade for a new QB at some point early in the season.
My Gamecocks I'm much happier about. The offense didn't look too great in their opener against NC State, but Coach Spurrier brought in a very conservative game plan. Against Georgia, he was playing to win -- and they almost did. What a show by both Georgia and South Carolina last weekend! Loved it.
QB Garcia has grown up fast, and I'm excited that we're going to have him three more years (including this one), assuming he doesn't go to the NFL. He throws hard, makes good reads, and isn't afraid to run the ball if he thinks he can get a 1st down out of it. Very spunky kid. Several WR's and a massive TE will make this a special season for Garcia.
But the real story from SC is the crushing defense. They've only gotten better. NC State and Georgia weren't giving away the ball like we normally do, we were taking it from them: interceptions, strips, and fumble recoveries. LB Eric Norwood is a one-man wrecking crew. On any play, run or pass, he has the potential to turn the game around. I'm so glad he decided to stay instead of leave early for the NFL.
Prediction: Carolina will defeat at least two top-15 teams this year and will be ranked in the top 15 themselves at some point. If you doubt me, just ask Eric Norwood...to his face.
The Tigers are in a similar position as my Gamecocks. They have some special players on both sides of the ball, and are unranked but riled to kick some unlucky team off its pedestal. Clemson, too, may take out a top 15 team this year.
Unlike the Panthers, Clemson has a serviceable QB, a tough offensive line, an a strong complement of WR's (especially Ford) to go along with their killer RB's. C.J. Spiller is set to break some records this year, and I'm going to enjoy watching it.
How far will Clemson go? For me, it all depends on Coach Dabo Sweeny. If he's got the skills to pay the bills, then the Tigers might see a decent bowl game this year.
And that concludes the Crappiest Ever Edition of Praise Galt for Football. I'm make sure not to get arrested for legally protesting next year, and do it justice. :)