Tidbits - December 2, 2021

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY


ZERO
  Jimmy Pou, Thomas Shealy and I were talking about the Carolina-Clemson game around a Sunday School table.
  Jimmy and I are Carolina fans, while Thomas pulls for Clemson. All of us agreed no matter if our teams lose, it doesn’t bother us anymore. That hasn’t always been the case. Not giving a rip comes with age, I guess.
  As usual, I recorded the Carolina-Clemson game, and didn’t watch. I checked on the score at halftime, and at the end of the game, I hit rewind and didn’t watch a play. Like I said, I don’t give a rip.
  Someone posted a meme before the game that said, “You’re not hearing much from Carolina and Clemson fans before the game, because none of them knows which one of their teams will show up.”
  Carolina didn’t score a point, but scored 21 in their win over Auburn last week. All Auburn did Saturday was hold Alabama scoreless for three quarters, and had the Tide beat, until a great passing touchdown with 26 second to go in the game. As you know, Alabama won the game in overtime.
  Carolina’s offensive offense returned, but most of that can be attributed to Clemson’s outstanding defense. A tweet circulated Sunday that Clemson has played two SEC teams this year, and did not allow a touchdown. The other team that did not score a touchdown against the defense was top ranked Georgia. The Bulldogs’ only score came on a pick six.
  Clemson has had trouble on offense this year, but there has been nothing wrong with the defense. The Tigers have improved as the year has gone along, and I firmly believe if the Tigers had been able to play in the ACC title game, they would have won.
  Carolina’s woes can be attributed to poor recruiting of game breakers by Will Muschamp and staff. The receivers were a little better this year, but last year they were awful. You’ve got to have receivers who can take it to the house in the SEC. Carolina’s receivers can take it to the driveway.
  You’ve also got to have a quarterback who can throw to receivers.
  I watched former Carolina quarterbacks Jake Bentley at South Alabama and Ryan Hilinski of Northwestern play over the weekend. Both are better than any quarterback the Gamecocks currently “employ.”
  Heck, Bentley once threw for over 500-yards against Clemson. Carolina’s current threesome couldn’t combine to throw for 500-yards against Gray Collegiate.
  Shane Beamer has some decisions to make. He may need to spend some big money and hire an experienced and successful offensive coordinator. His current coordinator had never been a play caller, and it showed. He also needs an offensive line coach.
  Last but not least, he needs to get a Power 5 quarterback through the transfer portal. The Gamecocks have a commitment from a 6-6 pro-style quarterback from Delaware. Like Gunner Stockton, he has appeared in a game on ESPN.
  But, Carolina needs to get out of this freshman quarterback starting trend, Brandon McIlwain, Bentley, Hilinski, Doty, etc.
  Beamer came from Oklahoma, where the Sooners started transfer quarterbacks three years in a row, and two of them won the Heisman.
  Now, that Oklahoma Coach Lincoln Riley has announced he is going to the other USC, maybe Shane can entice a Sooner quarterback to transfer to the East coast USC. I’m recommending Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables for the Oklahoma job,by the way. He came to Clemson from Oklahoma, and all Carolina fans would love to see him return.
  We’ll find out soon about bowl destinations. Did you know this is the first year in history that all three of the state’s division one teams, Coastal Carolina, Carolina and Clemson are bowl eligible?

CHAMPIONSHIP TIME
  S.C.’s high schools will have their state championships played this week.
  All games will be played at the Charles Johnson Field at Benedict College in Columbia, where Saluda won the state championship in 2019. The days are Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
  Some are complaining on the S.C. High School Sports Group on Facebook that the stadium isn’t big enough for the championship game in the big classifications.
  This may be true. It was estimated the Saluda-Barnwell game drew 10,000 fans to the 11,000 seat stadium. Gaffney and Dutch Fork, in the 5-A game, will probably bring more than 11,000 fans.
  I hope Benedict has more than that one man directing traffic, as was the case in the traffic nightmare when Saluda played.
  Saluda’s region, past and present, will be well represented in the 2-A title game.
  Gray Collegiate won the Region 3 2A title, Saluda finished second, and Newberry third,
  Gray and Saluda were placed in the same playoff bracket, while Newberry was placed in the different bracket.
  The Bulldogs entered the play-offs with a losing record, but made it all the way to the Upperstate Championship, where the dropped a close 35-28 decision to Gray.
  Coach Phil Strickland’s last coaching year was a memorable one for the Bulldogs. I wish Phil well in his retirement.
  Gray Collegiate’s opponent in the state championship game will be Silver Bluff.
  In 2019, Silver Bluff was in the same conference with Saluda. The Tigers beat the Bulldogs 55-0 that year. Look how far Silver Bluff has come in two years.
  We have to admit Gray has  been impressive. The War Eagles opened the season with a win over Camden, who is playing for the 3A championship, and a few weeks later they lost 38-35 to Gaffney, who is in the 5A title game.
  Lets give some props to the Saluda Tigers, too. The fewest points Gray scored in a game was 20 against Saluda, and the most points Abbeville allowed this season was 34 to Saluda.
  Saluda’s three losses were to the Number 1 and 2 2A teams in S.C. and the Number 2 team in Georgia, Rabun County.
  My Facebook friend Laura Thomson McCarty, who attended Saluda High when her father was pastor of St. Paul UMC, posted that Rabun County got beat Friday in the Georgia 2A quarter finals by Thomasville, 49-24.
  After Rabun beat Saluda 63-7, I said if they were the second ranked 2A team, I’d hate to see the number one team. Thomasville, it turns out, was number one. Let’s not schedule them.
  According to Laura, Georgia doesn’t have an upper and lower state division like S.C., so Rabun County, in the upper part of Georgia had to drive six or seven hours to Thomasville in the lower part of the state.
  They got worn out on the ride and in the game.