21
Oct
10

Cock-a-doodle-did-it!

More than 40 San Antonio Gamecock fans – our biggest showing yet – erupted in delirium Saturday as our beloved, snake-bitten Carolina pulled off its biggest football win in school history.

Yes, folks, the Chicken Curse lost its mojo for the day, as the Gamecocks (known nationwide for blunders, busted plays and bad luck) just plain outplayed the No. 1 team in the nation. Final score: Alabama 21, South Carolina 35.

The scene at Fatso’s was incredible: Some of us have waited decades – and I mean decades – for a victory of this magnitude. After all, Carolina has long been an also-ran in the SEC. Until yesterday, we were 0-4 against No. 1-ranked opponents. We haven’t won a divisional championship in more than 40 years, since we were part of the ACC. And here’s one that says it all: We’ve won just four bowl games in school history.

With that kind of past looming in our minds, you’ll understand why our cheers – some mingled with joyful tears – rocked the Fatso’s house. Our small group was louder and more boisterous than the large fan clubs assembled from schools such as Texas A&M and Michigan State.

Early in the second half, I’d posed a question on my FaceBook page: Is this it? Is this The One?

And, yes, it was! Our Gamecocks played to win, not to lose. Junior quarterback Stephen Garcia, after being pulled from the Auburn game for fumbling twice, had his best showing ever. He threw three touchdown passes, two to Alshon Jeffery, and our amazing true-freshman running back Marcus Lattimore scored three times.

Better yet, we totally shut down Alabama’s Heisman-winning Mark Ingram, who totaled 41 yards on 11 carries. And we brought Crimson Tide quarterback Greg McElroy down to earth by giving him his first loss since eighth grade. Yes, you read that correctly: eighth grade.

Collecting on a big wager?

As some of you know, my husband has always been quite confident that my Gamecocks will never be able to shake the Chicken Curse. He’s a University of Texas grad accustomed to backing a winning program, although things aren’t looking so rosy this year.

Bruce’s confidence in the Curse and my faith in the Gamecocks resulted in a hefty wager: We’re in the second year of the five-year Great Bet, which means I collect $5,000 if my Gamecocks win the SEC championship by the 2013 season.

Last night, for the first time, he began seriously considering that he might actually have to pay up. Sports prognosticators are using the words “South Carolina” and “SEC East Championship” in the same breath, and some of our best players will be returning for several more years.

I say it’s going to happen; we’re really going to do it. And I’m pretty vocal about it. Bruce says, and I quote, “Go ahead and rub it in each time you win, unless you lose.” Thank you, Yogi Bruce. Will do.

The SEC and the BCS

After my Gamecocks beat No. 1 Alabama – until yesterday considered an odds-on favorite to take one of the BCS national championship berths – some SEC fans said the Tides’ loss weakened the conference and ensured that no SEC team will appear in the championship game.

No. 8 Auburn and No. 12 LSU are the SEC’s sole undefeated teams, and both won on-the-road squeakers this weekend vs. Kentucky and Florida, respectively.

According to the New York Times, “The biggest loser, other than Alabama, could be the Southeastern Conference. The league has won the past four BCS title game but could end up without a team playing for the championship for the first time since 2005.”

All of this gnashing of teeth about whether the SEC will have a horse in the BCS championship race grates on me. We won a big game – finally and after enduring years of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory – and folks complain because it shakes up the SEC?

C’mon, people. I like the fact that my Gamecocks are part of a dominant conference just as must as anyone. But let’s share the wealth: Alabama, LSU, Georgia and Florida have had more than their fair share of celebrating.

What’s that noise I hear? Oh, yes, I recognize it. It’s the sound of ‘Cocks crowing from coast-to-coast.

 

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