Paging Jethro Bodine

I attended the University of South Carolina but certainly wasn’t a math major. To fulfill my graduation requirements, I took Math 101, which involved addition and subtraction, with a dash of multiplication thrown in to lower my GPA.

My father is a math genius – for real – but his aptitude skipped a generation. Well, that’s not strictly true: My sister is an insurance analyst, so perhaps the aptitude for calculations skipped only me.

Anyway, I was having a rip-roaring good time at work today writing employee reviews (thank goodness the numerical ratings are automatically calculated) when I received an e-mail from a friend outlining all the possible outcomes in the SEC East.

After reading through the various scenarios, I emerged from the fog of numbers with just one takeaway: My Gamecocks control their own destiny.

Three games. Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida. That’s it. That’s all we need to take the championship.  (Of course, there are other mathematical permutations that could give us the title, but they’re too complicated for me to wrap my brain around.)

The easiest way for us to achieve our collective SEC East goal is by powering through with three consecutive wins, starting Saturday.

Unfortunately – or fortunately, given that I’m the checkbook-balancer at our house – I can count to three. And if you look back at the Gamecocks’ record you’ll see we haven’t won three in a row in the second half of the season since 2005, the first year of the Steve Spurrier era.

In fact, in three of the past five years, we’ve capped off our SEC seasons with losses to, yes, Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida. So, just to make things easier, we’re going to have to ask Florida and Georgia to help us out here by losing a few.

Then again, maybe lightning will strike and the Gamecocks will do me a favor by running the table. That would be the most satisfying route to Atlanta, and it would save me the trouble of trying to determine who has to lose, how many, and to whom.

After all, given my math skills, figuring it out would involve effort, along with some fancy cipherin’. And let’s face it: When it comes to cipherin’, I’m no Jethro Bodine.


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