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Carolina’s Secondary Has Improved, But The Schedule’s Helped

South Carolina’s pass defense is the second-best in the SEC to Alabama.  It’s third-best in the nation behind Michigan State and the Tide.

Not too shabby, eh?

On the season, the Cocks have allowed just 1087 yards through the air and 508 of those came in Carolina’s first two games against East Carolina and Georgia. 

So what changed from those first two games to the last six?

“There are not as many checks and audibles,” safety DaVonte Holloman told The Charleston Post & Courier.  “We’re not making as many pre-snap calls.”

Steve Spurrier said that “there are fewer mistakes” as well.  “I think that’s a big part of it, and just the guys playing hard, playing their assignments, playing with effort.”

Fewer pre-snap calls.  Fewer mistakes.  Better play.

Yes, yes and yes.

But there’s also this factor — take a look at who Carolina has played:


Opponent
Passing Offense National Rank
Yds Vs Carolina
East Carolina
#11
260
Georgia
#54
248
Navy
#119
61
Vanderbilt
#108
73
Auburn
#104
112
Kentucky
#115
17
Miss. State
#81
165
Tennessee
#45
151



There’s been a pretty steep drop-off in the passing ability of Carolina’s opponents over the past few weeks.  And don’t forget, the Tennessee of that high national ranking is quite different than the Tennessee USC faced on Saturday night… the one with the true freshman quarterback making his first start.

This doesn’t mean that Carolina’s secondary hasn’t improved and hasn’t played well in recent weeks.  But it does mean anyone expecting the Gamecocks to squelch Arkansas’ passing game on Saturday will likely come away disappointed. 

The Razorbacks — for comparison’s sake — rank 9th nationally in passing offense.  And unless Melvin Ingram, Jadeveon Clowney and the Carolina pass rushers can mount some serious pressure, Tyler Wilson will likely put up some passing numbers reminiscent of those posted by ECU and Georgia earlier this season.

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Big East Talks Expansion; All SEC Eyes On Missouri

Expansion is once again making headlines on this Monday morning and here’s a bit of what’s out there in the ether today:


1.  The Big East’s 14 remaining presidents (football schools, basketball schools and member-to-be TCU) have given Commissioner John Marinatto the go-ahead to “aggressively pursue discussions” with interested schools.

ESPN’s Andy Katz reports that a source told him the possible expansion targets discussed during a Sunday meeting of league presidents were: Navy, Army, Air Force, Temple, Central Florida and SMU. 

Not mentioned by Katz: East Carolina. 

We have nothing against ECU and would be happy to cover them should they get an SEC invitation.  But that’s just not going to happen.  ECU has already applied for membership in the Big East yet they don’t appear to be on top of the league’s wish list… even though the Big East appears to be willing to add just about any school other school in the nation in order to stay alive.

We’ve seen and posted the “Undaunted” video on our site.  Judging by the number of people who’ve watched it and fully gulped down its message, you’d think it was produced by Leni Riefensthal.  But while AD Terry Holland definitely puts ECU’s best foot forward, his school doesn’t have very much chance at all of landing an SEC bid.

Expansion is partly about “status.”  Adding a school that the on-life-support Big East isn’t rushing to grab wouldn’t exactly be the equivalent of Mike Slive parking another BMW in the SEC’s garage.


2.  Katz also reports that UConn still wants to move to the ACC, but Huskies officials believe that league is slowing on the expansion front.  ACC commish John Swofford has said that he’s not opposed to the idea of a 16-team league, but it’s believed he’d like to nab Notre Dame at #15 before inviting UConn for the conference’s 16th slot.


3.  Looks as though the rumor about West Virginia having 48 hours to join the Big 12 or else was pure bunk.  That’s why — despite having it emailed to us 40 times last week — we never posted the rumor that initially began on a Cincinnati Bearcats blog. 

Missouri’s board of curators is scheduled to meet tomorrow.  No wise school president would take his team into the Big 12 without assurances that that league is totally stable.  That will require a firm “we’re in” from Mizzou.

Knowing that, if the Big 12 is out offering invitations right now, it’s highly doubtful that it’s in any position to be making ultimatums of any kind to any school.


4.  Speaking of Mizzou, it’s expected that the school will make an announcement tomorrow either stating that MU is a proud member of the Big 12… or that the board has empowered chancellor Brady Deaton to explore realignment options.  In fact, one Big 12 official told The Kansas City Star yesterday that he expects Mizzou to announce that Deaton has been given the power to look around.

That’s a toughie, of course, because Deaton — in a ridiculous conflict of interest — is currently serving as the chairman of the Big 12′s board of directors.

Granting Deaton the power to look around would be a stall tactic for Mizzou.  It would allow Missouri to wait and see if the Big 12 can work out its revenue-sharing plan and the hubbub surrounding the Longhorn Network before making a final choice.

Big 12 presidents met yesterday to discuss league stability.

Bottom line: Missouri might make some type of announcement tomorrow, but there’s no guarantee that announcement will bring this round of SEC expansion to a quick conclusion.

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