With the New Year rapidly approaching (not to mention the end of days… Although it’s Dec 21 in Australia and they’re doing just fine, so who knows?) it’s time to count down the top 10 moments of 2012 for the South Carolina Gamecocks.
10. Ray Tanner Named Athletics Director: Instead of trying to hire a big name who knew nothing about South Carolina, the administration decided to give the AD job to Ray Tanner, who knows all about South Carolina Athletics, and is the only coach of a team sport at the university to win a national championship.
9. Landing Mr. Football in SC for the fourth straight time: Shaq Roland hasn’t really played too much for the Gamecocks yet, but he was the fourth straight Mr. Football in the state of SC that the Gamecocks landed. This year’s Mr. SC is going to Georgia, so the streak has ended.
8. The End of the 2011/2012 Men’s Basketball Season: Things went from bad to worse quickly for South Carolina that year. The team went 10-21 overall, 2-14 in SEC play and lost its final six games. The end of the season also brought with it Darrin Horn’s firing, and in turn, the best hiring the school has made athletically since Steve Spurrier became the football coach.
7. South Carolina Makes Its Third Straight College World Series Championship Appearance: The Cocks were dethroned in the final series, but they’ve now been in that final series of the CWS for three straight years. Carolina once again got into that series in dramatic fashion, knocking off Arkansas two times in a row in the semi finals, after losing to them earlier in the tournament.
6. The 2012 NFL Draft: Stephon Gilmore was drafted in 10th by the Bills, and Melvin Ingram was taken 18th by the San Diego Chargers. The total number of Gamecocks drafted was six, which put them at third in the SEC for overall draftees.
5. Carolina’s win over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl: The 30-13 blowout signaled a great 2012 to come for South Carolina football. It was also the teams first bowl victory since 2006.
4. Women’s Basketball Making the Sweet 16: At least one of the teams that calls Colonial Life Arena its home is doing well. Last year Dawn Staley’s lady Gamecocks made the sweet 16, and made some noise in the SEC by knocking off the Lady Vols and Georgia.
3. Hiring Frank Martin: I have no idea how Ray Tanner stole Martin away from Kansas State in his last move as SC’s AD, but I’m glad he did. His team is already more competitive than the guys were last year, and he’s one of the best recruiters in college basketball. The Gamecocks will be dancing soon. There’s no doubt in my mind.
2. 4-peating Clemson: This hardly needs an explanation, so I’ll just give you the combined score of the last four games: 124 to 54.
1. Beating Georgia: On Oct 6, 2012, Williams Brice was more packed than it had ever been before, and the Gamecocks did not disappoint the home crowd. The Gamecocks jumped out to a 21-0 lead, and won the game 35-7. I have never seen that stadium more crazy than when Ace Sanders returned that punt for a touchdown in the first half.