Pigskin Prophet: South Carolina to hire Knute Rockne edition


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Pigskin Prophet: South Carolina to hire Knute Rockne edition

The search for a new football coach at South Carolina is underway.

Will Muschamp’s crew was obliterated at Ole Miss last weekend, and it didn’t really appear as though Muschamp was engaged in the game. I drove the team bus – the chicken trucks you see on the highway are similar – so I was standing on the sidelines when Muschamp had a meltdown at the end of the first half. A lot of South Carolina fans thought he was angry over a play that should have been ruled a sack, but that wasn’t case.

An Ole Mess official had told him a few players earlier that there wouldn’t be hot dogs and chips in the Gamecock locker room during halftime, just popcorn. Muschamp loves his hot dogs and chips and has been known to rehydrate with three cokes and replenish his fuel with nine hot dogs and several bags of chips while his assistants go over adjustments. (Some of those adjustments are simple stuff, like, “can you please make a tackle?”)

Muschamp heard about the no hot dogs deal and went ballistic, and Ray Tanner knew it was time to make a change. My firm has been hired to be a part of the search process, and Coach Tanner sat with me in the cab of the chicken truck on the way back to Columbia and outlined what he was looking for – must have Hall of Fame credentials, be over the age of 65, have an AARP membership, and be way past his prime.

That night, I got an email from Coach Tanner on his top candidates that we need to vet:

1. Knute Rockne

2. Bear Bryant

3. Mike Krzyzewski (I am not sure he understands on this one, but he’s the boss)

4. Amos Alonzo Stagg

5. John Heisman

6. Woody Hayes

7. Bill Snyder (still alive!!)

8. Bobby Bowden (still alive!!)

We “reached out” to all of these coaches or their surviving family members to gauge interest, and it appears that none of them are interested. I had to explain “moral turpitude” to Coach Tanner when he inquired about Hugh Freeze, and he was aghast at what I had to tell him. We did agree that if we reached out to Coach Freeze, we would get him two or three burner phones for extra protection. Right now, however, the leader in the clubhouse is Jake Dickert, who is the defensive coordinator over a Washington St. defense that consistently gives up over 500 yards per game. In Tanner’s words, “he could be the next Will Muschamp, he doesn’t have lip sores, and he doesn’t like hot dogs!!”

I will keep you updated. Now onto some picks.

FRIDAY

SYRACUSE AT LOUISVILLE

Two bad defenses. One bad offense. Sounds like the team with the fairly ok offense will win. And that’s Louisville. And they are at home, in a place that is like a low-rent Columbia, complete with stadium denizens and cabooses and lots of liquor. LOUSIVILLE 38, SYRACUSE 20

SATURDAY

CLEMSON AT FSU

Remember when this was the ACC’s premier game? And when Florida St. mattered nationally? And their stadium as ok and not what it is now? Then Jimbo Fisher happened. And then Willie Taggart happened, and that was worse. And now Mike Norvell is dealing with Covid and defections and injuries and apathy, and even the professor who comes to games to take his shirt off and read books isn’t even around, preferring to sunbathe at the baseball stadium. It’s bad in Tallahassee, so bad that the police don’t even have any players to arrest and no crab legs have been stolen in years. This one won’t be close. CLEMSON 62, FSU 10

INDIANA AT OHIO ST

Hey, look, we have a Big 10 matchup that might be fun to watch!!! Listen, the Big 10 is a mess, and Ohio St. might only get to play five or six games, and one of those is against a woeful Michigan team, so they need big wins. Indiana has played well this season and is ranked in the top ten, and they can give the Buckeyes a fight for a half. But that’s it. Michael Penix is good, but the Hoosiers are one dimensional and Ohio St. is not. OHIO ST. 43, INDIANA 23

KENTUCKY AT ALABAMA

There were some who thought Kentucky would have a decent season, and there was a big win over Tennessee and the win over Miss St., but there have been some hard luck losses along the way. And talk about one dimensional? They are it. This one won’t be close but it might be entertaining. ALABAMA 44, KENTUCKY 17

VIRGINIA TECH AT PITT

I don’t know what to think about Virginia Tech. Not anymore. When you think they can’t win, they win. When they are supposed to win, they lose. It all adds up to a 4-4 football team that can play really well and lose and play awful and win. Pitt? They are in the same boat in a lot of ways. This one will be the unknown. PITT 34, VIRGINIA TECH 30

OKLAHOMA ST. AT OKLAHOMA

It’s Bedlam!!! In the past, this one would have the look of a high-scoring affair, something like 52-50 (in 2018 it was 48-47 and in 2017 it was 62-52 and in 2015 it was 58-23). However, the Cowboys are playing fairly good defense (for a Big 12 team) and Sooner quarterback Spencer Rattler has been good at times and not good at times. The Sooners will make plays, the Cowboy defense will make plays, and the Cowboys will do enough offensively to win. OKLAHOMA ST. 37, OKLHOMA 34

LIBERTY AT NC STATE

We see you Hugh Freeze. Liberty has more ACC wins than Florida St., and they get a crack at Dave Doeren’s group this week in Raleigh. It’s the Burner Phone vs. the Laptop. NC State is starting to find a groove offensively and the defense has been good enough. The running game is starting to find some holes and that will be enough to hold off a hard charge from the Burners this week. WOLFPACK 37, LIBERTY 33

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