Perseverance is defined as steady persistence in a course of action in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement. What Webster didn’t tell you is perseverance is also defined by every player, coach, and fan of South Carolina football. The Gamecocks finally broke through in 2010 after decades of hardship and disappointment. The South Carolina football team deserved the title, and don’t let anyone say the Gamecocks didn’t earn it.
If I would’ve told you in August the Gamecocks would beat Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Vanderbilt, and Florida, but only win the SEC east by one game you would have called me insane and had me committed. To imagine we beat all those teams would be hard enough to believe, to think if it actually occurred and we weren’t on our way to a national title would be even more troublesome. The 2010 season is the greatest season in Gamecock history, but regardless of the final result South Carolina still had their typical Gamecock moments. To achieve the goal of winning the east for the first time is monumental, but this season can still fall into the “what if” category just like every other. What if South Carolina didn’t turn the ball over four times against Auburn in the 4th quarter? What if the Gamecocks scored a touchdown in the second half and beat UK? As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it only took 18 years to win the first SEC east title in school history. That unreachable hurdle has been jumped, and the grass looks a hell of a lot greener on the other side.
The next immediate goal is to finish the season stronger than how it was started. South Carolina must maintain the momentum created by the title accomplishment. If the Gamecocks let up, and allow Clemson to beat them, this season will never be as special as it should have been. I cannot even imagine the feeling and the Clemson fans if they were to beat the SEC east champion. South Carolina must finish the regular season 9-3. They need to carry the swagger of a three game winning streak into the Georgia Dome, and they need to gain a little respect back for the SEC east. The rest of this season must be used to set up 2011. The Gamecocks will return eight of eleven starters on offense and seven of 11 starters on defense and many of the non starters have seen plenty of playing time throughout the season. Throw in a top 20 recruiting class and South Carolina will be on their way to a top 10 pre-season ranking. The possibilities for next season are truly magical, and a national title run is not out of the question. The first obstacle to next season is finishing this year 9-3 and winning the bowl game is an absolute necessity.
I would like to congratulate Coach on a tremendous win, in the stadium and against the program he created. Looking back on Spurrier’s tenure in Columbia, it is only right he wins the SEC east at the home where he used to dominate. Watching the players celebrate with him, and carry him on their shoulders was very special. His post game speech invoked pride and jubilation throughout Gamecock nation. The Florida game was near perfection, and a glimpse of things to come. The defense finally showed up, and Marcus Lattimore re wrote and added to his growing legend. Stephen Garcia played smart, and played to win and was a true leader once again. It was a total team effort, and a dominating performance that sent shockwaves of fear through Gainesville, Knoxville, and Athens. The Gamecocks finally arrived Saturday night, and the SEC east has a new bully on the block.
2010 has been a groundbreaking and record shattering year for the entire University of South Carolina. The football team put the finishing touches on the calendar year with their win at the Swamp, and raised the bar of success for future athletic achievements. The glass ceiling that has confined the Gamecock football team for so long has its first major crack, and the shattering process can and will continue for many years to come. Finish strong South Carolina, beat Troy, annihilate Clemson, battle Auburn, and win the bowl game. A new decade has dawned, and the University of South Carolina has been reborn.