Instead of what we learned this week, maybe we should talk about what Steve Spurrier learned this week, which is that his team is not as physical as he hoped it was.
The Gamecocks were pushed around Saturday in a 23-21 loss to LSU, and Spurrier said some of his players seemed scared of the Tigers. Thats not a good sign, but Ill give you a little background here that I actually learned more about on the plane ride home from Baton Rouge.
A buddy of mine, Ray Glier, wrote a book recently called How the SEC Became Goliath, and chapter six is devoted to LSU strength coach Tommy Moffitt, who is kind of the godfather of SEC strength coaches. Alabama, Ole Miss and Florida all hired strength coaches who worked for Moffitt because his methods really work.
LSU was clearly stronger across the board than the Gamecocks, which was the biggest difference in Saturdays game, so if you want to know more about Moffitt, go grab Rays book. Well worth the read.
None of this means all is lost for South Carolina. Not many teams are as big and strong and scary as LSU, so the Gamecocks have plenty of chance to recover.
However, there may be more bad news brewing for South Carolina.
Arkansas, which looked as good as finished two weeks ago, has built some confidence in the last two weeks thanks mostly to the woeful efforts of Auburn and Kentucky. The Razorbacks beat the Wildcats 49-7 on Saturday despite playing less than three quarters due to a weather-shortened game. Arkansas hopes of contending in the SEC have been gone for almost a month now, but a confident Razorback team could be a tough out for the Gamecocks.
If youre looking for any indicators about this weeks game from Saturdays lackluster Florida win over Vanderbilt, stop it. The Gators survived a classic trap game against the Commodores (coming one week after beating LSU and one week before facing the Gamecocks).
In news that has little to do with South Carolinas fortunes this season, Mississippi State is quietly rolling right along. The Bulldogs have taken advantage of a soft schedule to amass a 7-0 record, and quarterback Tyler Russell is playing as well as any quarterback in the SEC. Russell has thrown 12 touchdown passes and just one interception this season.
In Help Wanted news, athletic directors at Tennessee, Auburn and Kentucky probably started jotting down names of possible replacements after disturbing weekend losses.