A Few Thoughts on the Fans

There wasn’t much on Saturday night that didn’t make me beam with pride. I had almost no complaints about anything that happened on the field of play (although we have to do a better job of not allowing opposing offenses to convert on third down), but there were a few things from the fans that were more than a little frustrating.

  • Student Section vs. UGAA few of the students left early. If you’re a current student, I think you just don’t understand. You have no idea how bad Carolina football was 15 years ago, and how for the last decade it’s been the ultimate tease, coming tantalizingly close to big wins before succumbing down the stretch to teams with superior athleticism. People like me who have been around the program long enough to remember the dark days (that weren’t that long ago) relish every moment of wins like this. Do you realize that before 2009 we had NEVER beaten a top-five team at home? Do you realize that in 2007 we started the year 6-1 and ranked #6 before losing to VANDERBILT and every other team on our schedule, finishing 6-6 and missing a bowl game. Do you realize that for three straight seasons last decade we didn’t have a bona fide quarterback, and our offense was unable to move the ball at all? Do you realize that in 1998 and 1999 we lost 21 consecutive games? You people that are juniors or younger right now have never known anything other than winning football. And believe me, I’m the happiest man in the world because of that fact. But it never gives you the right to leave early when we’re beating a top caliber team at home. ECU is excusable, especially with the temperature. Mizzou is questionable. Georgia is despicable.
  • Chanting “Overrated!” You’re obviously not using your head on this one. Think about what you’re implying when you’re heard on national TV yelling about how overrated Georgia is. “Hey, national TV audience! This team we’re playing today? They’re not very good. Not very good at all, in fact. We just wanted you to know how wrong you were about how good you thought they were. This win isn’t actually very impressive, come to think of it. Since Georgia’s not very good and all. So thanks for putting us on TV! We’ll just keep on beating up on this not-very-good opponent and hope that you still want to slide us way up in the rankings tomorrow!” What possible reason do we have for wanting Georgia to be overrated? We want Georgia to be EXACTLY as good as everybody thought they were. We want Georgia to finish with the same number of SEC losses as us (if we lose a conference game, that is), so that we’d go to Atlanta with the tiebreaker over them. That would help our BCS standing. If Georgia sucks, our win looks less impressive to the computers and opens the door for someone else to get a big bowl bid over us. If Georgia is really good, the computers like us as much as the humans do, and we can all prance down to the BCS Promised Land together.
  • Doing the wave. The wave is a fun stadium tradition. Sometimes. It is not fun when we’re playing in the biggest game in the entire country. Do we look like serious football fans when we’re more concerned about whether the big donors on the West side understand that they’re supposed to leave their hands up for the “reverse wave?” No. We look like idiots that don’t care about what’s happening on the football field. Against ECU or UAB, wave away. But when we’re on national TV playing a showcase game, let’s try to be more concerned about the game on the field than anything else.
  • Carolina Band UGACheering to band songs instead of making noise between plays. I love the way the band has taken their performance up a million notches since the arrival of Dr. Rebecca Phillips in Columbia to whip them into shape. And it’s really cool that they play a song during every stoppage in play–it really adds to the overall atmosphere of the stadium. But think about it. Is it more important to finish chanting “L-I-N-A Cocks!” or to make noise while the opposing quarterback is in the huddle telling his offense what play to run? Disrupting the opposition is far more important. I’m not saying we ignore the band songs. But I do think it makes more sense to make it so loud that the other team can’t even hear what play they’re supposed to run, much less when the ball is snapped. And think about this. Even if we break off from cheering to the band songs to make noise while the offense is in the huddle, they’re not going to stop playing. 85,000 voices screaming at the same time 340 band members are playing will take the noise up a notch or three. It was already described as deafening. Let’s make it eardrum-rupturing.

Photo Credit: Anderson Independent-Mail

Published by

Randall Stewart

Randall is a senior at USC majoring in Sport and Entertainment Management. He's spent three seasons covering high school football for various newspapers, spent 11 days in Omaha covering the 2012 College World Series, and has had articles appear in seven different newspapers. Even Clemson's student paper. Which is probably either the high or low point of his career.

  • http://www.facebook.com/MrBill77 William Boland

    Other than the leaving early part, I disagree. Georgia was overrated and the fans were just having some fun. Everyone was just having a good time, don’t be so serious.

  • Uscalumni

    As an alumni of USC, I really want you to know how critical you are of our school. As a student, you should know that we have one of the most intimidating stadiums in the country and with the band producing so much sound now, it’s even more intimidating. Whether you know this or not, last year fans from opposing teams were telling us that it was rather annoying playing after every play because it was distracting. It encourages our team to bring their best when we bring ours. Sir, I disagree with this article and even though it’s a matter of opinion… I think you should have kept it to yourself.

  • Bryant

    This is one of the most pretentious articles I’ve read since
    I’ve been in school at USC. Your views are so misguided and biased that I feel
    obligated to help you out. People left because the second half was mostly a 30
    minute stalemate and it got boring. It’s not fun watching a clearly defeated
    team be forced to complete the game. To assume that you’re the only one that
    remembers USC’s bad times is so condescending. Loyalty has nothing to do with
    how exciting the game is. I’ve been a Gamecock literally since birth, but I don’t
    judge people for leaving the game early. I would have left early too, post-game
    traffic is terrible. Plus you really had to be looking to find the fans leaving
    early, the student section was still pretty packed at the end of the game (if
    you even stayed for its entirety). And I don’t know if you noticed, but not
    everyone is a serious football fan. Not everyone enjoys mindless yelling for
    hours. They do the wave because it’s fun. People do it at stadiums everywhere. My
    father is a very “big donor on the west side” and he love’s the wave. Why?
    Because it’s fun and it makes people happy. And you complain that we look like
    idiots? Well we should probably get rid of Sandstorm too; we don’t want to look
    like we don’t conform to what society deems “good football fans”. After all,
    our rank can drop if our fans are bad dancers, right? Who are you to say what
    makes someone a bad fan or disloyal? They showed up in record setting numbers to
    support their team and their school. And the fans having fun is the REAL important
    thing so they come back and the university can make money from all the game day
    revenue. You know, so the university can fund classes like journalism so it’s
    possible for you to write this article. And people yelling overrated isn’t
    going to change their Georgia’s record or previous performances (the basis of
    the ranking). It won’t make coaches and analysts think they’re the worst team
    in the SEC because of one loss. It won’t make the players less talented. What
    it WILL do is make Georgia players feel bad. Which is the point. We hate
    Georgia, we hate Georgia fans. Everyone knows that Georgia is one step below
    Clemson, so if they lose every game, I won’t be bothered a bit. I think us
    going to Atlanta will be determined by our wins, not Georgia’s. Plus we can’t
    help the fact that they’re just bad, we’d still yell overrated even if they
    won. But worst of all your comments, I can’t believe a “Carolina fan” would
    actually encourage fans to stop cheering with the band. It’s as big a part of
    USC tradition as 2001. You don’t know how hard they work to get people to do
    the cheers and to instead encourage people to just scream at the field is
    insulting. Obviously you’ve never played football, or taken physics class,
    because the point of a HUDDLE is so everyone is in close enough to hear the
    quarterback. And even in high school, the quarterback gets his plays from the
    sidelines using hand signals. Sounds waves can’t affect his eyesight. The only
    thing yelling does is makes it difficult to hear the snap count. By which time
    the band has stopped playing anyways. It’s unfortunate that you don’t even know
    what it means to be a Carolina fan. It’s embarrassing that you criticize fans
    for having fun and doing things they enjoy. It makes our school look bad and
    insults the way we do things. I don’t know what football you grew up watching,
    but please don’t tell others it was Gamecock football.

    • Kyle

      I couldn’t agree with Bryant anymore. Randall, you wrote a pretentious article on a subject in which you clearly lack content knowledge.

  • Caralee

    This is one of the best and informative articles I’ve read since I’ve been in school at USC. I agree that the students definately have some work to do, and your article is a great way to help the students here improve. The fact that students were leaving early, not cheering when it would help the home team, and doing things such as the wave on NATIONAL TV is embarrassing, and anyone who says differently is sadly mistakening. Thank you Randall for sharing your views and letting us know what we can do to improve.

  • Author

    For those of you who disagreed with the points I made, check out this piece from The Rubber Chickens. It’s a well-thought out, reasoned response to the specific point about the “Overrated” chant that I was very enjoyable to read. http://therubberchickensblog.com/2012/10/09/in-defense-of-the-over-rated-chant/

  • Chase

    I don’t know if you know it but…you sir, are a Georgia fan. A true Bulldog loving Athenian. You should have followed the team bus home. I’m a Gamecock fan since birth. I’ve lived within forty minutes max of the stadium my whole life and been to so many games I can’t count them. Don’t condescend to me. Yea it’s been pretty bad over the years. But it’s great now so let us celebrate. Yelling over-rated does not affect a computer’s ranking of a team. Being a Georgia fan might not be your only problem if you believe a computer counts how many times we yell over-rated and factors that into its ranking system. Also football is not a gentleman’s sport. It’s not polite and there aren’t courtesy rules for fans. I lost my voice yelling at Georgia when their offense was at the line. But I didn’t yell as much second half at a losing team who frankly weren’t much of a threat. Instead I enjoyed myself and chanted with the band songs and participated in some school spirit. Which of course you lack considering you’re a Georgia fan. Maybe the “few” students that left early left to get you some. It’s ok bud just go put some Ben-Gay on your loss. It’ll all feel better to you in a few weeks when you watch us play in Atlanta.

  • HowardsCock

    Dude get your head out of your butt. That is the loudest that stadium has ever been. I’m pretty sure that if Aaron Murray was having to tap on the center’s butt for the cadence and unable to audible that the crowd was plenty loud enough. Musburger couldn’t even hear Heather Cox on the sidelines. The whole point of the home field advantage is to be as loud as you can while the opposing team is lined up trying to get a play off so that they can’t change the play at the line or hear the cadence- which is exactly what our crowd was preventing them from doing. Are you really sitting hear telling the fans not to chant with the band and not to do the wave?????? The game was well in hand by the time the wave was going on. College kids just wanna have fun. And bro, Georgia was overrated. We are also nasty good but It was a combination of the two that produced that blowout win. If they were rightly the number 5 team in the nation they should have beaten the number 6 team but they didn’t- therefore they are overrated. Simple math bro. BTW are you really gonna complain about a few fans leaving early? Contrary to popular belief not everyone cares about football as much as many of us guys do. There are many fans (mostly the female audience) that just come for a good time. At least 98% of the fans stayed until the end so I really see nothing to complain about. Get over yourself Randall. Leave it up to some hipster newspaper writer to spin something negative out of the greatest Gamecock victory of all time.

  • Jack

    What is it with everyone getting pissed at the fans? YOU do realize win or lose nothing happens to YOU right? YOU do not lose your job, nobody talks trash about you, your job openings don’t increase, YOU won’t get free shots at the bar, YOU still have to go to class monday etc. It is a freakin game if a fan wants to do the wave or leave 2 minutes into the game that is their choice. NEWS FLASH and this may come as a shocker to some but fans are in no way shape form or fashion part of the team. YOU have no effect on the game (though you would all love to believe you would) so just sit there and enjoy what can be argued as the best team in the nation

  • Sam

    Hey now. I respect the thoughts from both sides, but saying Randall is from the other side or not a true gamecock fan?! That’s unnecessary and untrue. Randall writes and researches USC football every week. A lot. He has a “history lesson” about the opposite team’s games against the gamecocks every week. Heck, I go to Clemson, and somehow Randall’s articles have still managed to make me somewhat care about USC ball. That’s how much he puts into this football program. He’s been to every SEC home game for a LONG time. I respect opposite opinions from both sides, including the critique of the fans or Randall from both sides. But saying that Randall is not a true gamecock is hurtful and flat-out wrong.

  • James

    This article had great intentions and was well written. Valid points have been made on both sides and I think that we can come together in agreement that Randall and the dissenting commenters have a passion for Carolina football and have a stake in providing the most effective, electrifying, respectful atmosphere possible that best represents our University, especially on National TV.

  • Kent

    USC fans suck. Yall are gonna see real fans and some real stadium noise on saturday night in Baton Rouge at the real Death Valley. Geaux Tigers!

  • http://www.facebook.com/scott.vehaun Scott Vehaun

    The only disappointing thing about this article is the sheer ignorance of the comments below it. Let’s just read some of the clips from these quotes back here – “one of the most pretentious articles I’ve read” (shortly followed by dear Bryant saying “I feel so obligated to help you out” – yes reading this from you definitely proves you should NEVER be allowed to call anyone pretentious – could not even read anymore of the comment after this it was too ironic that this guy was calling anyone pretentious) next we have uscalumni questioning someone who spends hours leading to weeks leading to months of his life dedicated to Gamecock sports and the University as a whole as if Randall is too critical of the university? yeah gonna go ahead and disregard that comment after that. Then we have someone oh-so-cleverly named HowardsCock telling Randall to “get his head out of his butt” because he simply wrote an article giving his opinion? Hey howardsCock get your head out of your butt – you used the word “bro” multiple times in your comment and you also used BTW – so at this point I’m sure we can all agree to just bypass whatever ignorance you decided to spew in your comment. And finally last but not least we have precious Chase telling Randall he is a Georgia fan. WOW. No other words but wow. Sitting here telling the guy who literally devotes his life to studying Gamecock sports with any free time he has outside of having a life and being a full-time student, the same guy that has been posting articles about USC sports for who knows how long now, the same guy that can outsmart Chase or anyone of these other ignorant commenters on any piece of Gamecock trivia EVER, the same guy that can literally give play by play anaylses of games that happened before he was born that he not maybe is or might be but he IS a Georgia fan? Wow. So disappointed in the lack of intelligence displayed in all of these comments. Really getting so worked up over a journalist giving his own opinions? Sure go ahead and disagree if you like but do it respectfully and if you do decide to comment PLEASE at least use some semblance of intelligence next time. The willful ignorance and stupiditiy of your comments are embarassing to the students here at the University and really anyone who calls themself a Gamecock.

    • Bryant

      I mean don’t be surprised, we yelled overrated at a football game, we’re obviously bad people.

  • Honey Boo Boo

    Sorry, ya’ll. I agree with Bryant. I love futball. Randall, get off your high horse and come cheer in the student section. Put on dem hatablockas and enjoi the game, phulease!

    -End o’story

  • Band Alumus

    To the author and commenters: Let’s all just get our panties out of a wad, and continue cheering on our Gamecocks however we see fit. Deal?

    Go Cocks!

  • Kent

    Where all you cocks at now?