Audible makes the USC football team better off
There is scrambling all over the nation, experts and editors revising preseason college football presentations as frenetically as Stephen Garcia cuts and runs from Steve Spurrier's carefully designed pass pockets.
Think the South Carolina Gamecocks get downgraded a bit?
That top 10 status suddenly is shaky. There is rejoicing in Athens and Gainesville as revenge just got easier.
Splendid. Suspending Garcia is working out so well for the defending SEC East champs.
Counting the ways:
--Garcia gets help by finally getting a real wakeup call.
--A football program under NCAA investigation since last summer gains credibility for disciplinary policy.
--Garcia's teammates, recognizing necessity when they see it, will pay more attention and play harder.
--The Head Ball Coach sends a message -- to players and to Gamecocks Nation.
--The curb in expectations might make certain foes feel overconfident.
Taking Garcia out of the South Carolina offense isn't taking Charlie Sheen out of a sitcom; the Gamecocks have more than one and a half men in reserve.
A redshirt senior should know better.
What a shame, with so much 2011 potential for the Gamecocks and Garcia.
Sadly, there were simmering signs of trouble.
Spurrier frequently blocking media access to the quarterback of a prominent team during South Carolina's very good 2010 season was suspicious.
Making Garcia get a haircut?
Arbitrary punishment bordering on the silly.
But after placing the obvious blame on the blamed, there is more to go around.
Why didn't Spurrier put the hammer down earlier? Hoping a carrot left in front of Garcia's facemask would encourage good behavior? Hoping behind-the-scenes punishment would work better than banishment? A desire for wins?
The fan base didn't exactly demand Garcia's dismissal.
The media rarely questioned Spurrier's policy in any official way.
Mostly because the Gamecocks were winning.
Even now, it's interesting that athletic director Eric Hyman -- not Spurrier -- made the official Garcia announcement. And that for all the frenzy, Garcia essentially will miss only the meaningless spring game.
Even Lee Corso knows veteran starting quarterbacks are important.
Sophomore Connor Shaw, the heir apparent, replaced an uninjured Garcia for the last two possessions at Auburn last September. Result: A pair of interceptions in Tigers territory in a 35-27 loss.
Garcia had fumbled twice in a row at Auburn, but Spurrier didn't give Shaw any more competitive playing time the rest of the season.
Beyond impacting top 25 and SEC predictions, this has become a national story. The Gamecocks are good, so Spurrier will answer Garcia questions -- or at least get them -- from here to the eternity of December.
Soap operas don't have happy endings, they just keep whining on with annoying new plot twists.
Oh, for a closing act of redemption at some significant January bowl game.
We will settle for Garcia straightening himself out while his teammates continue to make progress.