Saturday Football: Shane Beamer to South Carolina, Coastal Carolina's impact win and uniform talk
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Good morning and happy Monday! The first weekend of December is in the books, and what a week of college football it was. As we move toward conference championship games in two weeks, teams are trying to wrap up their regular seasons and pick up some more big victories.
In today’s newsletter, we’ll discuss South Carolina’s decision to hire Oklahoma assistant Shane Beamer to replace Will Muschamp. Then, we’ll dive into the highly entertaining game between Coastal Carolina and BYU that ended in thrilling fashion on Saturday night. Finally, we’ll take a look at the week’s top uniform combinations. So, with no further ado, let’s get started!
SHANE BEAMER TO SOUTH CAROLINA
South Carolina has hired Shane Beamer as its new coach. Can Beamer turn things around in Columbia?
The South Carolina Gamecocks are turning to a new, yet familiar, face to replace the fired Will Muschamp in 2021 and beyond. Shane Beamer, a top assistant under Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma, is taking the Gamecocks’ head coaching job. He was officially announced as the new coach on Sunday afternoon. Beamer served on Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina staff from 2007 to 2010, so he knows the lay of the land in Columbia. However, this will be his first head coaching gig.
So, what has been the reaction to Beamer’s hiring? And, what can Beamer accomplish in his second stint with the Gamecocks? Let’s take a look at some of the headlines surrounding this hire:
- Beamer has certainly worked under some incredible coaches. Obviously, his dad is Virginia Tech legend Frank Beamer. Then, he worked under Spurrier at South Carolina, as mentioned above. And, since 2018, he’s been working under Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma. Riley spoke about Beamer on Saturday after the Sooners’ win. The rumors hadn’t been confirmed of Beamer’s hiring yet, but Riley said he’d wish Beamer the best if he got the job.
- Beamer seems to hold Columbia in a special place in his heart. On Sunday, he showed up at the South Carolina facilities ready to hit the ground running. His first words? “It’s awesome. It’s great to be home.” That sounds like a guy who is eager to get going.
- What will Beamer’s first coaching staff look like in 2021? Current interim coach Mike Bobo, who has been the team’s offensive coordinator this year, was asked after Saturday’s loss to Kentucky if he’d want to be on Beamer’s staff. He said he hasn’t thought much about that, but his kids have. However, Beamer is reportedly targeting SMU OC Garrett Riley, the brother of Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley.
- Beamer will be tasked with re-energizing the Gamecock fan base. So far, reactions from fans and media members about the hire have been mixed. However, many former players from the 2007-10 seasons love the hire. Former South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia called it “a no freaking brainer.” The best way to get fans excited is obviously to win games. Rivals analyst Mike Farrell named five Gamecock players who should be better in 2021 under Beamer.
The Gamecocks have their man. It wasn’t a big-name, splashy hire like some fans wanted, but it’s a guy who knows the Columbia area and the South Carolina program well. Now, it’ll be up to him to get the Gamecocks back into a position to compete with the top teams in the SEC East, which they last did on a consistent basis under Spurrier. We’ll see what happens in the first couple of months of Beamer’s tenure, as he has many important decisions to make soon.
Now that we’ve hit December, the Power 5 conferences are beginning to catch up to certain Group of 5 conferences in terms of total games played. That has narrowed the leaderboards for a few statistical categories quite significantly. The nation’s top players are climbing the leaderboards at rapid rates.
So, with the regular season winding down, which players are leading in nine important stats? Here’s a look at how things stand entering this week’s slate of games (via CFBStats.com):
- Passing yards: Dillon Gabriel, UCF — 3,353
- Passing TDs: Kyle Trask, Florida — 38
- Rushing yards: Breece Hall, Iowa State — 1,357
- Rushing TDs: Najee Harris, Alabama — 20
- Receiving yards: DeVonta Smith, Alabama — 1,305
- Receiving TDs: Two players tied — 15
- Sacks: Patrick Johnson, Tulane — 10.0
- Tackles: Grant Morgan, Arkansas — 111
- Interceptions: Four players tied — 5
There are still a couple of weekends of college football regular-season games left before bowl season begins! Will we see more shakeups atop the leaderboards? Check back here next Monday to see which players lead these big statistical categories!
Sports Betting in Big Ten Country
There is big news coming to the upcoming 2022-23 Big Ten football season (and NFL season). Ohio online sports betting and Maryland sports betting are on the way.
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- Even though we’ve now reached December, there’s plenty of time to learn. Teams in the SEC and the Big Ten continue to change, both improving and imploding. Saturday Down South’s Connor O’Gara broke down one thing he learned about each SEC team this weekend. Meanwhile, Saturday Tradition’s Ryan O’Gara did the same thing for the B1G.
- This week led to some shakeups in power rankings across the country. There were some exciting games and unexpected results in both the SEC and Big Ten. Saturday Down South’s Joe Cox updated his weekly SEC power rankings. Over at Saturday Tradition, Jim Tomlin ranked the B1G squads 1-14. Interestingly, a whopping 10 (yes, 10) teams in the B1G with 2 wins. Wild.
- This weekend had a lot of good and its fair share of bad, too. From Coastal Carolina’s thrilling win to Marshall’s inexplicable loss, there was plenty going on across the country. Bleacher Report’s Kerry Miller broke down the winners and losers from the busy week.
- BYU had to scramble to get ready for the Coastal Carolina game. The two sides came to an agreement on Wednesday after COVID-19 problems at Liberty forced the Flames to back out of the game against the Chanticleers. Though things weren’t finalized until Thursday morning, BYU’s equipment truck was already on the road to Conway, South Carolina. Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger profiled the crazy 48 hours the BYU equipment truck drivers had while scrambling to get the Cougars’ gear to the East Coast.
Even on short notice, Coastal Carolina took down BYU. Is there any doubt the Chanticleers are the real deal?
No. 11 (in the AP Poll) Coastal Carolina is no longer a “cute” story in college football. The Chanticleers — perhaps the best nickname in all of sports — have a legitimate case to be considered one of the best teams this season. Saturday night’s thrilling 22-17 victory over No. 14 BYU proved that.
With its original opponent, Liberty, canceling due to COVID-19 concerns, Coastal Carolina was willing to schedule an undefeated opponent also ranked inside the top 25. Rather than secure an undefeated regular season by not playing, the Chanticleers welcomed BYU to Conway and put their 9-0 record (now 10-0) on the line. Not all Group of 5 programs would be willing to do that.
Because of that, Coastal Carolina now sits at 10-0 on the season and saw a boost in the USA Today Coaches Poll and the Associated Press Poll. Now, the Chanticleers are on the college football map. Here’s why:
- First of all, Saturday night’s game was fantastic. On a weekend that featured LSU-Alabama, Virginia Tech-Clemson and Michigan State-Ohio State, the Coastal Carolina-BYU game was, by far, the most entertaining. The game had everything from a benches-clearing incident at halftime to a photo finish at the end of the game, with the Chanticleers stopping the Cougars one yard short of the end zone for a thrilling victory. From start to finish, this game proved why we love college football so much.
- How about those T-shirts? Remember the old “Catholics vs. Convicts” shirts that were sold back in the day when Notre Dame and Miami would go head to head? Well, Coastal Carolina did it better. One individual took it upon himself to sell “Mormons vs. Mullets” shirts ahead of Saturday night’s showdown in Conway. As you can imagine, they were a big hit. And now, the phrase has its own Wikipedia page.
- Everyone is calling for a Coastal Carolina-BYU game more often. Typically, college football games are scheduled years in advance. Sometimes, matchups are set more than a decade before the actual meeting date. But, as the Associated Press’s Ralph Russo points out, having more games like Coastal Carolina-BYU can benefit teams, fans and even the sport of college football. Maybe we wouldn’t always gets something quite this entertaining every year, but doesn’t Saturday night’s exciting contest show why flexibility in scheduling can benefit the sport?
The college football world saw an incredible football game on Saturday night, thanks to the flexibility of Coastal Carolina and BYU. The result benefits the Chanticleers, who may be able to lock up a New Year’s Six bowl berth because of another impressive victory. And, sometime in the future, fans will (hopefully) benefit, as these two teams plan to meet again in Provo as part of a home-and-home series.
JUST FOR FUN
BYU junior QB Zach Wilson is often mentioned as a fringe Heisman Trophy contender. Coastal Carolina redshirt freshman QB Grayson McCall is not. But, both quarterbacks are having great seasons and just played in one of the best games of the year. So, for today’s quiz, we’ll give you six statistical categories. You tell us which of the two talented quarterbacks has done better in each category. Ready? Here they are:
- Passing yards
- Passing TDs
- Rushing yards
- Rushing TDs
- Completion percentage
(Note: Wilson has played in 10 games. McCall has only played in nine, having sat out the Georgia Southern game earlier this season with an injury.)
Scroll down for the answers to today’s quiz.
The loaded December schedule produced some great uniforms. Who wore it best this week?
The regular season is drawing to an end for many teams, but there are still plenty of big games left to be played before a national champion is crowned and bowl games are decided. Thus, there are still plenty of games left for schools to make a splash with their uniforms.
So, which teams had the best looks of this past week? And what other uniform oddities were out there around the country? Let’s take a look at the top uniform news:
- No, Tennessee didn’t play Kentucky again on Saturday afternoon. The Florida Gators were the Vols’ opponent, though many fans may have had to check their TVs twice to make sure. The Gators debuted some excellent blue helmets with “Gators” in orange script. The white jerseys and blue pants drew comparisons to Kentucky, but the Gators’ helmets were very popular.
- Next, let’s discuss a pair of schools that wore cool gray-and-navy looks. The Arizona Wildcats broke out their battle gray uniforms. Meanwhile, Illinois paid homage to the legendary Red Grange with its “Galloping Ghost” uniform combo. Those Illini uniforms need to be in the rotation way more often, in our opinion.
- Notre Dame has some of the best helmets in all of football. The Irish have actual gold flakes in the paint used on their helmets. It’s a very cool tradition, but it can also amplify some scary moments. In Saturday’s game against Syracuse, when a Notre Dame punt returner took a helmet-to-helmet hit, gold paint chips went flying in the air. We’ve never seen that before.
- Finally, it’s time to look forward to one of the best uniform games. Army and Navy are set to square off on Saturday at West Point (not in Philadelphia like normal). Army will wear its “Tropic Lightning” uniforms, honoring the 25th Infantry Division during the Korean War. Navy will go with a look that honors the Naval Academy’s chapel and Bancroft Hall. Take a look at both incredible uniforms here.
Those Army-Navy uniforms are always special, and that game will certainly be a must-see once again. Unlike in most seasons, though, the Army-Navy game won’t be the only game of the week! We’ll check back in next Monday with a look at which schools had the best uniform combinations. Stay tuned!
Here are the answers to today’s Zach Wilson vs. Grayson McCall stat quiz:
- Passing yards: Wilson (2,964 to 1,832)
- Passing TDs: Wilson (27 to 20)
- Rushing yards: McCall (433 to 246)
- Rushing TDs: Wilson (8 to 5)
- Interceptions: McCall (1 to 3)
- Completion percentage: Wilson (73% to 67.2%)
That’s a 4-2 advantage for Wilson, but the future is bright for both of these talented young quarterbacks!
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“They beat us last year. They probably have some confidence that they can play well against Alabama. So, we’re going to have to change the way they think.”
– Alabama coach Nick Saban called his shot before the Tide went out and dominated LSU 55-17 on Saturday night in Baton Rouge.
TWEET OF THE DAY
The Mizzou social media team trolled Arkansas on Twitter after the Tigers beat the Razorbacks 50-48 in a thrilling Battle Line Rivalry game. Arkansas coach Sam Pittman is known for his “Yesssirrrr” catchphrase, so the Tigers had some fun with that after a huge fourth-quarter comeback.
This edition of the Saturday Football newsletter was written by Adam Spencer and Dustin Schutte.