Friday, January 06, 2006

Declawed

This was going to be such a hopeful post.

It was going to detail why despite their sucktastic early performances, lack of height, SWAC-quality RPI, and drearily foreboding points-per-possession stats, my Birmingham-Southern Panthers were still a good team.

After all, I saw them at Coleman Coliseum last Monday, where they certainly played like one. They shot well, defended well, handled the ball well, actually managed to score inside despite giving up more-than-a-few inches to the Bama defenders, and--most importantly for coach Reboul’s Princeton-esque offense--they dished it well (13 assists on 23 FGs, with several other good looks that weren’t converted).

I left Coleman thinking, “DAMMIT ARRGGGGGHH DAMMIT WHY DID WE LOSE,” because what else can you think when your Big South team comes within 45 seconds of upsetting an SEC team you despise on their floor? But several hours later, just then mentally leaving Coleman, I thought, “If they play that well Thursday, they’ll beat Winthrop. If they play half that well night-in, night-out, they’ll finish in the top two or three in the conference.”

I didn’t quite realize what colossal “ifs” we were talking about here. Winthrop opened up a Sam’s Club economy-family-sized can of whoop ass on the Panthers last night, the worst beatdown BSC’s suffered in six years—games against SEC and Atlantic 10 and Conference USA and a whole lot of other foes who aren’t Big South members included. I wouldn’t say the result has destroyed my confidence in my team yet, but the Building Inspector’s tour of my confidence is not going well. He’s making all sorts of notes on his little clipboard, and if he uncovers one or two more moldy, termite-ridden, structurally unsound performances like that…well, it might be time my confidence to face the wrecking ball.

(The funniest thing? The BSC recap headlined “Panthers drop Big South opener to Winthrop.” Coming tomorrow: “'Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo’ fails to score with critics.”)

So which is the real BSC: the one that gave ‘Bama more trouble than Winthrop did, or the one that kindly donated Centenary one of their two wins on the season? The Rock Hill Massacre™ last night sure as hell makes it look like the latter, doesn’t it?

But of course there’s always hope. After all, the Winthrop game was the Panthers’ fourth in eight days, all of them on the road. There was the ‘Bama hangover to deal with. Thomas Viglianco is simply too good to continue playing the way he has the last two games (1-17 FG, 0-4 FT, 3 pts. in 60 total minutes. Oy. Double-Oy.) And, too, Winthrop is a damn good team that probably played a damn good game.

How much hope? We’ll see. We’ll also write some more about it tomorrow. This was supposed to include a look at the roster and some other general Panther information for those just catching up, but real life calls.

LINKAGE: There's going to be one less Predator on the Auburn D next season. The clip says he's a sixth-rounder. If that's true, he's nuts--defensive end (especially a pass-rush DE) is a premium position in the NFL, meaning that a big senior season could have gotten him into the first two or three rounds. Maybe he's taking advice from his dreads?

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Bob said...
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