From the anchor desk on Monday night at 11:30 pm to the Rosen Hotel in Orlando, Florida. It's quite a turnaround! I flew into Fort Lauderdale and made the three plus hour drive to the land of Disney. I missed the final press conference from head coaches Steve Spurrier and Gary Anderson, but thanks to help from our friends at WCIV, I was able to listen to the final thoughts leading up to Wednesday's Capital One Bowl.
The single biggest "distraction" of this bowl month has been the lead foot of Jadeveon Clowney. A pair of speeding tickets still had Steve Spurrier talking about it light heartedly at the final press conference. Compared to previous Gamecock bowl distractions in the Stephen Garcia era, this is a minor blip to say the least. More importantly, Spurrier says Clowney is healthy and the "instant pro" knows he's on the big stage in a college uniform one more time.
Gary Anderson had high praise for Connor Shaw. With a 25-6 record as a Gamecocks starter, Shaw in my opinion is the most underrated quarterback in America. He made virtually no post-season SEC teams, yet comes into his final college game with an TD to interception ratio of 21 to 1 in his senior campaign. I voted him third on my Heisman Trophy ballot and scoured the internet over the last two weeks to see who else might have given him recognition (Steve Spurrier said publicly that Shaw won on his ballot). His performance coming off the bench banged up to beat Missouri in the other Columbia was one of the finest performances of the entire 2013 college football season. I don't think it got nearly enough praise from the national media. He doesn't have flashy numbers and he doesn't have the Johnny Manziel type of jaw dropping highlights, but Shaw is a flat out winner that was not given nearly enough props in his own conference, yet alone the nation. It would be fitting for him to close out his collegiate career with one more outstanting performance in Orlando.
The Badgers have a great running attack with Melvin Gordon and James White. Gordon is a guy that could get some Heisman hype with a big performance against an SEC foe. I'm interested to see how the Gamecocks front seven matches up against the Big Ten bruising mentality. There's a lot of talk about the run game of Wisconsin, but Mike Davis, if healthy, is as good as anyone in America. Is he 100 percent? We'll find out and if not, perhaps Lake City's Shon Carson can have something to add to his huge run against the Florida Gators on his resume as a USC running back.
A reminder that the game is on WPDE at 1pm (ABC Sports). I will post extended post-game reaction on CarolinaLive.com and we'll have highlights and post game reaction on WPDE at 6, 7 and 11 as well as CW News at 10.
After Wednesday, we head to Miami for the Orange Bowl. WPDE Sports will have a 30 minute special on Friday night at 7:30 pm to get you ready for Ohio State and Clemson.