Originally created 11/22/04

Monday morning quarterback



WHO'S HOT: Reggie Merriweather. Clemson's diminutive back was motivated in part by the fact that South Carolina didn't recruit him in high school because it said he was too small. He punished the Gamecocks on Saturday, rushing for 125 yards and three touchdowns.

WHO'S NOT: Palmetto brawl. How ridiculous is it that some of Clemson and South Carolina's players and coaches blamed the Pistons-Pacers fight on Friday night for their brouhaha on Saturday? Some of them might have said it in jest, but why joke about something like that?

RANKING THE BIG FOUR

1. Georgia (8-2, 5-2 SEC): The Bulldogs got a week off to shake off being thoroughly dominated at Auburn.

Which Florida bowl they'll play in depends mostly on how Tennessee fares in the SEC title game, and if the Capital One Bowl doesn't mind having them in consecutive years.

2. Clemson (6-5, 4-4 ACC): The erratic Tigers looked pretty solid against South Carolina. They were able to dominate both lines of scrimmage, and Merriweather gives Clemson a bright future at tailback.

Yes, the Tigers lost to Duke, but they did win five of their final six games to become bowl eligible.

3. Georgia Tech (6-4, 4-4 ACC): The Yellow Jackets had a chance to get over the hump of mediocrity against Virginia, but they fell on their faces.

Beating Georgia would be colossal, but don't bank on that. Without P.J. Daniels, they're just another team. Especially when Reggie Ball throws more like Lucille Ball.

The Yellow Jackets are proof that there are too many bowl games. (Need more evidence? See below.)

4. South Carolina (6-5, 4-4 SEC): The most life the Gamecocks showed all afternoon Saturday was during the fight.

It's a darned good thing Florida upset Florida State, likely sending the Gators to the Peach Bowl - because South Carolina would have had no business in Atlanta getting smacked by a solid ACC opponent.

This team has Shreveport written all over it. Just throwing this out there: Maybe the Tigers and Gamecocks should sit at home for the holidays as punishment for Saturday's brawl. Might set a more pressing message than letting players bask in the balmy climates of such picturesque locals as Boise or northern Louisiana.

WHAT'S NEXT

On Saturday, Georgia at Georgia Tech, 3:30 p.m.

THE ACC'S FIRST AND WORST

1. (Insert name here). Pick your own team for this spot. Even the conference's best teams are utterly schizophrenic, looking like national-title contenders one week and bottom feeders the next.

12. Duke. Spurrier being in the house inspired the Blue Devils to lose by fewer points to North Carolina. Good to see that "rivalry" get back on track.

THE SEC'S FIRST AND WORST

1. Auburn. It did exactly what it had to do against 'Bama: Win.

Two burning questions for the Tigers: One, where will they stand in the BCS on Monday? Two, how many points will they beat Tennessee by this time?

12. Kentucky. Ah, basketball has descended upon the state. The Bluegrass faithful rejoice.

VIEW FROM THE SIDELINES

"I tried to give them a souvenir, but they threw it back. If I would have known they were going to throw it back, I would have kept it for myself." - Clemson RB Yusef Kelly, who launched a helmet into the crowd during Saturday's fight with South Carolina.

Reach Travis Haney at (706) 823-3304 or travis.haney@augustachronicle.com.



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