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Pembroke Mafia Football League: Fried chicken flavored dog biscuits
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Welcome to Week 4 of the Pembroke Mafia Football League and the less said about Saturday’s UGA-South Carolina game the better. Except maybe that 48-7 outcome was more in line with the Carolina I grew up with from the late 1960s and on into the 1970s and 1980s and 1990s and, apart from a few brief spurts success, pretty much into the 21st Century.

In short, we lost, a lot. Played hard, but lost. A lot.

Didn’t matter. You can accuse us rumpled old-school Gamecock fans of a lot of things, but being front-runners ain’t one of them.

It was us against the world and especially those evil cow-tipping tobacco spitting elitists who wear orange and play in a stadium six miles from my grandfather’s cinderblock house on the cotton mill hill in Pendleton.

My grandfather’s gone, and his house was sold in the 1990s, but I believe the ruins of the mill are still there and so is the mill hill – although I heard many of the old houses on it were gentrified by transplants, just like a lot of the rest of Pendleton and, increasingly, the rest of the South.

There were some good times in all that losing, because sometimes we didn’t lose games that mattered and the whole state lit up like a Christmas tree, except for the part of SC in Pickens and Anderson counties where they’ve been painting orange tiger paws on everything that stands still for as long as I can remember, and I can remember a long way back.

George Rogers won a Heisman Trophy and forever has a place in the heart of all Gamecock fans, but he also has the good sense not to run for a U.S. Senate seat. George is too smart for that. Herschel apparently ain’t and more’s the pity.

But this is about the Gamecocks, who’ve never been spoiled by having it too easy. So when hard times outnumber good times, you learn to treasure the good because you know it probably won’t last.

For USC, the good times are easy to add up. The 1969 ACC championship. George’s Heisman. Joe Morrison and the Black Magic years, and that Fire Ant defense that almost took Carolina all the way to a national championship in 1984. Only the Chicken Curse got in the way.

Unbeaten, untied and ranked No. 2 in the country – with wins over Notre Dame and Florida State and a good Pittsburgh team – Carolina had Navy and Clemson left on the schedule and there was talk they’d play in the year’s biggest bowl for a national title. The Gamecocks lost to Navy instead.

They bounced back to beat archrival Clemson, then fell in the Gator Bowl to Oklahoma State.

Morrison died of a heart attack in 1989, and South Carolina went back into the football wilderness for a while, until we first got Lou Holtz and then Steve Spurrier, and football became a joy and not just weekly autumn reminders that being a Gamecock is as much about being too dumb to quit as it is being fun.

And then we got Will Muschamp, who finished 28-30 before he got fired for $11 million, or something like that.

I felt bad for Muschamp, who probably earns more in interest on buyouts than I’ll earn in five lifetimes of toil, but not so bad I didn’t want him gone back to Georgia.

Anyway. College football fans these days have 400 games a week to choose from so they don’t know what it was like back in the day when there were maybe one or two games on TV and if you weren’t living in South Carolina you were lucky to get a score, so when the Gamecocks got on national TV with somebody like Keith Jackson doing the honors it was like a holiday. That’s the thing people now don’t get – more isn’t always better. Sometimes less is more and more is less. Right now we’ve got more information coming at us than we ever had and probably know less than we ever did – about each other, about ourselves, about what’s being done to our communities and region and country and planet in the name of progress and making a buck. We get hung up on trivial stuff while the world around us burns up or down, depending.

I’ll hush.

Congratulations to UGA and the fans I know who grew up rooting for the Dogs, guys like PMFL members Noah Covington and Dr. Gene Wallace, DMD, and Ben Taylor, and the rest of the lifelong diehards. UGA is finally as good as Alabama, and after years of underachieving look ready to dominate for years to come. Except for next year, when the Gamecocks head down to Athens and bust a move all over the Pups.

As for this year, old fleabit UGA Roman-Number Whatever’s postgame snack Saturday probably consisted of fried chicken flavor dog biscuits. I hope it makes his cholesterol higher.

Standings: First place is crowded at the moment, with the Rev. Lawrence Butler, Ted O’Neil, Dr. Wallace and Noah tied with eight misses. Mike Clark is all by himself in second with nine misses. Ben and Carter Infinger are in third with 10 misses and Chief Freddy Howell is in fourth place with 11 misses. Freddy’s from some swamp in Waycross, if you haven’t been paying attention.

In fifth with 12 misses to date are your’s truly, Alex Floyd and Mike Brown. Dawnne Greene and BJ Clark, our chairman and CEO Emeritus and a big cheese in retired Navy circles, are in last with 108 misses so far.

And by the way, BJ turns 83 this week. To celebrate, he and Mike Brown are going to host an Indian wrestling tournament at the Mar’s Theater in Pembroke. Stay tuned.

This week’s game: Clemson vs. Wake Forest: Me and Alex Floyd and Dawnne Greene are picking the Demon Deacons.

Wisconsin vs. Ohio State: Me and Alex only ones picking Badgers. In my case, it’s because there are three teams I absolutely refuse to pull for. 1. Clemson. 2. Georgia. 3. Ohio State. Texas A& M vs. Arkansas: The Razorbacks are gonna be a handful for anybody.

Missouri vs. Auburn: Carter, Mike Clark, Ben, Dawnne and the Grill Doctor take the Tigers from up in the Midwest. Texas vs. Texas Tech: Alex, Carter and me take the Red Raiders. What a great name for a football team. Longhorns is good, too, but Red Raiders makes you think of Roy Rogers and stuff. Hands up Pardner. Don’t make me use my shooting iron. Ball State vs. Georgia Southern: Everybody takes the Iggles. Some of us also hope they ditch those blue pants. They look like Smurf tights. Marshall vs. Troy: B.J., Mike Clark and the Toothsayer himself are taking the Trojans. James Madison vs. App State: Can’t say what BJ wrote, but it’s the Mountaineers in a landslide.

U.S. Navy vs. East Carolina: B.J., Alex, Mike Clark, Rev. Butler, Carter and your’s truly take the Navy. Also known as the Squids, or Sailor Boys in some circles.

Send comments, criticism, suggestions or birthday wishes to BJ at chiefcatpop@ Or just show up at his house. He likes company.

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