Big Tennessee covered South Carolina's huge 31-30 win over Clemson earlier, but this item of postgame intrigue involving Spencer Rattler caught my eye since I'm the Cincinnati Bengals guy, and as a result, am an adamant Joe Burrow advocate.
And wouldn't you know it!! We're running a Black Friday 20% off sale at the Barstool Store and Joey B's iconic, national championship-winning cigar is the precise subject of a lovely piece of merch:
This is also sort of a reference to when the Bengals won the AFC North last year, as you can see from the GIF below.
OK I'll include the LSU one, too. It's that cool.
Now I'll circle back to Spencer Rattler, whose collegiate career in some ways parallels that of Burrow's. Notice I said in some ways. While Joe Brr was chilling on the bench for years before transferring from Ohio State to LSU and proceeded to win a natty and a Heisman Trophy, Rattler got his shot to start early at Oklahoma, only to be supplanted by Caleb Williams.
Not like a demotion on Williams' behalf is anything to be that ashamed of. Dude is the Heisman favorite at the minute, and was just too talented for Lincoln Riley to keep on the sidelines. Once Riley bailed for USC, Williams followed him, whereas Rattler went to a non-Alabama/Georgia SEC program in South Carolina and had a rough road ahead.
My first instinct was to write a headline like, "Hey Spencer Rattler, Take Your Joe Burrow Victory Cigar And Shove It Up Your Ass". Gave it a little more thought and realized it'd be a lazy/unfair take to say Rattler wasn't worthy of that sort of celebration, and to blast him by explaining Burrow only did it once the 'chip was secured. The more I thought about it, the more I landed on, "Yeah, good for him."
A mostly uneven season with the Gamecocks preceded this latest two-game run from Rattler in which he torched the ever-loving shit out of Tennessee and somehow rallied South Carolina to a Palmetto Bowl triumph over heavily favored Clemson.
Rattler's early pick-six had many writing him off early on in Saturday's game, but he kept his head up, kept fighting, and reminded everyone why he was a consensus 5-star, blue-chip recruit coming out of high school. This absolute fucking laser of a throw to Juice Wells for a 72-yard TD was the top highlight:
Although he did have two INTs, Rattler still threw for 360 yards and two scores on the heels of a masterful six-TD effort against Tennessee. Before last week, the Volunteers were ranked fifth in the country, and Clemson was eighth going into today. The Gamecocks were 14-point underdogs this Saturday, and 22-point dogs prior to their 63-38 trouncing of the Vols.
Suddenly, it feels like Rattler has catapulted himself back onto the 2023 NFL Draft radar. Thinking about the competition at his position, he's set himself up rather well. Unfortunately, Tennessee signal-caller Hendon Hooker went down with a torn ACL not long ago. Ohio State's CJ Stroud has come up small in big moments, including in a blowout loss to Michigan this afternoon. Kentucky field general Will Levis has some ugly-looking numbers and accuracy issues. Bryce Young is the man for Alabama, yet his lack of elite arm strength and diminutive size are easy holes to poke in his game.
I'm not sure what benefit Rattler would derive from staying in school and slugging it out in the SEC for another year. Maybe a stellar 2023 campaign in Columbia could raise his stock. However, he'd have Caleb Williams to contend with once again, not to mention UNC's Drake Maye.
Can't wait to see what Rattler's future holds regardless of what he decides about this year's draft.
I know there's that infamous clip of Rattler in high school being a total dick to his teammates. I'd like to think he's evolved since then. It sure seems like he has. If that bratty kid was still the same person or thereabouts, I doubt he would've persevered to the degree that he has. That Rattler has turned in dual performances this good is a testament to his maturation, the electrifying potential he has as a quarterback and proof he can handle a healthy dose of adversity.