The Daily Gamecock

How to survive the bye week: Helpful hints to avoid hysteria

For the first time in three weeks, South Carolina football fans will be able to wake up Sunday morning and say, "We didn't lose yesterday."

And that's just super.

But an unbeaten Saturday isn't quite as satisfying when there's not another team trying to take away your two-touchdown fourth-quarter lead, which will be the case for the Gamecocks, as their two-game losing streak is interrupted by their first bye week.  

Yes, South Carolina is idle Saturday, which means you have a free weekend for the first time in over a month. And while the traffic from the State Fair will look a lot like the game day gridlock we've all come to know and hate, you still have to find something to fill the cavernous void in your life left by the absence of Gamecock football.

Here are four suggestions for how to keep yourself busy and add some direction to your existence:

1. Exhaust all of your resources trying to get Connor Shaw another year of eligibility. 

317-917-6222. That's the phone number for NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis. Call it, then call it again. Call it until you get somebody on the phone that you can convince to relax the empire's eligibility rules, allowing Connor Shaw to return to South Carolina on a part-time basis. We thought we were responsible enough to be left at home alone, but we set the kitchen on fire and obviously have a desperate need for the close supervision of Connor Shaw. Send Mark Emmert a carrier pigeon for all I care, just get it done.

2. Play "State Fair BINGO" with football players.

South Carolina football players are just like you and me. The allure of bright lights and fried butter is too much for even the most finely-tuned athletes to avoid. And for this reason, you'll probably find your friendly neighborhood weakside linebacker at the State Fair this weekend. Grab your friends, print out some blank bingo boards and fill them in with your favorite Gamecocks' names. When you see one of them in line for the Ferris Wheel, mark it down. The first person to get BINGO wins a giant turkey leg or something. Shon Carson is the free space in the middle, obviously. 

3. Actively root against all the different teams you hate.

Just because South Carolina isn't playing doesn't mean the rest of the nation won't be. As Gamecocks, we've burned a lot of bridges with different schools around the college football landscape because of the chips we like to keep on our shoulders. Therefore, we have a lot of teams to root against. Clemson is playing Louisville in an unranked battle to see who can lose in the most hilarious fashion. No. 13 Georgia and No. 23 Missouri are playing for the driver's seat in the SEC East, so that's a great chance for Gamecock fans to grumble at their televisions and throw things. Maybe while you're on the horn with the NCAA, you can hash out a way for both of those teams to lose. North Carolina and Southern California, the two impostor schools masquerading around as South Carolina's various shorthands, are both playing top-10 teams. So with any luck, they'll lose by an aggregate 150 points.

4. Explore other interests.

For a game that lasts about three hours on a Saturday, this whole football thing takes up a lot of time. Do you think Christopher Columbus  would've discovered America if he'd been shotgunning a Busch Light in the frat lots of Spain? No, that's balderdash. Go paint something. Write a short story. Learn to play the harpsichord. But be sure to make the most of your weekend of spiritual liberation while it's here because we've got Furman next week, and there's no way we hang 70 on them if you're not all-in by Monday.