TAMPA - Most audible press-box gasp ever. Ever.
In my time covering sports, I've never seen a hit like the one South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney put on Michigan tailback Vincent Smith in the fourth quarter of the Gamecocks' 33-28 win.
Smith is listed at 5-foot-7, 175 pounds. Clowney is listed at 6-foot-6, 256 pounds.
Guess what. Physics is probably not going to work in Smith's favor.
The hit was so vicious that it didn't just pop the ball out of Smith's hands, and it didn't just pop the helmet off Smith's head. It elicited a collective gasp from the media. And it made a statement - that Jadeveon Clowney is, pardon the cliche, not just a man among boys. A 19-year-old man among boys. And we get one more year to watch him play at South Carolina.
Don't be surprised if Taylor Lewan departs for the NFL. He said after today's loss that he needed to speak with his teammates and with Michigan's staff before announcing his decision whether to stay for a fifth year or turn pro. He also didn't disclose the contents of his paperwork from the NFL's Draft Advisory Board - whatever the contents were, they'd probably be enough of an indicator to which way Lewan is leaning.
I thought someone was going to have to roll me out of Raymond James Stadium (aka RayJay). So. Much. Outback. Including the ubiquitous Bloomin' Onion.
Met a lot of great people this week. Saw probably the best football game of New Year's Day. Really enjoyed working a bowl week for the first time in my career. But I'm ready to head home. Gracias, Tampa!