Surprise! Spurrier proves South Carolina can be player in SEC

Steve Spurrier was carried off the field by players after winning at Florida two weeks ago.

Steve Spurrier was carried off the field by players after winning at Florida two weeks ago.

If there’s one thing more surprising than Auburn’s meteoric ascent this season under a coach, Gene Chizik, who mostly was lampooned when he was hired, it’s this: South Carolina is in the SEC championship game.

When Steve Spurrier was hired by the Gamecocks, most figured he had a low ceiling for success. The doubt had nothing to do with Spurrier, who had proven to be nothing short of a terrific college coach, despite his failures in the NFL with the Washington Redskins. It was more about his ability to recruit enough talent to Columbia and win the SEC Division, which meant finishing ahead of traditional powers Georgia, Florida and Tennessee.

So here’s the question: Is what happened this year an aberration?

The Gamecocks are a pretty good team with a few players — particularly running back Marcus Lattimore and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery — who could start for any team in the country. But they obviously benefited this season from Georgia, Florida and Tennessee having down seasons.

Still, doesn’t almost every team win a division or a conference at least in part because an opponent took a step back?

ESPN’s SEC blogger, Chris Low, has posted a good column on this subject. He offers his own mea culpa for believing South Carolina would never play for the SEC title and believes Spurrier has cemented his legacy.

Personally, I think Spurrier’s legacy already was cemented. This just enhances it.

OK, try to get past your lingering disdain for Spurrier from Florida days for just a moment.

I’m guessing many of you believe Spurrier will have to do this again to prove South Carolina’s legitimacy as an SEC contender. But the Gamecocks this season have defeated Georgia, Alabama and Florida in the SEC, and last week annihilated Clemson.

Back in September, they also led Auburn in the fourth quarter before losing 35-27. Nobody should consider this rematch a gimme for the Tigers. And now that Spurrier has accomplished this once, nobody should assume South Carolina will be an annual afterthought in the SEC East.

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201 comments Add your comment

vmguru

November 30th, 2010
11:41 am

vmguru

November 30th, 2010
11:41 am

Could the old ballcoach actually be making a comeback?

Auburn Paid me

November 30th, 2010
11:54 am

to say… GO CAMMY “CADDYLACK” NEWTON!!!!!!!!!!!

Sanford Drive

November 30th, 2010
11:55 am

To the Georgia Tech Frat-Boys who sat right behind me at the game Saturday night,

First, you looked kind of cute in your yellow pants, sweater vests and bowties. I guarantee you all the UGA ladies were wishing they could cross over to the dark side just to have a single date with you.

But you showed a lot of class this night. You are VERY lucky you were not punched in the face when you would scream “To Hell with Georgia” and boo each and every player being announced for Senior Night.

Your whiskey laced breathe and non-stop ramblings were exactly what you seem to ridicule UGA fans at Sanford Stadium for doing. So thanks for proving that you are in NO WAY better than any other student/fan/alum who also tailgates all day for a night game against a hated rival. For a second, you and your Tech bretheren had me believing you were sainthood, good christian fans.

You guys disappeared in the 3rd Quarter, after Justin Houston picked up the ball from your battered running back who just got LIT-UP by Akeem Dent. I havent witnessed a vanishing like that since Randy Shannon after an embarrassing loss to Central Florida. I hope you boys made it home safe.

And my final message to you is simple………

(((((42-34)))))
9-1
61-39-5
We STILL Run This State!!!!!

MURPHY

November 30th, 2010
11:55 am

Spurrier will beat Aubarn in the Dome!

Dontavius Supremo

November 30th, 2010
11:56 am

Auburn 44 SC 28

producewiz

November 30th, 2010
11:58 am

Spirrier has always had a sense of humor. that’s why Urban is having problems.Can’t laugh at himself.He’s cut down on his gator club appearances, radio call in shows, ( sends an assistant), .Really not a fan friendly guy.It’s o.k. at 13 & 1,but wears on people at 7 & 5 or7 &6.Little humility might help him because his coaching and coaching staff did their worst job ever.

We STILL Run This State

November 30th, 2010
12:00 pm

(((((42-34)))))

Lucky Year

November 30th, 2010
12:01 pm

Spurrier was lucky because everyone else had a down year. They lost 3 games and still won the East. That doesn’t happen often. He was lucky once, not going to happen again. It will be a long time before TN, GA, and FL all have off years. He’ll be long gone.

Sanford Drive

November 30th, 2010
12:01 pm

I hope this play runs through Tein Washington and Roddy Jones’ heads ALL. YEAR. LONG.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KDrPUcUsFY

Roddy Jones LIT-UP by Akeem Dent. Tevin Washington dragged to the goal line by Justin Houston.

BOOM!!!!!

(((((42-34)))))

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tennessee Vols News and Travis Haney, Jeff Schultz. Jeff Schultz said: Surprise! Spurrier proves South Carolina can be player in SEC http://bit.ly/hBOyxF [...]

Matthews Dawg

November 30th, 2010
12:06 pm

If you take Lattimore off that team, they are not near as good! If it’s left up to Garcia, he will throw it to the other team when put under pressure. Lattimore is there and he is the difference maker! He is the real deal and THAT will be what makes USC a contender for the East for the next few years. Don’t believe me, look at the Auburn, Kentucky games and then look what he did to Alabama and UGA. He’s a monster and I think Spurrier is the one who lost Auburn and Kentucky games. He is a good coach who overcoaches sometimes. Go Dawgs!!!

jack bull

November 30th, 2010
12:13 pm

good for South Carolina, they’ve been one of the worst college football programs for a very long time..i really hope they win it, Saturday…but, yes, they will have to do this more than once to show they can sustain it..

Mickey

November 30th, 2010
12:13 pm

Just a lucky year.

Spurrier’s never won more than 7 games at South Carolina.

He’s not good anymore.

Just had a lucky year where the ball bounced his way.

Whenn he finishes in the top 10 4 times in a row at SC, like Richt did at Georgia, we’ll let him into the “good” category.

OkefenokeeDawg

November 30th, 2010
12:19 pm

Jeff, the Techies frequently say that UGA won the SEC back when UF was “down.” Well obviously UF and the rest of the SEC East is “down” this season, because we never won it with 3 losses . . .

Even so, congrats to SC and the Evil Genius. Beat Auburn!

Mickey

November 30th, 2010
12:20 pm

Spurrier blew the Auburn game by benching Garcia and going with Shaw. Coach lost that one. He almost always ends the seaosn at South Carolina on a 3 or 4 loss run, I think this year’s his only exception.

Mickey

November 30th, 2010
12:21 pm

Richt’s never been DOWN if you think about it.

He’s never even had 2 seasons where he didn’t finish in the top 10 at least one of those seasons until this year, going all the way back to 1985, 18 top 10 finishes by Richt, it’s one of the greatest runs in all of college football.

wareagle

November 30th, 2010
12:24 pm

I can assure you Auburn does not consider this game a gimme. This after all is Spurrier, and Spurrier with good players makes for a dangerous team Both teams have come a long way since they played earlier in the season. Should be a good game. Auburn will be ready. War Eagle!

5150 P.O.A.D.

November 30th, 2010
12:28 pm

Sanford Drive didn’t you see this blog was abour Spurrier and South Carolina? Man you just have a personal inferiority complex bad.

Mickey

November 30th, 2010
12:31 pm

Jeff,

Conme clean. If Richt had only finished in the top 10 1 time in 8 years, would you be so kind in your article? Ywet Richt’s finished there 6 times, and no similar kindness. One ponders why?

GaBlue

November 30th, 2010
12:31 pm

What wareagle said at 12:24!

No one is taking this game forgranted. Spurrier is preparing and motivating his team for what could well be the greatest night of their young lives (so far.) Garcia is no Cam, but he’s a talented QB, and talent + intense training + motivation = has a shot in Saturday’s game.

ncb34

November 30th, 2010
12:32 pm

it takes a little luck anytime to win the east, and good timing.
what if stafford, moreno, green and momass were on UGA’s offense this year? the east would be Georgia’s. but they were here when tebow and harvin were around. just the way it goes sometimes. having lattimore and alshon with experienced garcia this season worked perfect. give them credit. if they had this team in 07 or 08, they would have finished 2nd or third. it takes a little luck no matter who wins it.

McDawg

November 30th, 2010
12:33 pm

USC is loaded at their skill positions but looks to be losing alot of seniors on OL and DL-already looking forward to next year

Honky Talkin'

November 30th, 2010
12:37 pm

Can’t Dawg fans figure out this story is not about them or GA Tech? I know they’re ignorant but this is ridiculous. Is the score against Tech the only thing they have going for them in their pathetic trailer-park lives?

Hillbilly Deluxe

November 30th, 2010
12:39 pm

But they obviously benefited this season from Georgia, Florida and Tennessee having down seasons.

South Carolina beat all three of those, helping to contribute to their “down” seasons.

UGA PRESEASON NUMBER ONE WOOF WOOF!

November 30th, 2010
12:46 pm

“Spurrier will beat Aubarn in the Dome!”

You also predicted that LSU and Arkansas would beat Auburn.

Leon "Pooch-Kick" Trotsky

November 30th, 2010
12:46 pm

Good post Schultz. I always thought that South Carolina was a coaching graveyard, just a bad luck program no matter who the HC is. Kudos to the Head Ball Coach. Was considering taking USC and the points this weekend, but we’ve just lost too many rubles betting on the roosters.

UGA PRESEASON NUMBER ONE WOOF WOOF!

November 30th, 2010
12:48 pm

“Spurrier blew the Auburn game by benching Garcia and going with Shaw. ”

That’s because Garcia was hurt just like he is right now.

Stephen Garcia banged up

South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia landed hard on his left shoulder Saturday in the 29-7 win over Clemson and was in a sling Monday.

The Gamecocks don’t have a normal practice on Monday, but when they return to the practice field Tuesday, Garcia will be limited. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier fully expects Garcia to play in the SEC championship game, but doesn’t want to rush him back to practice too quickly this week. Garcia also injured the thumb on his throwing hand when he hit it against a helmet in the Clemson game.

http://espn.go.com/blog/sec/post/_/id/17357/stephen-garcia-banged-up

Gator Mike

November 30th, 2010
12:49 pm

Congrats to South Carolina, but UGA, UT and UF will be back in a big way in the near future. Dooley may well have UT ahead of schedule, and UGA will be much better next year. UF is an offensive coordinator away from being competitive again. Spurrier will eventually go back to his home in Crescent Beach, FL and hook up with his long time Gator pals. Carolina has some exceptional players at this time, and they will need a coach who can keep it going. The Carolina fans deserve this year’s team success, but it may be much tougher for them in the East next year.
I wish them well in the title game, but I want AU to go all the way.

UGA PRESEASON NUMBER ONE WOOF WOOF!

November 30th, 2010
12:50 pm

“Whenn he finishes in the top 10 4 times in a row at SC, like Richt did at Georgia, we’ll let him into the “good” category.”

Georgia hasn’t been “good” in several years.

UGA PRESEASON NUMBER ONE WOOF WOOF!

November 30th, 2010
12:51 pm

“UGA, UT and UF will be back in a big way in the near future.”

UT and UF will, but not UGA.

Auburn Fan

November 30th, 2010
12:54 pm

Garcia is banged up and hurt his hand in the Clemson game.

Warhorse

November 30th, 2010
1:00 pm

Spurrier single-handedly changed the look of the SEC by coming in and dominating the conference like it never has been done for a decade — even more than the Bear for a given decade. His offense changed the conference from the days of Pat Dye types who ran three downs and then praved for the defense to do something to change the game.

Spurs does more with less than any coach in the conference. He won at Duke — in football; that makes him a legend and all the UF and USC stuff is just icing on a cake of excellence.

jim

November 30th, 2010
1:04 pm

USC is only a contender because all the other teams in the division are having a down year. South Carolina will never be for real.

The Blair Miss Project

November 30th, 2010
1:04 pm

<————– WIDE LEFT <—————

(((((42-34))))) hahahahahahaha!!!!

atlvol55

November 30th, 2010
1:05 pm

Jeff,

“But they obviously benefited this season from Georgia, Florida and Tennessee having down seasons.”

Lets face it…Florida and UGA both had the worst teams they have had in 10 years. TN has the worst talent they have had in about 20 years and South Carolina had the most talent they have ever had and they barely won the SEC East. USC also benefitted from a very generous home schedule and beat UGA without AJ Green…

The stars aligned for South Carolina this year. In another year or two, they will return to mediocrity. They don’t have the facilities or tradition to match up with Florida, UGA, or Tennessee on a regular basis just like Ole Miss. Ole Miss and Arkansas will have a good year every now and then, but will never seriously challenge LSU, Alabma, or Auburn.

5150 P.O.A.D.

November 30th, 2010
1:05 pm

Jeff Schultz
You are are so last Month. Didn’t you get the MEMO. When Auburn’s Big Bad FAIRLEY hurt the UGA QB all Dawgs forgave Spurrier and they now FULLY BACK HIM. UGA has to have another team take down those Dirty Boys at AUBURN.
Mickey don’t count the years at FSU. Richt wasn’t the head coach.
The SEC east is so bad it isn’t even funny, but all the teams that are down still say the SEC is the Best in the country. Take Ole Miss & MSU out of the west, add Flordia & UT to the west, and then the SEC east would be fun to watch. The bottom feeders could all fight for a chance to really play in the SEC. The winner of the East would get to be a member or the REAL SEC the next yr. and the biggest loser in the West would have to be in the SEC least for a year.

Paul in RDU

November 30th, 2010
1:07 pm

Sanford Drive
Great story concerning the UGA-GT game. One question – how was there a GT fan sitting in the middle of a bunch of UGA fans since UGA always sells all of their tickets?

Boca Baby

November 30th, 2010
1:10 pm

Since the creation of the the twelve team SEC no teams other than UF, TN and UGA have won the East, until this year. And this year must be considered for what it is. All three of these schools are down this year. While SC is a better team this year, in a normal SEC East year, even the performance by the Gamecocks would have fallen woefully short. They lost a close one at Auburn early in the season (before Auburn started hitting their stride), gave one away in Lexington and got their rear ends handed to them by Arkansas at home. They are 5-3 in the conference. This normally equates to a second or third place finish in the division. For Carolina to consider this year anything other than the aberration that it is would be a leap at best. The bottom line is that the field has come back to them. Only a fool would believe that the normally top three in the East will remain in the realm of mediocrity. This is a place normally reserved for the Carolinas of the world.

dawgfan

November 30th, 2010
1:17 pm

I don’t play the “you only won because so and so is down” BS game. That’s been played on Georgia when we’ve won it and its ridiculous. South Carolina was the best the best team in the East so they won it. Its that simple. The other teams are by definition DOWN because they did not win it. Take Advil for headaches.

Pago Pago DAWG

November 30th, 2010
1:17 pm

This was an awful UF team this year, and still…..UGA couldn’t beat them!!!

Dawg4Life

November 30th, 2010
1:19 pm

You can sell out your tickets and have some fans post them on stubhub,ebay,etc. for sale..duh!

Bama Bill

November 30th, 2010
1:19 pm

Spurrier beat Bama straight-up and will do the same to Auburn this Saturday. His team has an excellent defensive coach who will adjust and tweak Bama’s defense and Spuuier’s offense will score the 40 points required. Go Gamecocks !

Aldo Raine

November 30th, 2010
1:20 pm

Sanford Drive, Do not ever confuse nerd fans as being “nice” fans! The last time I went that place next to 85 they call a stadium I left at the start of the 3rd quarter because I was confronted 5 times just getting to my seats! On top of the constant yelling and throwing trash on me and my guest at my seats. I will never return to nerdville/robville/no pretty girlville ever again! Oh and we still run this state!

Steve Tanneyhill

November 30th, 2010
1:22 pm

After playing in the league for 20 years, this was bound to happen eventually. I don’t see USC as a regular in Atlanta in the future. Blind squirrel finds a nut.

Astropig

November 30th, 2010
1:23 pm

Best SEC coaches ever:

1) Paul ” Bear” Bryant
2) Steven Orr Spurrier
3) Bobby Dodd
4) General Robert Neyland
5) Ralph “Shug” Jordan (Tie) Vince Dooley

Those are the facts. Spurrier has been good for the SEC, Florida and South Carolina ,in that order. We are lucky to watch an all time great this Saturday.SC will be good again next year. Florida and Georgia have a lot of work to do and Tennessee didn’t beat a good team all year. ‘11 is shaping up like this year for the east’s contenders.

Thank you coach Spurrier,for winning the right way.

ATL Cock

November 30th, 2010
1:25 pm

One and done for SC, eh? We’ll see. All of their skill players are returning next year and SC is cleaning up in recruiting this year, hopefully to be capped off by Mr. Clowney from South Pointe, the #1 prospect in the nation. With AJ leaving for the NFL, I predict more disappointment in Athens next year, continued Tebow-less chaos in Gainesville, and only marginal improvement in Tennessee (until the arrests begin, at least), followed by a repeat SEC-E championship by the Cocks in 2011.

Alabama Jack

November 30th, 2010
1:26 pm

Bite me sanford drive. at least they didn’t pee on your back, or did they?

Chuck

November 30th, 2010
1:28 pm

What do Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Clemson and Florida have in common this season? They all lost by double-digits to South Carolina.

If the game is tight on Saturday, which head coach are you going to put your money on–Gene Chizik or the guy who’s been there and done that many times before?

wussydog

November 30th, 2010
1:30 pm

Dawg4LIfe – so you ADMIT that UGA fans gave up on this season and sold their tickets to Techies?!?! duh