By Hunter Ford
Steve Spurrier once said you can’t spell citrus, as in Citrus Bowl, without UT, as in University of Tennessee. Back then, the Ole Ball Coach was the coach of the mighty 1990’s era Florida Gators. The Gators always seemed to knock the Volunteers out of contention for the SEC championship early in the season, thus relegating them to the Citrus Bowl, the equivalent of an “also participated” trophy in T-ball.
These days Spurrier is coaching the South Carolina Gamecocks. You all know the story on that. After a failed attempt with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier returned to coach a historically mediocre program, which at the time was still one of the newest members of the SEC. Spurrier has had some success at South Carolina. Winning the SEC hasn’t been part of that.
At least, Spurrier hasn’t lost his zeal for launching zingers at opponents via the media. Recently he skeptically reviewed Alabama coach Nick Sabin’s record at Alabama.
“How many SECs has (Saban) won there (at Alabama) in eight years?” Spurrier asked? “He’s won two, three nationals, but he’s only won two SECs in eight years. Now, if you had the No.1 recruiting class every year and so forth, I don’t know if he has maxed out potentially as well as he could.”
Saban has coached Alabama for seven full seasons; this year’s campaign will be his eighth. Saban has won the Western Division of the SEC three times, the BCS Championship three times, and the overall SEC twice.
Spurrier has coached South Carolina for nine full seasons. In a division that has been watered down since the decline of Tennessee, Spurrier has won the “Easy East” one time (2010), and got pummeled by Auburn in the SEC championship. In 2011 Spurrier’s 11-2 Gamecocks lost to a terrible Auburn team. Last year, his team (another 11-2 season) lost to a mediocre Tennessee squad in a game that essentially cost South Carolina the Eastern Division title. Spurrier also has a loss to Connecticut on his resume. You remember the 2009 Papa John’s Bowl in Birmingham? Who needs to be talking about maximized potential?
I’m not so sure about Spurrier’s coaching ability these days. But it’s good to see he hasn’t maxed-out his potential for smack-talk. He has a lot of that left in him.
Oh, and he thinks Alabama should play Tennessee as a non-conference game.