Story Poster
Photo by Brandon Jones, TexAgs
Texas A&M Football

Spurrier's legacy, USC's streak define SEC's opening week

August 28, 2014
10,999

This week’s SEC schedule
Thursday: Texas A&M at South Carolina ... Boise State vs. Ole Miss ... Temple at Vanderbilt | Saturday: Tennessee-Martin at Kentucky ... South Dakota State at Missouri ... West Virginia vs. Alabama ... Arkansas at Auburn ... Clemson at Georgia ... Idaho at Florida ... Southern Miss at Mississippi State ... Wisconsin vs. LSU | Sunday: Utah State at Tennessee

 

The truth about the nation's best head coach

Go ahead, if you must, and anoint Nick Saban as the best coach in college football. Most of the media has.

I’m not buying it, though.

Steve Spurrier is college football’s best coach. He has been for 20 years. He’s proven it again over the last three.

Spurrier won an Atlantic Coast Conference championship at Duke, which posted just 29 victories in nine seasons before he arrived in Durham and 30 victories in nine seasons after he left. He won a national championship at Florida, which had a history of mediocrity before he got there. He turned Florida into a national power.

There's not any question based on his track record of not just the player but the system being able to work, and him being able to work his quarterbacks into systems. They're going to be good at what they do, and that's never going to change. - Kevin Sumlin on Steve Spurrier {"Module":"quote","Alignment":"left","Quote":"There\u0027s not any question based on his track record of not just the player but the system being able to work, and him being able to work his quarterbacks into systems. They\u0027re going to be good at what they do, and that\u0027s never going to change.","Author":"Kevin Sumlin on Steve Spurrier"}
And at South Carolina he’s exorcised the dreaded “Chicken Curse” by leading the Gamecocks to three consecutive 11-win seasons the past three years.

He could make it four straight this season, which South Carolina opens against Texas A&M tonight.

"Look at what Coach Spurrier has done, three straight 11-win seasons,” Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said last week. “There's not any question based on his track record of not just the player but the system being able to work, and him being able to work his quarterbacks into systems. They're going to be good at what they do, and that's never going to change.”

But it’s hard to change minds that Saban is college football’s best coach because he’s won national championships at LSU and Alabama and four overall.

Yet, it’s actually more difficult to win at Duke and South Carolina and even at Florida in 1990 than it is at Alabama or LSU.

Don’t believe me?

Well, aside from Saban, two coaches won national titles at LSU — Les Miles (2007) and Paul Dietzel (1958). Dietzel later coached at South Carolina and managed just 42 victories in nine seasons.

True, Saban has won three national championships Alabama. But Bear Bryant won a half dozen. Gene Stallings won one, too. So did Frank Thomas.

Spurrier has excelled where no one else could.

He took over a Duke program that had managed 29 victories in the nine seasons before his arrival. Spurrier was 20-13-1 in his three seasons there. Duke won the Atlantic Coast Conference championship in 1989, Spurrier’s final season in Durham.

No Duke coach has had a winning record since.

Florida did not win an SEC championship until Spurrier arrived. Then, the Gators won four SEC titles and a national championship in Spurrier’s first five seasons in Gainesville.

South Carolina’s pre-Spurrier history was even more dismal. The Gamecocks had won one — ONE — conference championship in their football history (the ’69 ACC title with a 7-4 record). They then lost to West Virginia 14-3 in the Peach Bowl.

Brandon Jones, TexAgs Spurrier has taken the USC program to heights it never reached before with apparent ease and impressive consistency. {"Module":"photo","Alignment":"right","Size":"large","Caption":"Spurrier has taken the USC program to heights it never reached before with apparent ease and impressive consistency.","MediaItemID":44504}
Even when they were good they were bad. In ’84 South Carolina was 10-0 and ranked No. 2 in the nation on Nov. 17. Earlier that day No. 1 Nebraska lost to Oklahoma 17-7. So, the Gamecocks only needed to beat 3-5-1 Navy to take over the top spot in the national polls.

Navy rolled 38-21.

That was just another example of the “Chicken Curse,” a hex that doomed the Gamecocks to athletic mediocrity. The curse bestowed upon South Carolina by former Governor Ben Tillman because the state’s elite tried to prevent the establishment of a university that would cater to poor farmers.

That university, of course, is Clemson.

Anyway, South Carolina never posted a double-digit victory total after the ’84 season until Spurrier led the Gamecocks to an 11-2 finish in 2011.

In fact, South Carolina’s all-time football record was 499-508-44 before Spurrier. The Gamecocks are 77-39 under him.

“The way Spurrier calls a game and prepares a team to be in the right mindset … I don’t think anyone does a better job,” said Joshua Kendall, the South Carolina beat writer for the Columbia State newspaper.”

No argument here.

But go ahead and laud Saban as the best coach in college football.

Just remember, though, it’s a lot easier to maintain a garden than it is plant one.


Around the SEC

Who’s hot: South Carolina enters the 2014 season riding a six-game winning streak. It’s the longest current streak among SEC teams. The Gamecocks beat three ranked opponents in that streak — No. 5 Missouri, No. 6 Clemson and No. 19 Wisconsin. Also, South Carolina has an 18-game winning streak at Williams-Brice Stadium and has won 14 consecutive season-openers.

Who’s not: Arkansas QB Brandon Allen passed for fewer than 200 yards in each of the Razorbacks’ last seven games. He completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes in four of those games. He also threw seven interceptions and only five touchdown passes in that span.

There could be some serious crow to eat if SEC teams to get off a slow start in an opening week which features some interesting inter-conference matchups ... Expect Bob Stoops and other SEC detractors to turn cartwheels if the SEC has a losing record in those games. {"Module":"quote","Alignment":"left","Quote":"There could be some serious crow to eat if SEC teams to get off a slow start in an opening week which features some interesting inter-conference matchups ... Expect Bob Stoops and other SEC detractors to turn cartwheels if the SEC has a losing record in those games.","Author":""}
Keep an eye on: LSU’s defensive tackles. Redshirt freshman Frank Herron and sophomore Christian LaCouture are likely replacements in the starting lineup for Ego Ferguson and Anthony Johnson, who were early departures to the NFL. They draw the sizable task of facing Wisconsin’s interior offensive line which includes returning starters Dan Voltz at center and Kyle Costigan at guard. By the way, they helped Melvin Gordon rush for more than 1,600 yards last season. LSU could be in trouble in Gordon has a productive outing.

Pressure is on: The SEC and its fans frequently boast its brand of football is superior to the rest of the nation. That’s fine as long as SEC teams routinely defeat opponents from other conferences.

But there could be some serious crow to eat if SEC teams to get off a slow start in an opening week which features some interesting inter-conference matchups, including Ole Miss vs. Boise State, West Virginia vs. Alabama, Wisconsin vs. LSU, Clemson vs. Georgia and Utah State vs. Tennessee. Expect Bob Stoops and other SEC detractors to turn cartwheels if the SEC has a losing record in those games.

Upset alert: Though Tennessee is a six-point favorite at home against Utah State, the Volunteers could be in trouble. The Aggies posted nine victories last season — and that was largely without injured star quarterback Chuckie Keeton. He’s back along with 11 other starters. Meanwhile, Tennessee has completely rebuilt offensive and defensive lines.

Skill talent, especially at receiver, might be enough to lift the Vols. Still, don’t forget Keeton almost led Utah State to an opening victory over Auburn in 2011. He was just a freshman then. He should be even more dangerous as a senior.
Discussion from...

Spurrier's legacy, USC's streak define SEC's opening week

10,007 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 8 yr ago by Charlie 31
Olin Buchanan
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Staff
S
Spurrier's legacy, USC's streak define SEC's opening week
SupaManu
How long do you want to ignore this user?
biobioprof
How long do you want to ignore this user?
exorcise a curse, Olin, not exercise.
Charlie 31
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
We exercised that curse, tonight!
Refresh
Page 1 of 1
 
×
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.