Steve Spurrier has not coached a team in a big time, traditional New Years Day bowl game since romping Maryland 56-23 in the 2002 Orange Bowl. It is hard to believe so much time has passed by since one of the most quotable coaches in the sport of college football has had a chance to shine on such a big stage, but now is the time for that void to be filled. Spurrier needs to lead South Carolina to one of the big bowl games this season. He deserves it, and so do we.
Spurrier on Clemson being 1st team from SC to win BCS bowl: “He’s right. Although we beat them every year. We don’t get to go. They do”
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) July 22, 2014
At the end of last season Clemson topped Ohio State to win the Orange Bowl, becoming the first team from South Carolina to win a BCS bowl game. Clemson will not stop bragging about that, but Spurrier will always have the in-state rivalry edge in his favor. South Carolina has beaten Clemson five straight seasons, all by double digits and an average margin of defeat of 16.8 points per game. South Carolina has owned the state, but Clemson is the one with a BCS bowl trophy.
There is no doubting Spurrier has had teams worthy of participating in a BCS bowl game since he has found a way to take the feeble program and make it one of the top programs in the country. The Gamecocks have finished in the top ten of the final AP Top 25 poll each of the past three seasons and played for one SEC championship but have been left on the outside looking in mostly due to the BCS rules limiting how many teams from one conference may play in one of the big money games (the Rose, Fiesta, Sugar and Orange). The SEC has had one spot in the BCS Championship each of the past eight seasons, and there has been a second SEC team in another BCS bowl game more often than not. South Carolina was either not quite good enough to make the cut or was passed over for more seemingly attractive options (No. 3 Florida was the SEC’s second BCS school in the 2012 season, for example).
This year could be different. Hopefully, it will be, for the sake of entertainment.
South Carolina has been tabbed as the media favorite to win the SEC East Division and they are entering the year as a top ten pick according to Phil Steele, Athlon Sports and Sporting News. Athlon Sports projects the Gamecocks to play in the Fiesta Bowl, the only “BCS Bowl” prediction from those three. I do not believe South Carolina will be one of the top four teams in the country to play in the College Football Playoff, but I do think there will be a decent chance the Gamecocks are selected to play in one of the other top bowls, perhaps the Peach Bowl. With the Peach Bowl not being included in the College Football Playoff rotation, the odds just slanted in favor of the Gamecocks in 2014, one might suggest.
I have no rooting interest in South Carolina football, but I do enjoy seeing some of the biggest names in the sport’s history perform on the big stage. Spurrier was once the top coach in the college football world, and with the work he has done at South Carolina I find it impossible to not consider him one of the true living legends of the sport. I do not know how many more years Spurrier will be cranked up for in Columbia, but it would be naive to suggest he coaches into his 80s. Heck, maybe he would, but creeping up on the big 7-0 usually means a coach is about at the end of the line on the sidelines. retirement has been discussed by Spurrier in more recent seasons as well, although he continues to put off that talk until a later time. Growing up and following Penn State football for as long as I have, I can tell you there is a benefit to calling it a career when the time is right. I am not wishing Spurrier off to retirement to play golf and lounge on the beaches or anything like that, but I do hope he knows when the time is right and goes out on a high note.
“I thought I was going to coach in the NFL five or six years and retire to the beach and play golf a bunch and travel around,” Spurrier said at SEC Media Days (according to The Times-Picayune). “That was a bad plan, not a real good idea. But that’s the way I was thinking back then.”
The NFL plan obviously did not pan out as he had hoped, although as an Eagles fan I have this fond memory, but thankfully Spurrier was given a chance to get back to what he does best at the college level. Considering how far South Carolina’s program has come under his guidance and patience, it would be fitting to see the Gamecocks get a chance to play on a big stage at the end of this season.
Wouldn’t we all want to see Spurrier get one last big game under his belt?