Spurrier won the Heisman Trophy as Florida’s quarterback in 1966 and coached his alma mater to a national championship 30 years later.
But he’s coached the Gamecocks the past nine seasons and believes it’s long past time for the focus to shift off him and onto the field when No. 11 South Carolina (7-2, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) take on the Gators (4-5, 3-4) tonight.
“I was just thinking, I bet Vince Dooley, when he was coaching at Georgia, you know he went to Auburn. Every time be played Auburn, I bet they didn’t ask him about that. And of course, Pat Dye played at Georgia, he was coach at Auburn,” Spurrier said this week. “No, that’s really a non-subject to talk about, I’d say. It’s just our team against their team. Players on the field are going to decide this thing.”
Still, there are probably plenty of Florida fans wishing for Spurrier’s days on the sidelines when he won six SEC titles, that national title and was always had one of the most interesting programs in college football.
That circus left Gainesville after the 2001 season and now Spurrier’s got the Gamecocks (7-2, 5-2 SEC) competing with the best teams in the game. The Gamecocks can wrap up another 6-2 SEC season – they hadn’t won more than five SEC games before Spurrier arrived – and extend the program’s record home win streak to 16 games.
There also remains a shot at the SEC Eastern Division if ninth-ranked Missouri loses at least once to Ole Miss, or No. 10 Texas A&M and two-loss, 25th-ranked Georgia loses to Auburn or Kentucky down the stretch.
Florida’s had a season filled with season-ending injuries to 10 players. The Gators are on a four-game skid after falling to Vanderbilt at home for the first time since 1945.
“I felt really good going into the season with where we were,” Gators coach Will Muschamp said. “Certainly, we’ve not had the results we wanted consistently through the year and that’s been frustrating. I certainly think (injuries) has had an effect, but we’ve got to find ways to get it right.”