Steve Spurrier Makes Second Return to Gainesville, Florida Faces South Carolina


The annual

South Carolina

matchup is always difficult for me to swallow. Let me preface that by emphatically stating that in no way do I remotely want the Gamecocks to even score a point, let alone pull out a win, and I was just as mad as the next Gator fan when they beat


in 2005. But it’s still hard for me on two accounts. First of all, I have family that attended South Carolina. I would say it was against their better judgment, but they spent much of their younger days living in Columbia, so I can’t say I blame them for attending the local school. Again, this does not make me cheer for the Cocks, but it makes me at least respect the school some of my family members attended, if only because they are the only members of my family I know of that went to a school with a large football program.

But more importantly, this matchup tears at me because of one Stephen Orr Spurrier. My love for the Gators really developed into what it is today during the 90s. Apparently, I was a Florida fan from the time I was much younger (at least that’s what my parents tell me) – despite having no relationship with anyone who ever attended the school – but I really began to get fully into sports around the time I was in sixth grade. Most 12-year-old boys liked girls. I liked Shane Matthews. It was then that I expanded my sports knowledge outside of that year’s Topps baseball card set. I knew I liked the Gators and one day wanted to be one (well not an actually player, even I was aware of my lack of athletic ability from an early age), but it was Spurrier that turned that into a love of all things orange and blue. Some Florida fans curse the man who is now the head coach of a divisional rival. I thank him for turning me into an obsessive fan and for making the football program what it is today.

So that’s why this matchup always bugs me. Of all the places the Ol’ Ball Coach could’ve ended up, why did it have to be at a school that Florida faces every year? There should be a clause that doesn’t allow this to happen. If the NCAA would return my phone calls, it would already be in place. Anyway…

Suddenly, the Gators fall into the “don’t get caught looking ahead” category. They’ve clinched the SEC East and know that on December 6, they will face #1 Alabama for the conference title – and possibly a shot at the national championship. Because of that, South Carolina is hoping they can sneak up on Florida. Can it happen? Yes. Is it likely? No. The Gators are so hot right now; it would take something catastrophic to cool them down. I’m talking the entire Florida team comes down with the plague big. South Carolina has been playing good football as of late. Florida has been playing off-the-charts, out-of-this-world football. There’s a big difference.

Florida may return to earth for this one if even slightly, but at the rate the Gators are going, returning to earth could simply mean a 35-14 win as opposed to something along the lines of 52-10. The Gamecock defense could slow the explosivity of the offense slightly, but in the end, do any of us really think South Carolina will hold the Gators to anything less than 35? I know I asked similar questions when it came to Ole Miss, but Florida has learned its lesson. Advantage Gators.