South Carolina Football: What a Poor Season Would Mean for Spurrier's Future
Steve Spurrier has done wonders for the South Carolina football program.
He's built a consistent winner on and off the field with the recent success in the SEC, and he's brought in higher quality recruits to compete on a national level.
But success didn't come over night like Steve Spurrier had hoped for.
There were a few seasons of mediocrity for the Head Ball Coach who questioned whether or not he could get the job done after the Outback Bowl following the 2008 season. It's a good thing Spurrier held out for the Gamecocks, as the resurgence of the football program began turning around the following year.
Fast forward. South Carolina is coming off a strong 2011 season with hopes of having an even better year in 2012. However, there could be a chance that South Carolina struggles this year thanks to a tough schedule in SEC play.
What could a poor season do for Coach Spurrier's future at South Carolina? Here are a few ideas.
No. 1: Loss of Momentum from Past Two Seasons
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South Carolina won the SEC East in 2010. They ended up winning 11 games in 2011 with a win over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl.
It was the best two-year stretch in South Carolina football history. If South Carolina failed to continue the winning ways of the past two seasons, it would wipe out all momentum that Coach Spurrier has worked to build for the Gamecocks.
There have been some impressive feats by the Gamecocks the past two years. South Carolina is 8-0 against Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Clemson. This is something that seemed impossible at one time for Carolina fans, but it has now become expected inside and outside the program.
People think differently about the South Carolina football program than they used to. There is a respect for Gamecock football that wasn't there in years past.
This loss of momentum from a poor season will certainly add questions to whether or not South Carolina can sustain success and if this will hurt the fanbase's opinions of the Head Ball Coach.
No. 2: Hurt Strong Recruiting Class Being Built for 2013 and Beyond
Steve Spurrier and his coaching staff have built an incredible recruiting class for 2013.
He has made headlines, landing players like quarterback Connor Mitch, linebacker Matt Rolin and defensive end Devin Washington. All three players are part of a class that currently has 17 commitments and is ranked in the Top 10 on the 247sports.com team recruiting rankings.
This is a recruiting class that will likely add more talented players and allow the staff to begin focusing on future classes beyond 2013. However, a tough year could hurt this recruiting class and cause several players to begin to evaluate other options besides South Carolina.
The Gamecocks are in no position to take a step back in the recruiting game in the SEC. New teams Texas A&M and Missouri will only add fuel to the fire in recruiting in this conference.
South Carolina cannot afford a poor season. A poor season means poor recruiting, and without the recruiting, Steve Spurrier won't be able to compete in today's SEC.
He needs to have another solid year if he hopes to keep things flowing for the Gamecocks.
No. 3: Question Whether or Not the Game Has Passed Steve Spurrier by
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Steve Spurrier is not getting any younger.
The Head Ball Coach turned 67 in 2012 and certainly is nearing the tail-end of his coaching career. Some people questioned whether or not Spurrier could compete at this level again at an old age, but that was before South Carolina went on their two-year run.
A poor season by the Gamecocks would bring up those questions yet again, causing some concern among the Gamecock faithful. Maybe it will be time for Steve Spurrier to step aside? They've seen it happen before with former coach Lou Holtz, and they really don't want to go through that again.
They did end up with Steve Spurrier after everything that went down with Lou Holtz, so it could be looked at as a good thing. But it would be tough to have those questions brought up again.
Steve Spurrier seems to be in great health with a renewed love of the game of football thanks to the winning ways of the Gamecocks. Throw in a poor season when the expectations are high, and it could hurt South Carolina in more ways than they know.
The age question will continue to arise for Steve Spurrier, and a down year for the Gamecocks will just add fuel to the fire.
No. 4: Hurt Attendance and Booster Donations to the Football Program
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South Carolina has had some rough seasons in its football history.
The support has always been there though. Gamecock fans have continued to support the athletic programs in any and all ways possible. The economy has taken a toll on college football fans across the country, but South Carolina is still a school that is one of the best when it comes to attendance and fan support.
A poor season by Coach Spurrier and the Gamecocks could hurt those good vibes built over the past two seasons, forcing boosters and fans to decide where and when to spend their hard earning dollars.
This would be a bad time to lose incoming donations as the Gamecocks are in the midst of renovating several areas related to the football program, including a new video scoreboard and the Farmer's Market across the street from Williams-Brice Stadium.
The Gamecock Club continues to prosper in these tough times, but a poor season would be a setback in the ever-evolving growth of the Gamecock football program.
No. 5: Bring Up the Question: If Steve Spurrier Can't Do It, Who Can?
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South Carolina has had two incredible coaches in recent memory.
It's hard to imagine at any point 15 to 20 years ago that Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier would coach the Gamecocks back to back. But times have changed, and the Gamecocks are a program on the rise thanks to these two legendary coaches.
The question is, if Spurrier has a poor season and can't sustain the success going forward, then who can?
It would be tough for athletic director Eric Hyman to sell a future potential coach to get behind the idea that you can be a winner here. Sure the Gamecocks have been at the forefront of college football recently, but what happens if they falter? People will say that it's the same old South Carolina that we're used to.
Future coaches would wonder how a coach with the pedigree of Steve Spurrier couldn't get the job done at South Carolina. They certainly would second guess coming to a school where they can't be set up for success.
This program was once known as the "graveyard" of college football coaches. Steve Spurrier, so far, has seemingly changed that mindset which gives the Gamecocks hope that the next coach will continue what the Head Ball Coach has started.
It'd be tough for the Gamecocks to find a replacement for Steve Spurrier if he has a poor season and a struggling program going forward. South Carolina fans hope things keep looking up, or else, it could spell bad news for the future of the Gamecocks.