As I spent this afternoon watching the Papa John's Bowl and the South Carolina Gamecocks struggle against Connecticut, I realized that I was watching a typical Steve Spurrier-coached bowl game.
South Carolina looked woefully unprepared and overmatched.
Now don't get me wrong, I love the OBC (Ol' Ball Coach for those of you not from the South). What he did for the Florida Gators as a QB and head coach will always earn him respect for us in the Gator Nation. But the one thing that used to drive me crazy about Spurrier was his borderline arrogant attitude toward preparation for a team he's never played.
Let's take 1991 when Florida faced Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. Yes, Florida took an early lead, but when Lou Holtz's Fighting Irish came roaring back, Spurrier refused to make the necessary adjustments, and it led to an embarrassing defeat.
Every Gator will never forget the debacle in the Fiesta Bowl when Florida faced Nebraska for the national championship. There was one play when Spurrier went with five wide and no backs in the backfield. The only problem: They were on their own one yard line.
How about the matchup against Michigan State in the Citrus Bowl during the 1999 season. Who will ever forget how Plaxico Burress made us look silly on defense?
Then there was the Sugar Bowl when Florida finally faced Miami after many years of absence. I sat in the Superdome as Miami ran roughshod over the Gators.
Then there is his tenure as the South Carolina head coach. He's lost to Missouri, Iowa, and now Connecticut.
As you can see, the teams mentioned above are non-SEC schools that he at the time had very little experience playing.
Bottom line: Spurrier has always struggled preparing for games where his opponent is outside his annual schedule. He has had some success (e.g. Maryland in the Orange Bowl—his last game as the Gators head coach), but he simply doesn't prepare well for teams he is not acquainted.
South Carolina is not a major college football powerhouse, and I am sure that Gamecock fans were thrilled when he replaced Lou Holtz. But let's face it, South Carolina fans know in their hearts that their team will never compete with the Alabama's and Florida's.
Sure, they may win a few here and there, but they will always remain a mid-major in the SEC no matter what the OBC promises them.
Enjoy Steve Spurrier, Gamecock fan—just don't expect to ever win the big game with him at the helm.