South Carolina: 5 Reasons Steve Spurrier Needs to Win Now

Nick Kostora@@nickkostoraContributor IIINovember 4, 2011
The South Carolina Gamecocks have been a tough team to figure out all season.

At this point, they have already kicked starting quarterback Stephen Garcia off the team and lost Heisman Trophy candidate running back Marcus Lattimore to injury.

The good news is that they still stand at 7-1 and are the No. 9 ranked team in the country.

Overcoming adversity has become commonplace for the Gamecocks and head coach Steve Spurrier.

The "Ole Ball Coach" will need to continue that trend to beat Arkansas this week and win the SEC East this season.

Yet with Spurrier not getting any younger and the team's best player Alshon Jeffery on his way to the NFL at the end of the season it seems the time to win is upon South Carolina.

Here are five reasons Steve Spurrier needs to win now.

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5. He Won Much Quicker at Florida

After being hired as head coach of the Florida Gators in 1989 Steve Spurrier led that team to the SEC Title in just two years.

The Gators then became a fixture atop the SEC East and won the conference in four out of five seasons.

Florida went on to capture the national title in 1996.

Granted the division has evolved and improved tremendously since then, but Spurrier has been with the South Carolina Gamecocks for seven years.

Winning the SEC East last year was huge for the program. In fact it was the first time the team had ever done so.

Now it is time to take the next step.

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4. Alshon Jeffery Is Leaving

When your best player is leaving at the end of the season it usually means now is the time to win.

Such is the case with Alshon Jeffery and the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Jeffery is widely considered one the top three receivers in the country along with Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State and Ryan Broyles of Oklahoma.

Talent like that doesn't play in Columbia all that often and Steve Spurrier recognizes this.

Jeffery's stats are down from last season, but even with young Connor Shaw at quarterback, the ball has found its way to the wideout plenty this season.

Jeffery has 33 receptions for 468 yards and five touchdowns.

The mismatch that the Gamecocks receiver creates with opposing cornerbacks will be lost next season.

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3. The SEC East Is Vulnerable

The SEC East is clearly the weaker half of the conference right now.

The West division has four Top-25 teams compared to the East's two.

For the South Carolina Gamecocks the time is now to secure back-to-back division crowns and take their shot at the SEC Championship.

Having already defeated the Georgia Bulldogs the Gamecocks hold the tiebreaker within the East.

Steve Spurrier and South Carolina must win this division now because the Florida Gators and Tennessee Volunteers will not be mediocre forever.

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2. The BCS Favors the Gamecocks

Winning the rest of their games is a tall order for the South Carolina Gamecocks.

But being the No. 9 ranked team means that having just one loss could ensure a national championship birth.

The Gamecocks have a tough matchup with the No. 7 ranked Arkansas Razorbacks this week and No. 11 Clemson Tigers in the last regular season game.

If they are fortunate enough to win those games, they would then have the task of defeating either the LSU Tigers or Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship game.

Of these teams Alabama and LSU in particular are better and more complete football teams than South Carolina.

But in one game anything can happen, and finishing the season with a 12-1 record would look favorable for a Gamecocks BCS National Championship opportunity.

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1. Steve Spurrier Only Has so Many Years Left

Steve Spurrier has said that he wants to stay three more years at the University of South Carolina.

However he has left places rather abruptly before (hello Washington Redskins.)

What this means is that this is the premier time for Spurrier to win with the Gamecocks.

A 7-1 record and five conference wins is impressive in and of itself.

The loss of Marcus Lattimore will make the remaining road a difficult one, but perhaps not as difficult as what lies in seasons ahead.

Florida and Tennessee will improve. LSU and Alabama will not be getting any worse.

Spurrier needs to take advantage of the position his team is in right now. Who knows if he will have this opportunity again?