By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – South Carolina has the possibility to win the BCS National Championship and Steve Spurrier is a better coach in his tenure with the Gamecocks than he was at Florida.
Those were some of the comments mentioned by the SEC on CBS commentators on Tuesday’s College Football Kickoff Call with media members. Needless to say, the veteran announcers are impressed with Spurrier’s Gamecocks and expect big things from South Carolina this season.
Gary Danielson, a former Purdue and NFL quarterback and the SEC on CBS analyst since 2006, raved about the job Spurrier has done at South Carolina, claiming it is even more remarkable than the legendary coach’s accomplishments at Florida.
That’s no small achievement considering Spurrier, the 1966 Heisman Trophy winner for the Gators, posted a 122-27-1 (.817) tally during his 12 seasons in Gainesville. He led Florida to its first-ever national title in 1996 and claimed seven SEC Championships. Spurrier is the only coach in SEC history to lead a team to six consecutive seasons of 10 or more wins (1993-98).
The architect of a “Fun and Gun” style offense that, it could be argued, revolutionized college football in the 1990s, has adapted his game to fit the talent on his South Carolina team. That, Danielson argues, makes the coach’s current position his most successful coaching venture.
“I am actually more impressed with the job Steve Spurrier has done at South Carolina than his career at Florida,” Danielson said. “I think the way he has been able to look at his talent, the way he has been able to attract talent and the way he has been able to play to his defense, I just think that he has shown all of the coaches – NFL and college – that he is willing to bend to win games. His goal is to win, not to prove to everybody that Spurrier’s ‘Fun and Gun’ is still the way to go. There is a lot of temptation to do that as a coach, to prove to everybody that you are the smartest guy on the field. I think his patience and being able to go with what he’s got has been tremendous.”
As Spurrier leads his 2-0 South Carolina team into Saturday’s game against UAB in Columbia, he will be looking for his 200th career victory. That would make him the 71st coach in college history (all divisions) to reach the 200-win plateau.
“I think we all realized when he spent his short time in the NFL how much we missed having Steve Spurrier in college football,” said SEC on CBS play-by-play announcer Verne Lundquist. “When he came back to South Carolina, the first couple of years were not all that happy for him. I’ve watched the close-ups of Steve during the games and it has just caused me to smile because I think he’s so good for the game that we all care about.”
Tim Brando, who has more than 15 years experience as the host of CBS’ College Football Today, went as far to say Tuesday that he believes the 2012 edition of the Gamecocks have the ability to win the national championship.
“I think they’re the sleeper to win the national championship out of the conference,” Brando said. “I think they are capable of doing it. This was a team that with a little bit of a break in scheduling should have and would have been the Eastern Division Champion a year ago and should be this year, but they have a tougher road than Georgia. If you tell me, ‘Give me one coach to win one big game in college football today,’ I would say Spurrier.”
Danielson agrees, saying Spurrier is at the height of his decorated coaching career.
“I can’t say enough about the coaching job that Spurrier has done,” Danielson said. “I think they’ve arrived now where they are on a par talent wise with the top echelon of talent in the league. I don’t think they’re quite there with an LSU or Alabama, but nobody else is either.”