"Spurrier's Star Fading"? Hardly

I usually don't call out fellow bloggers. It's just not something I do -- it's not really my style -- and it can divert energy from criticizing people with larger audience, particularly when it comes to a certain SB Nation rival.


Besides, it can look like this.

But this requires a response. (HT: Leftover Hot Dog)

Surely, if anyone could create a new tradition of winning in Columbia, it would be Steve Spurrier. ...

But since 2000 -- the last year the Gators won the SEC under his tenure -- Spurrier hasn't come within sniffing distance of a championship. In two years as an NFL head coach, Spurrier's Redskins only managed to win 12 games. And since his return to college football, he's gone 18-10.

Since Spurrier left Gainesville, he's won 30 games... and lost 30.

Sure, the NFL is not college. The two are not directly comparable. But the fact remains that Spurrier is seven years removed from his last run at a championship of any kind, and he's only won 50% of his games.

Yes, the games are completely different. But I'm trying to make a point here, so I'm going to ignore the hole in my logic that I myself pointed out.

Spurrier's a good coach; no one is doubting that. But it seems as though "Darth Visor" is immune to any of the pressures faced by coaches of other prominent D-IA programs because he's, well, Steve Spurrier.

When Spurrier was first announced as the Gamecocks' coach, many Carolina fans began excitedly predicting an SEC championship -- perhaps as quickly as the OBC's first or second season.

And I was among those calling for any fans who predicted success that quickly to be admitted to the nearest psychiatric institution for copious amounts of electroshock therapy.

By the way, if you're waiting for the first concrete point not based totally on opinion, you're not alone. There hasn't been one yet, except for the 30-30 statistic that was debunked by the author of the post.

But two 5 loss [sic] seasons later, the Gamecocks are about where they were when Spurrier started: a decent SEC team with the ability to rear up and bite any team who takes them lightly.

This is almost too far removed from reality to believe. First of all, the Gamecocks' records in the three years before Spurrier came were 5-7, 5-7 and 6-5. So far, his teams are 7-5, 8-5 and 3-1.

The only two season since 1994 better than Spurrier's first two in South Carolina were Holtz's second and third season. In both years, the Gamecocks had an easier conference slate than Spurrier faced in 2005 and 2006.

In neither season did Holtz beat an SEC team that finished the season with a better record than South Carolina; Spurrier did when his squad defeated Florida in the Swamp in 2005. Three times in Holtz's best seasons, his team lost to SEC teams with a worse record than the Gamecocks -- something that Spurrier has not yet done.

Before Spurrier, the Gamecocks had not defeated Florida since Franklin Roosevelt was president; Head Ball Coach did it in his first year. South Carolina had not beaten Tennessee in 13 years; again, Spurrier did it in Year One.

So, no, the Gamecocks were not, pre-Spurrier, "a decent SEC team with the ability to rear up and bite any team who takes them lightly." They were anything but; if, at the end of the season, you ended up with a better record than the Gamecocks, you beat them.

They played mediocre football for all but two of the six years Holtz was in Columbia. Anyone who has actually watched the team knows they play better football than they ever did under Holtz.

The Gamecocks' outing at LSU proved that they aren't competitive at the highest level.

Really? Would that be the fact that they held LSU to nearly 100 fewer offensive yards and a dozen fewer points than the Bayou Bengals' per-game average? The fact that they scored more than double what all three previous teams combined had scored against LSU? Or that it was better than South Carolina's two previous games against LSU, which ended as 38-14 and 33-7 blowouts?

And I suppose that losing to last year's national champion by one point, on the road, after a freakish blocked field goal also proves they're not "competitive at the highest level," as does the fact that they lost to only one team last year by more than a touchdown, despite facing Georgia, Auburn, Darren McFadden University Arkansas, Tennessee and Florida.

An SEC East title is still in the cards for Coach Click Clack, but with one loss early, it's unlikely.

How, exactly? South Carolina still controls its own destiny. Will it be difficult? Yes. Unlikely? That stretches the definition of the word. Before LSU, they were likely to have to beat Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee to assure an East title. After LSU, they are likely to have to beat Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee to assure an East title.

Year 3 is usually the time when critical fans begin to assess the overall direction of the program and evaluate the successes or failures of the coaching staff.

Yet you won't find anyone overly critical of Spurrier's progress to date, possibly because South Carolina's football history has been marginal at best.

Or possibly because Year 3 isn't over. How the hell can we determine how good this team is when it has played a mid-major club a week before it played Georgia, a Georgia team it defeated, a DIAAFCSABCETC team the week before it played LSU, and an LSU team which looks very much like it won't lose this year?

But Spurrier's arrival at Florida, in 1990, was similar in many respects. Florida had little tradition of winning prior to the OBC's arrival. Florida's 1984 squad had finished first in the SEC, but lost their title due to NCAA violations.

I don't even have time to go back and link to the numerous people who pointed out the enormous talent gap between the team Spurrier inherited at Florida and the one he inherited at South Carolina.

Tough games remain: Kentucky, @ Tennessee, @ Arkansas, Florida, and Clemson. South Carolina can't even afford to overlook Mississippi State, who beat Auburn, or North Carolina with Butch Davis running the show.

First of all, beating Auburn this year apparently has as much value as beating Vanderbilt. "North Carolina with Butch Davis running the show" has one victory -- against James Madison. Forgive me if I don't chalk that one up as a likely loss.

Mobile, accurate quarterbacks are all the rage, but Spurrier's offense doesn't utilize them.

Except last year, when it did. And while they are "all the rage," did Southern Cal win with a mobile quarterback in 2004? Texas did in 2005, but unless you honestly believe that Florida could have won without Chris Leak last year, you also can't chalk up the Gators' 2006 crown to mobile quarterbacks, unless by "mobile" you mean "a quarterback who can breathe."

Why is it that Spurrier gets a permanent pass when coaches like Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno, whose best coaching days are clearly behind them, take criticism for hanging on too long?

Maybe that's because Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno have established successful programs at their current universities, while Spurrier is trying to build a program from the ground up. Slightly different.

Sure, there are legitimate criticisms of Spurrier after his first two seasons, just as there are legitimate criticisms of any coach after his first two seasons.

But if you're going to suggest that one of the most successful coaches in SEC history isn't getting the job done, you need more than half-baked arguments and unsupported opinion.

Unfortunately, that's all the author of this post offers.

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