Some of you may have gotten to see this exchange:
The Ol' Ball Coach
Please answer these questions: Will Steve Spurrier ever win an SEC title with the Gamecocks? If so, is this the year? Assuming that it is, wouldn't that also put them in the national championship game? And if South Carolina does win, would that make him the greatest college football coach ever?
D.H. in Lawtey, Fla.
Only a legitimate clairvoyant (if such really exists) could know whether South Carolina will win an SEC championship and maybe more under Spurrier. Personally, I have my doubts, but I've been around too long to rule anything out.
For example, I never saw it coming when Northwestern won the Big Ten under Gary Barnett. And Wake Forest's ACC title blindsided me. Heck, I'll even admit surprise to Oregon winning the Pac-10 championship last season.
But if the Gamecocks did win (and that is a huge "if") the SEC and maybe more, your question about Spurrier's place among college football's greatest coaches is certainly interesting. No doubt, in that scenario, a strong case could be made on Spurrier's behalf.
So for sake of argument, let's make it.
Remember, Spurrier started his career as a college head coach at Duke, where he posted 20 victories in three seasons and won a share of the ACC championship in 1989. Think about that: He won a share of the ACC championship at Duke.
The Blue Devils hadn't managed more than six wins in a season for 24 years before Spurrier's arrival. Under Spurrier they won seven in '88 and eight in '89. They've had one winning season since.
In fact, Duke has posted fewer victories (19) so far this century than it did in the three seasons under Spurrier.
When Spurrier left Duke, he took over a Florida program that had captured exactly one SEC championship (1984) and had it vacated because of recruiting violations. In a dozen years in Gainesville, Spurrier led the Gators to six SEC titles and their first national championship, in 1996.
At South Carolina, he oversees a perennially underachieving program. Under Spurrier, South Carolina has posted five consecutive non-losing seasons, a feat not accomplished in Columbia since the 1930s. If Spurrier could somehow bring an SEC and national title in South Carolina, he absolutely would deserve to be in the discussion for greatest coach ever. Yet I'd probably still cast my vote with the Bear.
So, what do you think? If we won it all, where would that place Spurrier in the all-time lists?