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I hate to say I told you so (sort of):

You hate to say definitively that Blake Mitchell is done as the starting quarterback. So far, his career has been harder to kill than MacGyver.

But I told you so:

South Carolina fans who thought quarterback Blake Mitchell had taken his last snap with the Gamecocks might want to tune in to Saturday’s Vanderbilt game.

The enigmatic right-hander is getting a second chance for the second year in a row.

Benched at halftime of a 28-16 loss at LSU on Sept. 22, Mitchell will see his first action in a month when he plays against the Commodores, USC coach Steve Spurrier said Tuesday.

Redshirt freshman Chris Smelley, who is 3-0 since replacing Mitchell, will start against Vanderbilt, but Spurrier said Mitchell would play.

"Blake can play. He's practiced well. And maybe he deserves to play," Spurrier said. "How's that for a reason? He deserves it."

Spurrier said he and his staff discussed giving Mitchell a shot after the fifth-year senior turned in a good practice Monday night. ...

"Chris wasn't all that bad, wasn't all that great. But he wasn't all that bad last week," Spurrier said. "He's doing fine. There's probably not a huge difference right now. But Chris is starting the game, and we'll go from there."

As our running back would say, back like cooked crack.

I have ... no explanation for this. Except, perhaps, that Spurrier is looking to (a) reward Blake Mitchell for not doing anything stupid over the last month, which is an accomplishment for him; and (b) remind Chris Smelley that he's not the only QB Spurrier has.

All of this in the middle of a game that will hopefully be close enough to done by the third or fourth quarter that Mitchell can't cough it up.

Remember, Chris Smelley has been hearing for several weeks now from a lot of sources -- this blog included -- that he's so much better than Blake, that he's the future of the team, etc. Really, he's somewhat better than Blake and still has to face down SAVIOR OF THE PROGRAM Stephen Garcia to become "the guy" in 2008 and beyond.

This is a gentle reminder.

I think.

Or Spurrier's just lost his mind.

One of the two.