The following article is a guest post submitted by Ritch of Leftover Hot Dog, a South Carolina Gamecocks blog.
The University of South Carolina won the SEC Eastern Division by beating a familiar foe in the Florida Gators in the “Swamp” by the score of 36-14. For Spurrier this added to his legacy and for Gamecock fans it is a dream come true.
This year’s performance by Coach Steve Spurrier and the team has to go down as one of the best. The Ol’ Ball Coach has mustered enough from his football squad to have them in position for something that has never been done in school history—winning the SEC. No one expected this from ESPN’s Lee Corso to even some Gamecock fans. It took a change in his philosophy to yield his ninth SEC East crown. Spurrier got to this point by not taking the “fun-n-gun” route, for which he is known, but by running the football. The man who literally brought the modern passing offense to the SEC has elbowed his way back to the top by committing to the run game.
In 2010, Coach Spurrier has proven all the doubters wrong by taking advantage of a “down year” in the SEC East and placing his talent in the driver’s seat. The Gamecocks have gone from 7-6 (3-5 SEC) in 2009 to currently 7-3 (5-3 SEC). The Gamecocks have never played in an SEC title game but will get their shot against Auburn.
For Steve Spurrier, this is what he was hired to do at Carolina when he got the job in 2005 and what he said he was going to do. Spurrier built the program his way and assembled the most talented group to ever walk the field at South Carolina. Spurrier proved that you can win at South Carolina as he has a SEC East division title now to prove it. The “glass ceiling” has been broken in the SEC East and all the credit goes to Coach Spurrier. He has the South Carolina football program in new territory due to his relentless pursuit of proving others wrong by doing what he loves—winning.
For South Carolina fans, this has been a long time coming. From the 1984 team that squandered a chance at a national championship to Navy to a 0-11 season in 1999. Being a Gamecock fan has been very hard for so many through the years with so many lost opportunities and watching the balls bounce the other way instead of the Carolina way. For USC fans, this SEC Divisional crown soothes over many years of mediocrity. Now however, the taste of winning has invaded the veins of those that pump “garnet and black.” Winning the East is nice and still being celebrated but what is next? The Gamecocks athletes have accomplished so much from a national championship in baseball, knocking a number one team off in basketball, winning a conference crown in men’s soccer and winning the SEC East. All that just in the last eight months. More is desired and consistency is what is needed for the program in the eyes of students and fans. South Carolina does not need to be known as a “one hit wonder” in winning championships as it needs to be a yearly expectation.
Coach Spurrier, who proved his Hall of Fame status, and the direction of the athletic program as a whole proved that ‘New Carolina’ is here. Consider 2010 the year the Gamecocks put the SEC on notice that they are ready to compete with the big boys year-end and year-out.