DESTIN, Fla. -- With the schedule debate raging in the SEC, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier shed perhaps the best perspective on things.
"Nobody said it’s always going to be fair," said Spurrier at the SEC spring meetings, referring to the differing opinions about permanent cross-divisional opponents and how the rotation falls every year.
“You know who you’re going to play in your division. There’s only two other games over there. So however they switch it around is fine.”
Keep in mind that the Gamecocks had to play at LSU last season. They beat then No. 1-ranked Alabama at home in 2010, and their permanent Western Division foe has been Arkansas, which was a top 15 team and won 10 or more games in both 2010 and 2011. Starting in 2014, assuming the 6-1-1 format survives with permanent cross-divisional foes, South Carolina would play Texas A&M every year. The Aggies will start the 2013 season ranked in the top 10.
Spurrier remains undaunted. He points out that Georgia has won the Eastern Division each of the last two years despite losing to South Carolina.
He doesn’t stop there, either.
“Give Georgia credit. They won all the rest of their games and beat Florida down there,” said Spurrier, who’s 14-2 against East opponents over the last three years. “They were division champs. Heck, they were one play away from winning the national championship. That pass gets off (against Alabama), and if their guy catches it at the end of the game, I believe they would have been favored over Notre Dame.”
Spurrier then cracked: “They were close to winning it all and got clobbered at our place.”
South Carolina routed Georgia 35-7 last season in Columbia and has won three in a row over the Bulldogs.
Spurrier was asked how many SEC teams would have been favored against Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game a year ago.
“Some people say six of our teams would have been favored against Notre Dame, the top three on each side,” he said.
Was that right?
“You’d have to ask Danny Sheridan. He’s the oddsmaker,” Spurrier quipped.
Here’s a little more from Spurrier on various topics:
On the possibility of his serving on the College Football Playoff selection committee after he retires: “I don’t know if they would want me on that committee. I may have too many loyalties. That’s what you have to look at. Archie Manning would be a good one on there, probably … unless Ole Miss was in the Final Four.”
On his beloved golf game: “My golf game is lousy. It may keep me coaching, it’s so lousy.”
On dealing with all the fast-paced, no-huddle offenses in the SEC and college football now: “The answer is for the other team’s offense to stay on the field and make that other fast-paced team stay on the sideline. That’s just a part of football, rapid-fire, no-huddle. Some people like it. It’s good … if you do it well.”
On being ranked No. 3 in The Sporting News’ preseason Top 25 poll: “I’ve been telling everybody we were No. 10. I’m still going to tell everybody we’re 9 or 10. That’s our comfort spot. We don’t need to be 3. We lost too many good defensive players to think we’re right in that category, and receiver-wise, little Ace Sanders was a good one.”
On whether he will still take a few jabs at coaches and rival schools in the offseason: “I will still say something in the offseason that’s light, but nothing to irritate anybody too badly. I think you can joke around a little bit. I called North Carolina Dabo (Swinney’s) favorite team. It’s supposed to be funny. It’s no big deal. Dabo is starting to laugh about it now.”
On who will start at quarterback for the Gamecocks in 2013: “I think Connor [Shaw] will definitely be our starter, and we'll get Dylan [Thompson] in some every game. I don’t know how it’s going to play out. If one guy plays a whole bunch better than the other, then he’ll be playing more than the other. They’re both very qualified and both excellent leaders. I can see them both playing a lot.”
On Johnny Manziel handling being a Heisman Trophy winner at such a young age: “Johnny’s a free spirit, as we all know. I think he’ll handle it well. From what I heard, he had an excellent spring. Kevin Sumlin is a sharp guy, and they’ll give him excellent guidance. Hopefully, he’ll go pro after this year.”