As long as Steve Spurrier is around, South Carolina is always going to be relevant.
That’s one of the perks when Spurrier is your coach.
He’s the quintessential newsmaker, as we were again reminded of this past weekend. Spurrier played a little trivia with media members at halftime of the Gamecocks’ basketball game and wanted to know if anybody could name the four teams (from BCS conferences) who’d won 11 or more games each of the past two years.
The answer: Alabama, Oregon, Stanford and … South Carolina.
A couple of media members answered correctly, and Spurrier rewarded them each with $100 from his own pocket.
I need to make sure I get in on that action the next time I’m in Columbia. Maybe we can set up our own little SEC-based Trivial Pursuit game.
First question: How many SEC schools have won 11 or more games in three straight seasons since the league expanded and split into divisions in 1992?
The answer: Only one. LSU did it in 2005-2007. The Tigers won 11 in 2005, 11 in 2006 and 12 in 2007.
Not even Alabama has had three straight 11-win seasons under Nick Saban, and Florida didn’t do it, either, under Urban Meyer. For that matter, Spurrier didn’t win 11 in three straight seasons at Florida during his first tour through the league when he led the Gators to four straight SEC championships from 1993-96.
“For South Carolina to be in the same neighborhood with (Alabama, Oregon and Stanford), that’s sort of neat,” Spurrier said. “Certainly, we’re fired up about what we’ve been able to do the last couple of years as far as total wins.
“We need to start winning some more Eastern Division championships, and hopefully, an SEC [championship] someday soon.”
Spurrier doesn’t need any history lessons on how difficult it is to continue winning at the rate the Gamecocks have the last two seasons, especially given the fact that South Carolina had never won more than 10 games in a season until 2011.
“We know we’ve got to scrap, fight and claw and win close games,” said Spurrier, who was quick to point out that the Gamecocks weren’t going to out-talent two-time defending national champion Alabama.
“We don't have four or five first-round picks like Alabama, and we're not going to out-recruit Alabama. So we've got to play well. We've got to play smart, disciplined and really take advantage of all of our chances and all that stuff if we're going to continue winning 11 games."