Steve Spurrier is always good for a “shaking my head” quote about SEC opponents, and this week his target was Nick Saban.
When asked about the success of the Alabama program Spurrier quips, “How many SECs has (Saban) won there in eight years? He’s won two.”
He does not stop there.
“Now if you had the No. 1 recruiting class every year and so forth,” Spurrier chides. “I don’t know if he has maxed out potentially as well as he could.”
All of this comes on the heels of a discussion about Saban’s insane work hours and habits. Spurrier does not share Saban’s fanatical approach in the offseason, preferring golf to film study. Whether that helps or hurts South Carolina remains to be seen.
Why would Spurrier poke the bear? Because he can. South Carolina does not play Alabama in the regular season again until 2019. That means if they play anytime soon, it will be in Atlanta for one of the coveted “SECs” that Spurrier mentions. In that situation, Spurrier still wins because he is in position to take the Gamecocks farther than ever before.
The man is a wordsmith when it comes to trash talking because he never seems to put himself in a position to look bad. He either confronts opponents after the fact, points out obvious faults with a smart-alack tone or fires potshots when he is out of range.
Many fans will remember his famous “Ray Goof” reference to Georgia‘s maligned head coach from 1989-96, Ray Goff. His digs at Florida State, “Free Shoes University” and Tennessee, “you can’t spell Citrus without UT,” are lines that made him legendary in the south. Spurrier has never been one to avoid taking digs at opponents when they are down and out.
Love him or hate him, Spurrier keeps the game interesting and his hated smirk and visor-throwing are as much a part of college football as first downs and touchdowns. Nobody is spared in his attempts to get under the skin of rivals, even mighty Alabama.
When Spurrier decides to hang it up, many people will be happy to see him go. However, a small part of them will miss his gamesmanship, even if it came at their expense.