It's not hard for the world to guage the success level of the South Carolina football team. Steve Spurrier's mouth serves as a sort of vocal barometer of wins and losses. When his teams are struggling, the Ol' Ball Coach keeps his mouth shut. When his teams are winning and his confidence/cockiness is on high, the chirping is loud and clear.
Well, the Gamecocks have had three 11-win seasons in a row -- proving Spurrier's hall of fame coaching mettle once more -- so he was happy to let loose with the one-liners at SEC Media Days. And when it comes to Carolina's season-opening opponent, Texas A&M, well, he's not afraid to provide a little bulletin board material for the visiting Aggies. Referring to A&M's hot start in the SEC -- 12-2 and 9-4 -- Spurrier said, "They haven't played the bigger teams so their schedule has been a little misleading." He also referred to some of TAMU's non-conference foes as "barely Division I," which is absolutely true.
Clearly, Spurrier feels pretty good about his team -- an East Division favorite -- and its ability to handle a squad picked for 6th place in the West Division. But there's probably a little bit more to this particular jab.
Spurrier's old Florida defensive coordinator, Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, took a few shots at Texas A&M's schedule last month. Like Spurrier, Stoops can be a needler when he wants to be. A&M's head coach, Kevin Sumlin, is a former Stoops assistant. He revealed at SEC Media Days that he once took an overseas golfing trip with Stoops and Spurrier. And after Oklahoma's coach dissed his team's schedule, Sumlin suggested that his team would be willing to play Oklahoma anytime Stoops desired. That had been the end of it. Would anyone out there really put it past Spurrier to start stirring that pot again just for the sake of stirring a pot somewhere?
Spurrier, a noted fan of Sun Tzu's military tactics, might've taken note of Sumlin's reaction to Stoops and tried to apply one of the Chinese philosopher's concepts to the situation: "If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him." In fact, doesn't that sound like something Spurrier has tried to do for his two-plus decades in the SEC?