College Football Preview: Spurrier Back in Town
The return of the king … a different kind of homecoming … the oldie-but-goodie hit song, “The Boys (make that “boy”) Are Back in Town” … all could be the theme for the SEC Game of the Week in this, the second week of November, 2006.
Steve Spurrier, the ex-Florida Gator head coach who brought the national championship trophy to Gainesville in 1996 and built a dynasty on the way to the title, returns to The Swamp Saturday, bringing his South Carolina Gamecocks in to face Urban Myer’s version of the Gators.
This game has more story lines than a national election. Spurrier is the winningest coach in the SEC, with a 95-21 record at Florida and now South Carolina. His name stands atop a list of legends. No. 2 is Tennessee’s Gen. Robert Neyland. No. 3 is Alabama’s Frank Thomas, followed in fourth place by Alabama’s (and Kentucky’s) Paul Bear Bryant.
Spurrier, who won a Heisman Trophy while playing for Florida, will be making his third trip to Gainesville this season and he is only hoping the third trip will be as pleasant an experience for him as the first two. Spurrier attended a reunion for the ’96 national title team in early September and then later in the month came back to be inducted into the Florida Ring of Honor.
Another question Saturday in Gainesville is can Spurrier keep his winning streak alive in Florida-South Carolina games? Spurrier has never been on the losing sideline of a Gator-Gamecock matchup. He posted a 10-0 record at Florida against South Carolina and is 1-0 at S.C. vs. the Gators. Spurrier’s Gamecocks beat Meyer’s Gators last season in Columbia, S.C. – the first and only time Florida has lost to S.C.
And while the storyline being watched by most is that of Meyer trying to escape the shadow of Spurrier’s legend at Florida, there are some real-time storylines as well. Spurrier bringing his 5-4 Gamecocks into Florida hoping for a win that will make his team bowl eligible and send South Carolina bowling for a second year in row. Meyer has his 8-1 Gators in the national championship mix, ranked No. 6 in AP and No. 4 on the BCS list.
Other league games on tap this week include: Georgia (6-4, 3-4) at Auburn (9-1, 5-10), Vanderbilt (4-6, 1-5) at Kentucky (5-4, 3-3), Tennessee (7-2, 3-2) at Arkansas (8-1, 5-0), Alabama (6-4, 2-4) at LSU (7-2, 3-2).
This week’s college football TV schedule kicks off tonight with Texas El-Paso at UAB live from Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., at 7 p.m. on ESPN2. Saturday’s weekend TV lineup, other than pay-for-view is as follows:
N.C. St. at Clemson, 11 a.m. (WB)
Samford at Jacksonville St., 11 a.m. (CSS)
Wisconsin at Iowa, 11 a.m. (ESPN)
Cincinnati at W. Virginia, 11 a.m. (ESPN2)
Minnesota at Michigan St., 11 a.m. (ESPNU)
Georgia at Auburn, 11:30 a.m. (Lincoln Financial)
Baylor at Okla. St.,11:30 a.m. (FSNS)
Miami at Maryland, 2:30 p.m. (ABC)
South Carolina at Florida, 2:30 p.m. (CBS)
Michigan at Indiana, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Texas Tech at Oklahoma, 6 p.m. (FSNS)
Tennessee at Arkansas, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
Duke at Boston College, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
Alabama at LSU, 6:45 p.m. (ESPN)
Wake Forest at FSU , 7 p.m. (ABC)