The SEC typically provides plenty of riveting sound bytes and a surplus of laugh-out-loud quotes throughout the season. The 2015 campaign was no different.
We went back in time and selected some of the greatest quotes from the most intriguing headlines of another highly entertaining football season. Here are the 10 best SEC quotes of the year:
Nick Saban throws an expletive-filled tantrum before Charleston Southern
Let’s start with arguably the funniest quote of the season. Alabama was heading into a cupcake matchup with Charleston Southern, but Saban was taking the Buccaneers very seriously. When asked whether he would try to get his backups into the game early, Saban snapped.
“Y’all don’t remember the Georgia Southern game, do you? I don’t think we had a guy on that field that didn’t play in the NFL — and about four or five of them were about first-round draft picks,” Saban said. And I think that team won a national championship but I’m not sure,” Saban told reporters. “And (Georgia Southern) run through our ass like shit through a tin horn, man and we could not stop them. Could not stop them. Could not stop them.”
The Crimson Tide won, 56-6, and Saban won his fourth national title at Alabama. It all worked out.
Les Miles keeps his job
One of the most polarizing stories near the end of the season was the Miles saga. Many reports suggested that Miles would be fired before LSU’s final game against Texas A&M. After Miles made it to game day, more reports surfaced that he would be fired after the game.
The scene at Tiger Stadium was surreal. Miles received a standing ovation before the game and was carried off the field after LSU defeated Texas A&M, 19-7.
Then, athletic director Joe Alleva dismissed the speculation and announced Miles still had his job. After all the drama settled, Miles was relieved to be able to to keep doing his job in Baton Rouge, La.
“It’s nice to be the head coach at LSU,” Miles said. “I’m proud to be associated with a great institution, my colleagues, my coaches, my players, our president and the A.D. (athletic director) are quality men. It’s a joy. So, it’s nice to have them come say ‘You know the job you’ve been doing, you still can do it.’”
The Head Ball Coach calls it quits
It’s been such a wacky season across the SEC that some may have forgotten that Steve Spurrier retired way back in October.
After a 2-4 start to the season, Spurrier decided to call it quits. The college football world suddenly lost one of its best coaches, but Spurrier’s entertainment value put the icing on the cake. Rather than delaying the decision until the offseason, Spurrier decided to call it a career at midseason.
“I’ll just be the former Head Ball Coach now, but I’ll be around town a lot,” Spurrier said. “I think that’s the best thing for South Carolina football, for our university to start another building process.”
The Gamecocks finished the season 3-9 and hired former Florida head coach and Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp as Spurrier’s replacement.
Mark Richt drops the mic before leaving UGA
Former UGA coach Mark Richt was fired after 15 seasons with the program. Richt led the Bulldogs to two SEC championships and 10 bowl victories, but he was never able to take the program to the national title game.
Despite those shortcomings, Richt said that winning isn’t everything.
“Life is about people, not rings. Rings collect dust,” Richt said.
Many UGA fans would beg to differ with that statement.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel announces his resignation
Another shocking coaching departure came from Columbia, Mo. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel revealed, in a stunning statement, that he would be stepping down for health reasons.
Pinkel was the most successful coach in school history and led the Tigers to a 118-73 record in 15 seasons. He expressed his gratitude to the university, his team and the fans in a heartfelt statement in November.
“Words can’t express how grateful I am to the University of Missouri and all of the amazing people who make it up, from the administration to the students and our fans,” Pinkel said. “Obviously, I’m so appreciative to all of my coaches and athletes. Leaving them makes this decision so tough, but I do so feeling good that the Mizzou Football program is in a better place than it was when we came in 15 years ago.”
Missouri promoted a Pinkel staffer, defensive coordinator Barry Odom, to take over the program.
Florida quarterback Will Grier apologizes for suspension
Florida’s season took a turn for the worse when quarterback Will Grier was suspended by the NCAA after he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
A repenting Grier admitted to using an illegal drug and delivered an emotional apology at a press conference with coach Jim McElwain.
“I took an over-the-counter supplement that had something in it,” Grier said. “I did not check with the medical staff before taking it. I really hope that people can learn from this. Learn from my mistake. I’m really sorry to everyone. Just really sorry.”
Florida was 6-0 at the time of the suspension and could never replace Grier’s production. The Gators went 4-4 down the stretch and lost three consecutive games en route to a 10-4 season. Two months later, Grier transferred from Florida.
McElwain addresses Grier’s suspension
McElwain was forced to deal with this tough situation, but he said he felt bad for his quarterback. The coach said he hoped to use Grier’s mistake as a learning experience for him and the rest of his program.
“We feel for (Grier),” McElwain said. “We feel his pain and he had chance to address the team. He spoke from the heart and one of the things he expressed when we learned about it yesterday is the opportunity to maybe affect somebody else’s life, and just understand that we can learn from this.”
Saban discusses the inevitable: retirement
Football has been Saban’s life for almost its entirety, but there will come a time when the legendary coach will have to step away from the game.
What scares one of the best coaches in college football history? Retirement.
“I’ve been a part of a team since I was 9 years old, and it scares me to think there’s a time I won’t be a part of a team anymore,” Saban said.
Fortunately, Saban doesn’t appear close to retiring anytime soon.
Muschamp discusses leaving Auburn to come to South Carolina
Muschamp left Auburn after one season to take the coaching job at South Carolina. Despite being fired from the Florida job, Muschamp was optimistic about his second head coaching opportunity and said Auburn would be fine without him.
“We made tremendous improvements as the year went on,” Muschamp said. “We added some very good players to the program. I hate that they’re going to through a change at defensive coordinator. But it’s a great situation there. Gus (Malzahn) does a fantastic job. It hurts that I can’t continue to move forward, but I’m excited about the opportunity here.”
Miles knows what it’s like to ride an elephant
Leave it to Miles to reference an elephant during a postgame press conference. It was an emotional Saturday for Miles. The Mad Hatter coached LSU to a 19-7 victory over Texas A&M in what many expected to be his final game at LSU.
After the game, Miles was carried off the field by his team in what was supposed to be a farewell gesture. Miles ultimately kept his job and left us with another classic quote.
How did it feel to be carried off by your team, Les?
“Scary, I want you to know it’s scary,” Miles said. “Because you know one, they’re tall and when you’re sitting up there you think ‘Now I know what it’s like to ride an elephant’ because it scares you to death and you just pray that you can hang onto the ears because there’s just not much to grab onto. I was thrilled. I was touched.”
Lesson learned: Never carry Miles off the field again.