The South Carolina Gamecocks go into Saturday’s game against the Georgia Bulldogs as 16.5-point underdogs, a long shot to come out of Athens with a win. But South Carolina has a (not so) secret weapon, and his name is Stephen Orr Spurrier.
Spurrier is one of the best coaches in the history of college football and has a good number of major upsets to his name. So don’t be surprised if the Gamecocks beat the Bulldogs, or at least make it much closer than the experts think. With South Carolina needing a win after a bad loss to Kentucky last weekend, you better believe the Head Ball Coach will have his guys ready to play.
Considering a win by South Carolina would mark another huge upset from Spurrier, we thought we’d look at the biggest upsets he’s engineered throughout his storied career.
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5. Florida 26, Georgia 24 (1992)
Spurrier recently went as far as to say this is his favorite win against Georgia, according to David Paschall of timesfreepress.com, and it’s easy to see why. The Gators’ win over the Bulldogs, coupled with a South Carolina win over Tennessee, won the SEC East for Florida in the year the conference introduced divisions. Spurrier and the Gators would go on to win the East for the next five seasons.
4. South Carolina 30, Florida, 22 (2005)
The HBC’s first game against Florida after his return to college football was one of the most-hyped games of 2005. Spurrier turned down an offer to return and coach his alma mater again after it fired Ron Zook, forcing the Gators to hire Urban Meyer. After South Carolina prevailed, it looked like the Gamecocks got the better end of the deal, as the win prevented the Gators — who only had losses to SEC West foes — from clinching the SEC East and helped South Carolina finish above Florida in the division. Things did work out for the Gators, however. Tim Tebow showed up and joined Meyer in Gainesville in 2006 and, well, you know the rest.
3. South Carolina 16, Ole Miss 10 (2009)
Ole Miss was almost certainly over-ranked in this game, but there’s no discounting the psychological effects it had on South Carolina’s program. The Thursday-night upset of the No. 4 Rebels signified the Gamecocks were a team people couldn’t ignore much longer. The big win was only an aberration, though, as South Carolina lost five of its final seven games in 2009 to finish the season 7-6. It was 2010 when the Gamecocks showed college football it really meant business.
2. South Carolina 35, Alabama 21 (2010)
South Carolina’s upset over No. 1 Alabama in 2010 marked the Gamecocks’ beginning of the most successful run in program history. Stephen Garcia threw three touchdown passes, two to Alshon Jeffery, and Marcus Lattimore added two rushing touchdowns to give South Carolina an inexplicably easy win. The win propelled South Carolina to its first ever SEC East title and a berth in the SEC Championship Game (which it lost to eventual national champion Auburn). It also sparked a football renaissance in Columbia, as the Gamecocks won 11 games each of the next three seasons.
1. Florida 32, FSU 29 (1997)
If it’s called”The Greatest Game Ever Played in the Swamp” it’s gotta be good. Florida took down the No. 1 Seminoles and with it Florida State’s chance at a national championship. The game featured a pregame fight, big plays by future NFLers Fred Taylor, Jevon Kearse and Sebastian Janikowski and staunch defense all-around. Spurrier even reached into his bag of tricks and pulled out a two quarterback system, switching between Doug Johnson and walk-on Noah Brindise (a good sign for Perry Orth?). Any time Florida beats Florida State, it feels good. But stopping the ‘Noles from going to the national championship, man, that’s just gravy.