Spurrier favors 8-game slate, says Clemson series 'makes things a little different'

'They’ve been in the top 10 the last 2 years as we have. Give Clemson a little bragging rights. Those guys have done very well up there'

South Carolina's Steve Spurrier and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney shake hands before Saturday's rivalry game between the schools.

Photo by Sefton Ipock

South Carolina's Steve Spurrier and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney shake hands before Saturday's rivalry game between the schools.

Steve Spurrier said Wednesday that if South Carolina didn’t have a rival outside the SEC, he’d follow Alabama coach Nick Saban’s idea of playing nine conference games.

But the Head Ball Coach has a team up the road from Columbia that requires a great deal of attention.

“We have one fixed opponent and it’s Clemson University,” Spurrier said during the SEC spring teleconference. “If you ask our fans here at the University of South Carolina, they would rather win that game than any conference game. We’re a little bit different. Everybody is a little different.”

That’s why the SEC’s scheduling decision from Sunday has sparked a debate among the league’s coaches.

The conference voted to continue playing six division games, one permanent opponent from the other division and one rotating foe from that side. Each school will now be required to schedule one team from one of other four major conferences, beginning in 2016.

That won’t change much for South Carolina with the Tigers on the slate.

“One of our biggest games, if not the biggest, is our in-state rival Clemson,” Spurrier said. “They’ve been very good. They’ve been in the top 10 the last two years as we have. Give Clemson a little bragging rights. Those guys have done very well up there.”

South Carolina’s constant from the SEC West is now Texas A&M, which comes to Columbia to open the season Aug. 28 after replacing Arkansas. However, Spurrier wanted to see a rotation of both non-division opponents.

“The reason I thought the 6-0-2 was the best is because it was the most fair way to go,” Spurrier said. “The most fair way to do it is not the way our conference decided, but each school sort of looked at what was best for them and that’s the way (the league) decided to go. It didn’t matter to us that much.”

The SEC’s decision was to keep many of the longtime conference rivalries going, like Alabama-Tennessee and Georgia-Auburn.

Saban was very much a proponent of that plan, and that’s why he favored a slate that included two rotating opponents, one constant and one out-of-conference foe from one of those major leagues.

“Only way to do that was to play nine games,” Saban said. “But I’m happy with what we’re doing now and we can all move forward and schedule for 2016 and beyond, which has been a little bit of an issue for us.”

Spurrier hopes that all SEC schools playing a quality opponent outside the league will help renew some of the old Big 12 rivalries, and while he said USC is not a “victim” of the new format, he agrees with coach Les Miles that LSU suffers the most from the current format.

“Four years ago when we kept playing Florida and Georgia in the regular season I kept thinking to myself, this will be fun because I can’t wait until the other guys get that,” said Miles, whose program has played the Gators or Bulldogs eight times since 1991. “To say this is the fairest way to pick a champion, I think that’s flawed.”

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Comments » 9

TigerFan95 writes:

“We have one fixed opponent and it’s Clemson University,” Spurrier said during the SEC spring teleconference. “If you ask our fans here at the University of South Carolina, they would rather win that game than any conference game...."

So, if given a choice, SC fans would rather lose a conference game that could potentially keep them from winning their division and the SEC than to lose to us?

clemvol writes:

in response to TigerFan95:

“We have one fixed opponent and it’s Clemson University,” Spurrier said during the SEC spring teleconference. “If you ask our fans here at the University of South Carolina, they would rather win that game than any conference game...."

So, if given a choice, SC fans would rather lose a conference game that could potentially keep them from winning their division and the SEC than to lose to us?

When you flip this around to Clemson i say the same. I happen to believe it's more important to beat Carolina than to win a conference game, or win the conference, but that's me and i won't get into reasons for now. I would like to see a poll of Clemson fans to see how this would break out.

Xander5000 writes:

Its about consistentness and how things are done. The way we have played Chickenlina is soooooo below our standards on how we usually play against those guys. If we had lost a game, then win a game against them the next year, and then win or lose a conference title or lose our chance to play in one, in between all that, then I could live with that. If we had lost two times in a row to Chickenlina, and then win or lose the conference title or lose our chance to play in one in between all that, but beat Chickenlina the third time, then I can live with that. Losing four and five times in a row just leaves a bad taste in my mouth despite that we have done well after those games. It just feels something is incomplete....something is missing....something is just not right even after we had a victorious bowl game against storied programs.

TheTruth46 writes:

in response to Xander5000:

Its about consistentness and how things are done. The way we have played Chickenlina is soooooo below our standards on how we usually play against those guys. If we had lost a game, then win a game against them the next year, and then win or lose a conference title or lose our chance to play in one, in between all that, then I could live with that. If we had lost two times in a row to Chickenlina, and then win or lose the conference title or lose our chance to play in one in between all that, but beat Chickenlina the third time, then I can live with that. Losing four and five times in a row just leaves a bad taste in my mouth despite that we have done well after those games. It just feels something is incomplete....something is missing....something is just not right even after we had a victorious bowl game against storied programs.

How's that Chickenlina thing working out for ya recently. Not so good...huh? Could be my chickens have had something to do with your playing standards(i.e. they have beaten ya like an unwanted, redheaded stepchild). Oh, and by the way, you might wanna get some good mouth wash for late November for that bad taste thing you have going on. You just might be looking at 6 in a row. What a revolting thought that is for those puddytats. I'd rather beat Clemmons than any other 2 games on the schedule...period, in any sport.

clemvol writes:

in response to TheTruth46:

How's that Chickenlina thing working out for ya recently. Not so good...huh? Could be my chickens have had something to do with your playing standards(i.e. they have beaten ya like an unwanted, redheaded stepchild). Oh, and by the way, you might wanna get some good mouth wash for late November for that bad taste thing you have going on. You just might be looking at 6 in a row. What a revolting thought that is for those puddytats. I'd rather beat Clemmons than any other 2 games on the schedule...period, in any sport.

Wel the "tooth" is back. You already know how i feel. Problem for me is that i know how you folks have felt for years and years. Bring on the game.

tigerrob44#291802 writes:

Yes, you SC guys have beaten us 5 in a row. But think back not too long ago, to the 1998 thru 2008 season to be precise. We won 9 out of 11 games. That's a pretty good butt kicking over a long period of time. Enjoy it while it last because it will end next November. When you Gamecocks win about 35 more games than we do over the next 500 years and catch up then let us talk.

TheTruth46 writes:

in response to tigerrob44#291802:

Yes, you SC guys have beaten us 5 in a row. But think back not too long ago, to the 1998 thru 2008 season to be precise. We won 9 out of 11 games. That's a pretty good butt kicking over a long period of time. Enjoy it while it last because it will end next November. When you Gamecocks win about 35 more games than we do over the next 500 years and catch up then let us talk.

Goodness, goodness...lil ole Robbie is back. I bet you got a lifetime membership to the History Channel for Christmas. Robbie, face it, you are owned at this point in time. Tell me, which is larger...your hat size or your IQ? I'd bet the numbers are very close. Run along lil Rob, and return to your corner.

TheTruth46 writes:

in response to clemvol:

Wel the "tooth" is back. You already know how i feel. Problem for me is that i know how you folks have felt for years and years. Bring on the game.

Hello my friend. Had to deal with a little health problem. You are absolutely correct. I'd rather beat Clemmons than anyone else in the country. By the way, while we're chatting, let's talk a little baseball, to include Clemmons and the Viles. If I'm not mistaken, my chickens are 6-0 against these two uringe powerhouses this season Clemmervile.

clemvol writes:

in response to TheTruth46:

Hello my friend. Had to deal with a little health problem. You are absolutely correct. I'd rather beat Clemmons than anyone else in the country. By the way, while we're chatting, let's talk a little baseball, to include Clemmons and the Viles. If I'm not mistaken, my chickens are 6-0 against these two uringe powerhouses this season Clemmervile.

You know, I watched a baseball game once, I lasted one inning. Decided to watch the grass grow but that was a bust. Durn chickens keep pecking in the dirt. Man, I think i'll stay out of "cootlumbia".

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