With the SEC season less than four months away, here’s a look at how the conference’s coaches rank in 2015.
Bio: Steve Spurrier is the winningest active coach in SEC history and trails Paul “Bear” Bryant’s conference record by 97 wins. The 70-year-old coach enters his 25th SEC season with a 226-85-2 career record.
Spurrier spent the majority of his SEC tenure at Florida, where he became the school’s first Heisman Trophy winner in 1966. He led the Gators to a national championship as a coach 30 years later during a stint that also included six SEC Championships.
In 2001, Spurrier was hired by the Washington Redskins, which resulted in a 12-20 record over two seasons. He joined South Carolina in 2005, marking his return to the SEC.
Spurrier turned the Gamecocks from perennial loser to a contender during his 10-year run in Columbia. South Carolina made its first SEC Championship Game appearance in 2010 and has earned bowl eligibility in all but one season (2007) since the coach’s arrival.
Georgia Tech (QB)
Tampa Bay Bandits
Reason For Ranking: Spurrier would rank top-5 if this list was based solely on past accomplishments. However, last season proved that the “Head Ball Coach” has fallen behind the times.
South Carolina was incapable of closing out games in the fourth quarter. The Gamecocks blew late-game leads on several occasions, most notably to Kentucky and Tennessee.
Spurrier fans will argue that the coach has “forgotten more than most coaches already know” but its clear he’s not the same coach that perfected the spread offense in the 1990s. The 70-year-old has grown out of touch and is being out-recruited by his counter parts.
South Carolina was the most disappointing SEC team based on its failure to live up to preseason expectations. The Gamecocks were predicted to win the SEC East and instead finished with a 7-6 record.
|09/03/15||vs. North Carolina||Charlotte, N.C.||6:00 p.m. ET|
|09/12/15||vs. Kentucky #||Columbia, S.C.||TBA|
|09/19/15||at Georgia #||Athens, Ga.||TBA|
|09/26/15||vs. UCF||Columbia, S.C.||TBA|
|10/03/15||at Missouri #||Columbia, Mo.||TBA|
|10/10/15||vs. LSU #||Columbia, S.C.||TBA|
|10/17/15||vs. Vanderbilt #||Columbia, S.C.||TBA|
|10/31/15||at Texas A&M #||College Station, Texas||TBA|
|11/07/15||at Tennessee #||Knoxville, Tenn.||TBA|
|11/14/15||vs. Florida #||Columbia, S.C.||TBA|
|11/21/15||vs. The Citadel||Columbia, S.C.||TBA|
|11/28/15||vs. Clemson||Columbia, S.C.||TBA|
2015 Outlook: South Carolina fielded the SEC’s worst defensive line in 2014. However, the Gamecocks offense was capable of helping the team finish with a winning record. In 2015, the team will look to replace its starting quarterback and running back with the departures of Dylan Thompson and Mike Davis.
Pharoh Cooper is a potential star at wide receiver — among other positions in varying formations — but lacks the presence of an elite passer. The Gamecocks also face a difficult schedule. There are no clear cut wins aside from Vanderbilt and The Citadel.
Spurrier will always have his legacy, but his days atop the SEC coaching rankings are a thing of the past. Even the most loyal South Carolina fans will grow weary of his stubbornness should the team continue to struggle.