Sunday, November 13, 2005

Daddy Gator has Burn't Down the House he Built

From Mike Bianchi in the Orlando Sentinel:

How does it feel, Gators?

How does it feel to be Ray Goff?

How does it feel to be Phil Fulmer?

How does it feel to be Peyton Manning?

How does it feel to be Curley Hallman, Bill Curry, Brad Scott and Gerry DiNardo?

Now the Florida Gators are just like every other coach, player and program that has felt the guile and style of Stephen Orr Spurrier. Now, he has ruined their season, too, just like he has ruined so many seasons for Southeastern Conference teams from the Louisiana lowlands to the summit of Rocky Top.

Except this one is the rockiest of bottoms. This one hurts most of all because it was Spurrier, the ultimate Gator, tearing apart the very program he put together. This was college football fratricide.

Daddy just burned down the family house...

...And now the inevitable comparisons begin. Zook's UF team threw six touchdown passes and beat South Carolina 48-14 last year. The last Spurrier-coached Florida team beat South Carolina 54-17. And the first time Meyer plays here, the Gamecocks turn the Gators into chicken feed.

I guess this Spurrier guy can still coach a little, huh? Don't look now, but Spurrier still has never lost a Florida-South Carolina game. In fact, he led the Gamecocks to their first win over the Gators since 1939. That's when Lou Gehrig made his famous farewell speech at Yankee Stadium and told the world, "I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

From the look of giddy pleasure on his face, Spurrier might have argued that point Saturday.

"I feel so fortunate to be coaching this team," he said. "This is neat. We're defying logic. I knew we had a chance to make history here, I just didn't know we would be making it so fast."

Two weeks ago, the Gamecocks won at Tennessee for the first time ever. And now they've scored more points than they ever have against Florida and defeated the Gators for the first time in 66 years.

Ah, 1939 -- the same year The Wizard of Oz came out.

It only seems fitting, because Urban Meyer is quickly finding out that, "Toto, I don't think we're in Utah anymore."

Meanwhile, the ol' ballcoach is taking South Carolina on a wild and wondrous journey somewhere over the rainbow.