Is there a Florida match-up today in South Carolina? No, there won’t be a Florida team competing at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina – the Gamecocks will be taking on the University of Georgia Bulldogs, but the men going head-to-head on the sidelines have a lot of Florida between them.
SC’s head coach, Steve Spurrier (a.k.a. the Ol’ Ball Coach) was born in Miami Beach, Florida. UGA’s head coach, Mark Richt played football at the University of Miami as their quarterback. Spurrier was the quarterback at the University of Florida and went on to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL. Richt went on to coach for Florida State University for a total of 14 years. The ‘Ol Ball Coach started his coaching career as an assistant at the University of Florida before becoming the head coach for the Tampa Bay Bandits, the now defunct United States Football League (USFL), and ultimately returned to UF where he spent twelve years as the head coach.
Are you confused? I am. Let’s do it this way:
Steve Spurrier – Born in Florida, college QB in Florida, NFL player in Florida, coached in Florida (two different teams) for a total of 16 years.
Mark Richt – college QB in Florida and coached in Florida for a total of 14 years.
Each of them now coach teams in other states, and it will be the Gamecocks and the Bulldogs hashing it out on the field, but you still can’t deny the strong Florida connection.
Georgia is projected to have a banner year, currently going into Week 3 as the number six team in the country. South Carolina didn’t have the greatest start, but they’re still ranked at number 24 – not too bad. I have respect for Mark Richt and believe he’s a good coach, but admittedly, I’m partial to Steve Spurrier just because of what he’s managed to accomplish in his coaching career and he’s almost 70 years old and still at it! Plus, it’s just fun to watch him – his mannerisms, his transparent honesty about his team – good, bad or ugly and when he gets so disgusted he yanks that visor off his head and slams it on the ground – entertainment.
It’s likely the Bulldogs will emerge the victor in today’s game, but I believe the Gamecocks will have a good showing… but then again, this IS the SEC and when you play in a tough conference where the competition is so fierce, you just never know what the outcome will be on any given game day.
*On another note, I would also like to extend condolences to the Mississippi State University family and the University of Mississippi family. Both schools lost iconic legends this past week with the passing of Jack Cristil and Stan Sandroni – long time radio announcers for the football programs at their respective schools. Cristil was the voice of the bulldogs for 58 years and Sandroni was in his 26th year as the voice of the rebels. These men were highly respected and highly revered and will be missed by all. Prayers for their families.