Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 6/10/13
Nowadays, Steve Spurrier is in Columbia, South Carolina, doing what Spurrier does--winning. But can he win enough to get this team to the SEC Championship Game and get a win there? In 2010, It was a Spurrier coached team of Gamecocks who made their first and only SEC Championship Game. At 9-3, they faced a red-hot Auburn team on its way to a 14-0 season and a national title. This was the second meeting of the teams in '10 as they had already faced-off earlier in the year at Auburn. In the first game,  the Gamecocks held a 27-21 lead going into the fourth quarter. But, South Carolina turned the ball over four times in the quarter, allowing Auburn to gain, and then hold onto the lead. Behind 27-35, late in the game, South Carolina drove deep into Auburn territory twice. They were intercepted at the Auburn 11 and finally, in the Tiger's end zone with only 33 seconds to play. A couple of months later the Gamecocks came into the Georgia Dome a slight underdog to Auburn and their eventual Heisman Trophy winning, all everything quarterback, Cam Newton. In the championship game he threw for 335 yards and four touchdowns, while running for 73 yards and two additional scores as the Tigers buried Carolina 17-56.In the two years since, South Carolina has won a school record eleven games a year. Though they have beaten the eventual eastern division champion, Georgia both seasons, they then have lost two conference games each year. This has caused the Gamecocks to sit and watch while the Bulldogs played for the title. While it is easy to say the winner of the Georgia - Carolina game has the inside shot to the SEC East crown, the past two years have proven that statement incorrect. In fact, heading into 2013, the SEC East is likely to be even more difficult to pick because the Gators are back.In 2012, Florida's 7-1 conference record beat South Carolina's 6-2 mark heads up. Georgia represented the east in the championship game with an identical 7-1 record because they beat Florida, thus won the tie-breaker. In short, as good as South Carolina was at 11-2 last seaon, they only finished third in the SEC East. This year, the SEC East will likely be a three team race between Georgia, Florida and South Carolina once again. All three of these teams will make most top 15 ranking lists, with Georgia and South Carolina making most of the top 10's. Each team has strengths and supposed weaknesses. And like last season, the winner of a game between any combination of the three may not be the last word as to who will represent the East in the championship game. For Steve Spurrier and his Gamecocks, they need to make it happen this year. He has built a powerful team in Columbia that has missed the SEC title game by just inches for two straight years. The only sure way to Atlanta in 2013 is a win at Georgia and over Florida at home in the regular season. Do that and even a slip at Arkansas or Mississippi State at home doesn't end your SEC title hopes. Ultimately, Spurrier wants to win at least one more national title before he retires. He knows the way to have a shot with a SEC team in 2013, is by winning the conference title first. This season lines up perfectly for his Gamecocks to have a realistic shot. Though the 2013 schedule is typical SEC difficult, it is more manageable than last year. SEC west opponents Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M are replaced by Mississippi State and rebuilding Arkansas. To meet their goals, the Gamecocks need to win all eight games versus teams they should be superior to. And, of the four swing games--at Georgia, at UCF, Florida and Clemson--they must win two to compete for the SEC and all four to compete for a national title.This will be the third year the Gamecocks have possessed the right stuff to win a title. Proving it takes more than just great players to get there. Overall, the schedule breaks their way. But should they fall short again, Spurrier will likely be in his early seventies before they make another serious run.Either way, I believe Steve Spurrier has his mind set on at least a SEC title for his Gamecocks before he hangs it up. Hopefully, for him and the Carolina faithful, they can break that final barrier with this group.
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