21
Oct
10

Cry me a river; Steve Spurrier reborn

“We all have the strength to endure the misfortunes of others” has long been one of my favorite quotations – and, boy, are football fans enjoying the misfortunes of formerly top-ranked Alabama.

Everywhere I go, from the airport shuttle to the grocery store to the ladies room, it seems someone has something to say about the Gamecocks‘ surprise victory over the Crimson Tide and the ensuing shakeup in the national rankings.

It’s clear that people were tired of the accepted notion that Alabama would repeat as the BCS champion and wanted some team — any team — to knock them down a peg or two.

The delight is especially palpable among SEC fans who’d grown weary of the powerful Florida-Alabama-LSU triumvirate. There’s blood in the water and the sharks are circling. Alabama’s lost one, Florida’s dropped two and LSU — despite a perfect 6-0 record — has benefited from opponents’ mistakes and looks beatable.

At this point, unlike in past seasons, both the SEC East and West are open for the taking, as is the national title, which makes things a whole lot more fun. Well, perhaps for everyone who’s not an Alabama or Florida fan.

Shameless gloating? When the opportunity arises . . .

Speaking of misfortunes, there’s an old German word: schadenfreude. It means “pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.”

I’ll admit my guilt: Regular Gridiron &Grits readers know I divide my time between San Antonio and Georgia — and that my Georgia abode is just a couple of miles from the Alabama border.

I’ve been deliberately parking my Gamecockmobile next to cars with Alabama plates, flags and bumper stickers for the last few days. Yeah, it’s a little bit mean, but what the heck? It’s a gloat that’s been a long time coming, and who knows when there will be another chance.

Steve Spurrier: People’s choice?

Not too long ago, all you had to do to elicit upturned noses and audible groans was utter one name: Steve Spurrier.

SEC fans hated him for monopolizing league championships as coach of the Florida Gators. Florida fans hated him for abandoning their winning program for the rarefied air of pro football. Redskins fans hated him for his lousy record as their head coach. The average person despised him for being too successful.

My, how things have changed. Spurrier, apparently, has suffered enough during his six-year tenure as head coach at South Carolina. In the course of one hour — the time it took for the Gamecocks to take down Alabama — he became the toast of NCAA football fans and sports writers.

Suddenly, it seems, everyone wants to see the Head Ball Coach on top again. Even the CBS announcer calling the Carolina-Alabama game blurted, “I love Steve Spurrier.”

Here’s a little secret: I love Spurrier a little bit, too. His visor- and clipboard-throwing antics amuse me. But I’ll love him a whole lot more if he brings the much-maligned and Chicken-Cursed Gamecocks an SEC East championship.

 

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