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Sunday Morning Quarterback

Sunday Morning Quarterback

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

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SMQ was already thinking of moseying on over to Gainesville for the USM-Florida game on Sept. 2, maybe chilling pregame if possible with Mssr. Swindle, and today comes this. As if a partisan needed another reason to make the trek to see his alma mater open its season with a respectable but sound beating in one of college football's reputedly grandest environments:

Steve Spurrier's return to The Swamp will happen earlier than anticipated.

The South Carolina coach said Tuesday he will be in Gainesville on Sept. 2 when Florida honors its 1996 national championship team.

The Gamecocks open their season against Mississippi State on Thursday, Aug. 31, making the Ol' Ball Coach available for the 10-year celebration two days later during Florida's season opener against Southern Mississippi.

"It's an opportunity to be with those players," Spurrier said at the Southeastern Conference's annual spring meetings. "That's one big reason you win championships is the ability to celebrate them later. Obviously a national championship is a memory of a lifetime. It will be wonderful to see the players, and personally I feel like I owe it to those players to come back, so that's a big reason I'll be down there."

Spurrier has attended all three reunions for Duke's 1989 team that won the Atlantic Coast Conference championship (1994, '99 and '04) and said he planned to do the same for the Gators.

Spurrier won the school's first Heisman Trophy in 1966, returned as coach in 1990 and won 122 games in 12 seasons. He received widespread credit for revolutionizing the conference with his innovative and wide-open passing attack and led the Gators to their only national title.

His Heisman Trophy is displayed outside Florida's locker room. So are photos of his six Southeastern Conference championship teams and the 1996 national championship trophy. His name and No. 11 jersey are painted inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Not to get, you know, blasphemous or anything, but this ought to be about like Palm Sunday before he comes back to be crucified in November.

Potential bloodshed aside, sounds like fun if arrangements can be made for tickets and travel. SMQ has always liked Spurrier - unlike father of SMQ, a coach himself who held the Ball Coach in disdain after he sent a quarterback to a Spurrier camp and got a video back with a barefoot, wife beater-sporting coach lazily looking over stretches by kids he had no interest in whatsoever, then disappearing for good to let assistants run the show with no further insight - and actually was able to attend the impressive 1996/7 Sugar Bowl rout of FSU that earned the team its championship. This game, in fact, is the reason SMQ still considers Danny Wuerffel possibly the best college quarterback of at least that decade, a coaching accomplishment so stupendous in itself that, like Brian, he is forced to agree with the choice of Spurrier as the No. 1 fantasy draft pick right now for many, many reasons both substantial and merely for entertainment purposes.

Obviously there is no rooting against USM, and loudly if necessary, but without much expectation of Southern Miss victory, one could probably stand some scene-soaking without getting too upset at the inevitable "Hey hey goodbye" theatrics or whatever they do to playfully mock losers down there (unless it involves actual feeding of gators and/or head-shaving, it won't be nearly as humbling as Alabama's "We just beat the hell outta you!" chant, with which SMQ and all USM fans are intimately familiar). Not that he'd be sober at that point, anyway.

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Then again, who really wants to be that close to 88,547 wet dreams?

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10:21 PM

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And don't let the name fool ya - second guessing the phenomenal athletic feats and split-second decisions of college kids under extreme physical duress is for every day of the week.

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