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Spurrier: SEC Down A Bit In 2008

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: May 22, 2013 at 04:55 PM
TAMPA -

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier used a news conference question Sunday as an opportunity to brag about the SEC.

Then he took some of it back.

"We had a good time there to promote SEC football," Spurrier said, pointing to the size of the league's stadiums, players invited to the NFL combine and national championships won by Florida and LSU in 2007 and 2008. "But realistically, this year, Alabama and Florida were our two big teams.

"I think, really, we were down a little bit this year. ... We did not fill our bowl spots - I think only eight out of 12 qualified for 12 bowl games. Hopefully we will be back up there next year. We'll be a little quiet this year unless one of our teams Florida wins the national championship."

Spurrier also said that the stereotype about the SEC having a lot more speed than the Big Ten isn't "necessarily true."

He referenced Florida's 37-34 loss to Michigan State in the 2000 Citrus Bowl, when he was the Gators' coach.

"We had a sprinter named John Capel that ran the Olympic 200 meters, and he got loose on a kickoff, and they had a guy that ran him down. Of course, that was Plaxico Burress. So they had some speed on that team also. Plaxico wanted to play that day."

USF NOT ON RADAR: Although it was totally unintentional, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz slighted USF on Sunday when he answered a question about whether playing in the Outback Bowl helps the Hawkeyes' recruiting.

"With the Big Ten ties to bowls down here, that's part of the reason we recruit an awful lot of good players in this state," he said. "They don't all go to the three schools - the three major schools."

It's safe to assume Ferentz was referring to Florida, Florida State and Miami, the three traditional major programs. USF would like to believe it is part of a big four in Florida.

USF has three games scheduled against Big Ten schools - at Indiana next year and home and home vs. Michigan State in 2013-2014.

TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: If there's one thing Iowa fans probably don't want to see in the Outback Bowl against South Carolina, it's a close game. That's because close games have been the Hawkeyes' Achilles' heel in recent years.

Since going 3-0 in 2004 in games decided by three points or less, the Hawkeyes are 1-9 over the past four seasons in those circumstances. That one win did, however, come in Iowa's last game decided by three points or less, when kicker Daniel Murray booted a late field goal to beat Penn State on Nov. 8.

Tony Fabrizio, Adam Adkins

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