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As the Quality of the South Carolina Gamecocks' Play Has Risen, the Quality of Steve Spurrier's Snark Has Declined

(Hat tip: Senator Blutarsky.)

Much is made, and deservedly so, of the self-evident reality that the whiny offseason grousing of one Stephen Orr Spurrier, now aged 67 and not getting any younger, is attributable primarily to the fact that Darth Visor knows his days are numbered and he no longer can count on the cyclical nature of SEC scheduling to break his way, as it has for the many, many years in which facing the Arkansas Razorbacks annually could not reasonably be deemed comparable in difficulty to facing the Auburn Tigers annually. Consequently, he has to squeal like a stuck pig about the injustice of counting SEC games to settle SEC titles as the league enters its 80th straight season of determining championships in that indisputably sensible manner.

Ironically, as the Evil Genius’s South Carolina Gamecocks have become an entirely legitimate Southeastern Conference football program perennially in contention for the Eastern Division championship, Coach Spurrier has sounded steadily more shrill notes in his grating nasal twang, unsuccessfully attempting to play the downtrodden underdog card that thoroughly misrepresents, and insultingly so, the high caliber of the gridiron squad he and his athletic administration have built.

Because Steve Superior lacks either a filter between his mind and his mouth or a raised-right Southerner’s capacity for basic manners, he has developed a reputation for quotability that has reduced the media to mere parrots unthinkingly repeating such obvious hypocrisy as this bit of stupidity: “I sort of always liked playing [Georgia] that second game because you could always count on them having two or three key players suspended.” That this was a credit to Mark Richt rather than a criticism of him appeared lost on most mainstream commentators.

Coach Spurrier’s complete lack of entitlement to crow about this subject subsequently was confirmed, for the benefit of anyone who was not already aware of the utter absence of any integrity underlying his previous unseemly remarks, when one of his quarterbacks, Tanner McEvoy, was arrested in North Carolina for violating that state’s law prohibiting anyone underage from operating a motor vehicle after consuming any alcohol. Virtually coming right out and saying that ignorance of the law ought to operate as an excuse, Coach Spurrier explained his refusal to levy any suspension that actually impacted McEvoy’s playing time thusly: “You want him suspended for having a beer and he's underage? How many football players would be playing if they had a beer and they were underage?”

Steve Spurrier is a smart man and a minister’s son, so he cannot possibly be stupid enough to believe the nonsense he’s spouting, nor can his moral education have been so meager that he fails to apprehend the irreconcilability of his refusal to punish players with his insistence upon needling Coach Richt for upholding standards. The pretense of ignorance concerning the distinction between suspending someone under 21 “for having a beer” and suspending someone arrested for violating laws prohibiting drinking and driving is contrived; the notion that Mark Richt is a lax disciplinarian is silly; the idea that Steve Spurrier has any business criticizing his SEC East rival’s handling of such matters is absurd.

This brings us to yesterday’s announcement of the suspensions of sophomore backups Sharrod Golightly and J.T. Surratt, the latter of whom I’m pretty sure was a traveling sewing machine salesman in some of William Faulkner’s early novels. Please note the stark contrast between the Peach State and Palmetto State news media in such matters; Coach Spurrier confirmed the players’ benching on a Saturday, and the news was buried deep in a story regarding a weekend scrimmage in the Anderson Independent-Mail. It suffices to say that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution would’ve handled that a whole heck of a lot differently.

Steve Spurrier would not be Steve Spurrier if he did not insist upon getting in his digs while doing his dirty deeds, though, so, naturally, he had to remind everyone, and the press had to repeat, that the Georgia Bulldogs have players suspended, as well. “We’ve got them missing, too,” the Evil Genius continued, following up his obligatory cheap shot with his equally obligatory whining about the injustices he is forced to suffer. “Nobody’s heard of our guys, I’m guessing,” he concluded. “That’s the only difference.”

Actually, that’s not the only difference, but Coach Spurrier is to be forgiven for saying so, as that certainly is the only distinction that mattered to him. Yeah, sure, Darth Visor will make a show of benching unknown utility players that wouldn’t have seen the field, anyway, but a quarterback he might need? Well, hey, everyone deserves a seventh chance, right?

Meanwhile, it’s news if Branden Smith doesn’t get suspended following an arrest, even though court- and school-administered drug tests came back clean and his pretrial diversion will expunge the charge from his record, and the “Mark Richt has lost control” meme continues to gain traction, even as Coach Richt confirms the suspensions of Sanders Commings and Chase Vasser---two guys of whom opposing fans have heard---for Georgia’s first two games, including the Bulldogs’ conference opener on the road against the Missouri Tigers. Throughout it all, whether in Gainesville or Columbia, Double-S gets the benefit of the double standard.

As time and circumstances increasingly require us to emphasize the “Old” in “Old Ball Coach,” the fact that Coach Spurrier has done an admirable job of turning a perennial also-ran into an upper-echelon SEC program becomes more and more obscured by the rank hypocrisy, childish whining, and weak snark that has accompanied his guidance of the Gamecocks seemingly to permanent prominence. It is as sad as it is maddening that the Evil Genius has kept his mouth and mind mired in the outhouse as his team has risen to the penthouse, but, since Mohamed seems so steadfast in his refusal to ascend the mountain, it would seem to be the duty of the ‘Dawgs to knock the mountain over onto Mohamed.

Go ‘Dawgs!

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