Steve Spurrier doesn't think it's a big deal when he coaches in the state of Florida anymore. Which, of course, is true.
Spurrier has led South Carolina into the Sunshine State eight times since becoming coach, including seven times in the past six seasons. The Gamecocks played a game at Central Florida in September. At this point, a trip to Florida should be routine.
Yet, it's not.
The questions come every time Spurrier prepares for another game inside the state he once owned, at least in a football sense. The Head Ball Coach still puts on a show every time he returns, even calling local reporters by name.
Spurrier held court Thursday at a news conference in Orlando promoting South Carolina's game Jan. 1 against Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl. There were classic quips and funny one-liners, the type of material expected from a seasoned comedian.
Asked about the speeding ticket issued to star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, Spurrier said, "I didn't know Jadeveon's car could go that fast.
He doesn't have a pretty car like those FSU guys used to drive."
He even offered a jab at his former school.
"Somebody told me the Gators are going to be home for the holidays," Spurrier said. "Maybe we can get a bunch of Gators to come to our ballgame and help fill up the stands."
Florida suffered its worst season since 1979, finishing 4-8. The Gators missed a bowl game for the first time since 1990. That was Spurrier's first season as head coach in Gainesville, Fla.
Spurrier was in Orlando with his counterpart, first-year Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen. He's studied up on the Badgers since they became his team's bowl opponent Sunday.
"Wisconsin is an excellent team, 9-3 record, could have easily been a few wins better," Spurrier said. "We all know they had that incident at Arizona State where the quarterback put the ball on the ground and they said game over."
The "incident" occurred when Pac-12 officials allowed the clock to run out without Wisconsin having a chance to kick a potential game-winning field goal at Arizona State in September, costing the Badgers a 10-win season. The loss still stings Wisconsin fans.
Ironically, Pac-12 officials will work the Capital One Bowl.
Wisconsin recovered nicely from that adversity. At 9-3, the Badgers exceeded expectations in their first year under Andersen. For a program that has lost three straight bowl games - all at the Rose Bowl - a Capital One Bowl victory would be the proverbial icing on its season.
"It is an interesting matchup," Andersen said Thursday. "We are going to do what we do on offense. Coach Spurrier's offense is always very dynamic, they do a lot. There are some very talented men on both sides of the ball, some great pieces of the puzzle."
Added Andersen: "We will have fun. When it is all over with I want them to walk out and say the Capital One Bowl was a great experience, a fun experience, a good time."
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