By Jeff Schultz
HOOVER, Ala. – Here’s your Day 1 wrap-up of SEC media days: Mike Slive says the NCAA has problems and Steve Spurrier thinks he can fix all of them.
I wrote a column for our subscription site, MyAJC.com, on Slive’s annual state of world domination address Tuesday, and some comments he had in our private chat thereafter. Included in his slaps at the NCAA: Saying the NCAA’s regulatory approach to recruiting “would be more at home in the era of Johann Gutenberg’s printing press than in our current fast-paced, technology-driven society …”
Slive also addressed the off-the-field issues of “both current and former student-athletes” -- and you would be safe to read into that former Florida star Aaron Hernandez. Slive's comments were candid and refreshing. Again, here’s the link.
As for Spurrier, he reiterated his desire for the NCAA to set up a stipend plan for football and basketball players. He again griped about the SEC's scheduling practices -- even though the Gamecocks don't have to play Alabama, LSU or Texas A&M this season. He bemoaned the fact that the Notre Dame athletic director has a seat with BCS conference commissioners at the playoff committee table (and he has a point about that).
It took a while but Spurrier eventually got around to talking about his football team. By the end of this season, we may know why.
Here's my thought on Spurrier: I think he missed his window to win an SEC championship in Columbia.
South Carolina has a great defensive player in defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (potentially the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft). But the Gamecocks couldn't win a conference championship with two premier offensive weapons in running back Marcus Lattimore and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.
Quarterback Connor Shaw is solid. I just don't believe he's a game-changer, and there's certainly a lack of significant weapons around him. The biggest thing South Carolina has going for it this season is a schedule with only two difficult conference games (Georgia in Athens; Florida at home). But I don't think that's enough. Despite going an impressive 31-9 (17-7 in the SEC) over the last three seasons, Spurrier reached the SEC championship game only once -- and in that one three years ago the Gamecocks were pounded by Cam Newton and Auburn, 56-17.
Spurrier on his team: "We've got a pretty good team, I think. I don't know how good.
"We know we're not favored to win it but we think we're going to have a team capable, if everything works out, some guys really come around, get a break or two. That's something we've not done at South Carolina is win a conference championship, and we have hopes to do it. It won't be easy, of course. We may fall flat on our face, but that's what we're going to try to do."
Georgia has lost to South Carolina three straight years, but it didn't make a difference for the Gamecocks in the SEC East Division in the last two because of the way the seasons played out.
Spurrier on Georgia: "We've beaten them the last two years, then they've won all their conference games."
True: South Carolina accounted for the Bulldogs' only two SEC regular season losses in the last two years.
"That game is important, but it didn't determine the division champion," Spurrier said.
And that may have been his best chance.
Agree or disagree? The cyber venting lines are open below.
A few hits from the digital jukebox
-- MyAJC: Hawks may be building for 2014, not now