Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Ol' Ball Coach has been calling ball plays at South Carolina since 2005 but in Steve Spurrier 's first five years at the school the Gamecocks had never picked up that program-changing win. They have now. Following its 35-21 win over defending national champion Alabama on Saturday afternoon Spurrier's Gamecocks have officially arrived on the national scene.
Yes, the Gamecocks had some big wins in Spurrier's first year in Columbia, knocking off Tennessee at Neyland Stadium for the first time in school history, and beating Florida for the first time since 1939, but neither of those wins propelled South Carolina to an SEC championship game, and the school has found itself as nothing but a middle of the road SEC team since.
This win against Alabama, though, may just do the trick.
Now the Gamecocks still have a long road to travel before they can ge there, with two tough tests against Arkansas and Florida -- in The Swamp -- remaining in their way, but if they can knock off a team that had won 19-straight in the SEC and took home a title last season, they can win both of those games.
Whether they do or not, however, isn't what's important here. It's the fact that it's possible at all. There have been many critics who have wondered whether or not Spurrier would ever be able to build a SEC contender at South Carolina, and considering that he's only won eight games once and one of four bowl games, their doubt was understandable.
But is it a coincidence that now, in his sixth season at the helm, and with a roster full of his own players, his Gamecocks find themselves 4-1 with a shot at winning the SEC East? I don't think so.
Five hours ago I was one of the many people who wondered if Spurrier had it in him. Now? Now I'm not sure anybody else in the SEC has it in them to take it away from Spurrier.
It's amazing what one win can do.