COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier rarely comes to the SEC spring meetings in Destin, Fla., empty handed. Last year, he used the opportunity to propose that coaches should be allowed to pay into a fund that would go to the players. (Which conveniently minimized the headlines for another bout of Stephen Garcia-reinstatement-related drama.) This year, Spurrier has a more practical idea to discuss.
He thinks the SEC should choose its division champions in football based on division record instead of overall conference record. "Your division champ should be decided on division games. Last year, it wasn't fair for Tennessee and Florida," Spurrier said. "They both played LSU and Alabama. Us and Georgia didn't. So, us or Georgia almost had to win the division simply because of the schedule."
Spurrier isn't only taking up the plight of the Volunteers and Gators, who must play Alabama and LSU, respectively, every season. His motives are likely much more selfish. If division record had decided the champions in 2011, the Gamecocks would have won the East by virtue of their 5-0 record. (South Carolina went 6-2 overall, losing at home to Auburn and at Arkansas.) Georgia, which went 4-1 in the division -- the loss came in Athens to South Carolina -- won the East by virtue of its 7-1 overall record. "I give them credit for beating everybody after they lost to us," Spurrier said. "But they had [0-8] Ole Miss, and we had [6-2] Arkansas. That was the only difference in the SEC schedule between us two."
Of course, South Carolina could have just beaten Auburn at Williams-Brice Stadium and still made it to Atlanta last season. That's an argument that might get tossed at Spurrier in the coaches' meeting. Still, he could get some support from programs that must play a perennial power as a cross-division rival.
But Spurrier isn't expecting much support.
"It probably won't pass because I made it," Spurrier said with a chuckle.