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Kentucky Football: An Early Preview of South Carolina (Updated)

Remember the last time Kentucky beat the Gamecocks? The image of Steve Spurrier pleading on the sideline with the injured runningback Marcus Lattimore to go into the game? The pass from Mike Hartline to Randall Cobb that put Kentucky ahead?

Scott Halleran

The end of that game, of course, is noteworthy because it is the only time Kentucky beat  one of the greatest coaches in NCAA Football.

Remember the game where "The Ol' Ball Coach" used four quarterbacks against the Wildcats because he wasn't happy with their play? If you'll recall, South Carolina won that game as Kentucky floundered as only Kentucky could.

If you remember Steve Spurrier's tenure at Florida (where he coached from 1990-2001), you'll remember his disdain for Kentucky football and delight at beating the Wildcats like a drum. His disdain was more directed toward Kentucky Coach Bill Curry (1990-1996) due to a perceived snub involving Curry's refusal to keep him on the Georgia Tech staff when Curry became head coach at Tech after Pepper Rogers left. John Clay had a good article back in 2012 which you can read on this link.

From 1990 on, Spurrier went 6-0 against Curry.

1990 Florida beat Kentucky, 47-15 in Lexington

1991 Florida beat Kentuky 35-26 in Gainesville

1992 Florida beat Kentucky 35-19 in Gainesville

1993 Florida beat Kentucky 24-20 in Lexington

1994 Florida beat Kentucky 73-7 in Gainesville

1995 Florida beat Kentucky  42-7 in Lexington

1996 Florida beat Kentucky 65-0 in Gainesville

When Hal Mumme came to Kentucky, Spurrier continued to show no mercy.

1997 Florida, 55-28 in Lexington

1998 Florida 51-35 in Gainesville

1999 Florida 38-10 in Lexington

2000 Florida 59-31 in Gainesville

His last year at Florida, he beat Kentucky 44-10 in Lexington in Guy Morriss's first year. It should be pointed out that Ron Zook and Urban Meyer both owned Kentucky while they were at Florida. Kentucky, however, was free from Spurrier's wrath until he was hired at South Carolina in 2005. I think one reason he showed Kentucky no respect was because Kentucky's commitment to football was tepid, at best.

One thing everyone should know. Steve Spurrier was the best quarterback at Florida from his playing days until he left Florida as head coach. The same holds true in Columbia, South Carolina. From his playing days in high school and his playing days at Florida, he was Heisman Trophy good. That continued throughout his college coaching days.

At South Carolina, he hasn't had the talent that he had at Florida, but he's slowly getting there.  Check out his recruiting (Rivals Team Rankings) at South Carolina.

2005 #23                                 7-5       Independence Bowl

2006 #24                                 8-5       Liberty Bowl

2007 #6                                    6-6

2008 #22                                 7-6       Outback Bowl

2009 #12                                 7-6       Papa Bowl

2010 #24                                 9-5       Chick-fil-A Bowl

2011 #18                                11-2     Capital One Bowl

2012 #19                                11-2     Outback Bowl

2013 #16                                11-2     Capital One Bowl

2014 #16                                  0-0

2015 #3 currently

South Carolina has progressed in a positive manner as he built the program and that is a testament to both his coaching and recruiting. Like him or not, Steve Spurrier is one of the best coaches out there. I've always admired him even when he was beating Kentucky like a drum. After watching the SEC Network's profile on him and how his wife is the rock he leans on, I have even more admiration towards him.

Can Kentucky beat South Carolina? That is highly unlikely even if the game is at Commonwealth Stadium. By the time the Gamecocks come into town, they will have played Texas A&M at home, East Carolina at home, Georgia at home, at Vanderbilt and Missouri at home. At Commonwealth Stadium, Kentucky plays Carolina much better than in Columbia.

Games in Lexington:

2006 South Carolina 24 Kentucky 17

2008 South Carolina 24 Kentucky 17

2010 Kentucky 31 South Carolina 28

2012 South Carolina 38 Kentucky 17

Games in Columbia:

2005 South Carolina 44 Kentucky 16

2007 South Carolina 38 Kentucky 23

2009 South Carolina 28 Kentucky 26

2011 South Carolina 54 Kentucky 3 (ouch!)

2013 South Carolina 35 Kentucky 28

Past performance dictates that Kentucky's next win over Steve Spurrier and South Carolina will occur at Commonwealth. The last time the Wildcats won in Columbia was 1999 as the Cats walked away with a 30-10 victory. I don't believe this will be the year we beat South Carolina, but the playing field should be level in 2017 when they come back to Lexington if Stoops & Company continues to recruit the way they have. I do believe, however, that the Kentucky Wildcats won't give up without a fight on October 4th. After last night's debacle, Kentucky may even win.

Update: After last night's game against Texas A&M, Spurrier can't be happy with his offense, but more importantly, his defense. This was South Carolina's worst opening day loss in 50 years and the Carolina defense gave up the most yards ever (677 total) in Gamecock history. A&M blasted their way over and through that 3-4 defense and ended South Carolina's 18 home game win streak in the process. The gamecock secondary was awful.

Spurrier admitted that the gamecock's were getting beat by a better team, and that was at the end of the first half after the Aggies wound up with almost 400 total yards. You can read about the game from a USC viewpoint over at Garnetandblackattack. Carolina's offense wasn't all that great either. A&M's QB outplayed USC's QB. Guess which was the senior and gues which was the sophomore.

Measuring how far we have to go:

2013 NCAA Stats

Total Offense: South Carolina 452.3 yds/gm (36th); Kentucky 341.2 yds/gm (107th)

Last night: 433 yds

Total Defense: South Carolina 350.0 yds/gm (19th); Kentucky 427.2 yds/gm (91st)

Last Night: 680 yds

Scoring Offense: South Carolina 34.1 pts/gm (32nd);  Kentucky 20.5 pts/gm (107th)

Last night: 28 pts

Scoring Defense: South Carolina 20.3 pts/gm (12th); Kentucky 31.2 pts/gm (89th)

Last night: 52 pts