South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier has every reason to supply Mississippi and Texas A with a detailed scouting report on Missouri.
After all, Spurrier’s Gamecocks need the Tigers, 9-1 overall and 5-1 in the conference, to lose to either the Rebels on Saturday or the Aggies on Nov. 30 to clinch the SEC East championship.
If that happens, South Carolina, which has finished Southeastern Conference play with a 6-2 record, would win a tie breaker and head to the SEC championship game Dec. 7 against the SEC West champion: either Alabama or Auburn. The Gamecocks won in double overtime Oct. 26 at Missouri.
But Spurrier will not be making a telephone call to Oxford, Miss., or College Station, Texas.
“I stay out of that,” Spurrier said.
And Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze won’t be waiting by the phone.
“I expect him to call any moment,” Freeze said, tongue firmly planted in cheek. “I look forward to that call.”
Honor among coaches? Kind of, at least to Spurrier.
“I’ve said if I’m ever in that position, I’ll keep my big mouth shut and let it play out,” Spurrier said.
Besides, what would Spurrier advise? Hold out your starting quarterback for as long as possible?
Missouri led South Carolina 17-0 when regular quarterback Conner Shaw, nursing a sprained knee, entered the game late in the third quarter and, along with a stout defense, sparked the comeback.
“I don’t know how it happened,” Spurrier said immediately after the game. “I guess the good Lord was smiling on the Gamecocks.”
Since then, South Carolina and Missouri have continued to win. The Tigers could have all but clinched the division with a Gamecocks loss to Florida last week, or strengthened their chances had Georgia held on to beat Auburn, keeping alive the prospect of a three-team tie among MU, South Carolina and the Bulldogs, which favors Missouri.
But South Carolina held on for a narrow victory, and Georgia fell in the “Prayer at Jordan-Hare” — the last minute, 73-yard touchdown pass that was deflected by a Bulldogs defender to Auburn receiver Ricardo Louis.
It means Missouri must beat Mississippi, 24th in the BCS standings, and No. 12 Texas A, to finish in front of South Carolina for the division title.
It would happen without Spurrier’s assistance and with his respect.
“If Missouri wins both games,” Spurrier said, “I’ll be first to congratulate coach (Gary) Pinkel on a heck of a year.”