South Carolina sees Georgia as a rival.
But do the Bulldogs see the Gamecocks in the same light?
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Nah, says South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier, who takes his team to Athens on Saturday for a showdown between Southeastern Conference East Division powers.
“I don’t sense the hatred between Georgia and South Carolina like there is between Georgia and Florida,” Spurrier said. “Georgia has beaten us so many times until recently, and they have so many rivalries, it makes it difficult for them to have a big rivalry game every week.”
Spurrier is right about that. The Bulldogs are loaded with historic rivals, Florida, Georgia Tech and Auburn.
For South Carolina, there’s the rivalry with Clemson — and opponents who detest Spurrier.
Georgia might fall into that category, recalling how Spurrier’s Florida teams won 11 of 12 over the Bulldogs during 1990-2001.
And more recently, Spurrier’s Gamecocks have had the upper hand, winning three straight. Last year, South Carolina prevailed 35-7, the program’s largest victory margin in the series.
The Bulldogs came back to capture the division title, and they’ll need a rally approach Saturday, coming off a loss at Clemson, while South Carolina defeated North Carolina in its opener.
The schools in neighboring states have been annual opponents since South Carolina joined the conference in 1992. Before then they were semiregulars on the schedule, where Georgia mostly dominated.
Georgia coach Mark Richt has been competing against Spurrier teams throughout his career, starting with his years as a Florida State assistant in the 1990s. The Seminoles prevailed over Spurrier’s Gators in the national championship seasons of 1993 and 1999, and Florida beat Florida State in the Sugar Bowl for the 1996 national title.
“There have been a lot of games between us, a lot of great competition,” Richt said.
But a rivalry?
Maybe if South Carolina keeps winning.