HOOVER, Ala. -- Steve Spurrier stopped in front of a projection screen Tuesday. On the left was a picture of himself, but the head coach with a reputation for ego was more interested in what was on the right side.
Look at the middle of that schedule, Spurrier said, gesturing to a reporter, where his South Carolina football teams games were listed.
Oct. 6: Georgia at home.
Oct. 13: LSU in Baton Rouge.
Oct. 20: Florida in Gainesville.
Three weeks later, Arkansas at home.
Yes, the schedule -- that of both his team and his main division rival -- remains at the forefront of Spurriers mind.
The fact that Georgia has enjoyed an easier schedule than South Carolina might seem a tired subject to many. But its not to Spurrier.
Once again, during his Tuesday appearance at SEC Media Days, Spurrier took the opportunity to bring it up. In fact, he did it off the podium, too. And each time he wasnt actually asked about Georgia.
First, he was asked about the bye before the Arkansas game and whether it was designed that way.
You think I make the schedule? If I made the schedule, Georgia would play LSU and we would play (Mississippi), Spurrier said.
That brought a roomful of laughter.
Georgias two non-division opponents this year are Ole Miss -- expected to be one of the SECs worst teams -- and Auburn. South Carolina gets Arkansas and LSU, a couple of preseason top-10 teams.
Later, after he had left podium, a reporter tried to get Spurrier to say the Gamecocks had a chance to do big things this year.
Who knows, Spurrier said. Weve got LSU and Arkansas. Georgias got Auburn and Ole Miss. Now whether or not that will be a factor -- it was a factor last year. But were not complaining about it. Its just the way it is. No excuses. No excuses.
It was Spurrier who earlier this spring proposed the SEC change the way it determine its division champion, motivated by Georgias easier non-division schedule. It was shot down.
South Carolina won at Georgia last year and swept the East Division. But the Gamecocks lost twice out of division, to Auburn and Arkansas, while Georgia won out against an easier schedule and thus won the division.
Of course, it bears noting that they had one common West Division opponent: Auburn, which beat South Carolina but lost to Georgia. That loomed large in deciding the division title.
Still, the ill feeling remains at South Carolina. Receiver Ace Sanders admitted Tuesday that there was some bitterness watching last years SEC championship game, which Georgia lost handily to LSU.
Of course at first it was (bitter). But what could we do about it? Sanders said. It happened, so we just had to learn to keep it in stride and use it as motivation to come back next year and say well just have to win out in the SEC completely, not just in the East but also in the West. Because now we see that that determines our future, too.
Georgia is expected to be the division favorite when media preseason voting is announced Thursday. South Carolina, meanwhile, is likely to be the easy pick for second place.
The Gamecocks lost several key players, including two first-round NFL picks. But they also return plenty of talent, including ends Devin Taylor and Jadeveon Clowney. Spurrier finally feels he has a reliable quarterback in Connor Shaw.
And Spurrier feels that star tailback Marcus Lattimore, who tore his ACL last season, will be back to health.
The doctors can do wonderful things now with those knee surgeries, Spurrier said. Marcus has rehabbed beautifully. He should be ready to go.
That would seem to set up Georgia and South Carolina as once again being the top two contenders to win the East and get to Atlanta for the conference championship game.
Probably so, Sanders said. Theyve got a lot of players returning, so I believe they are definitely a contender. Thats a team that we will have to look forward to playing.