Press Conference: Chick-fil-A Does it Right

South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier held his final press conference of the 2010 season Thursday afternoon as part of a joint-press conference with Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher. Spurrier and the Gamecocks are looking for the program's second 10-win season to finish what has been a record-breaking season.

If there is one thing Chick-fil-A does well - other than making the greatest chicken sandwiches known to mankind - is putting on a good show. From the time the Florida State and South Carolina football teams landed in Atlanta until kickoff Friday night, they have been taking good care of.

"Chick-fil-A does a super job," South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said. "This week has been as good as any I've been fortunate to be involved in. I think our players have enjoyed it. Of course, the team that wins the game will have enjoyed the week a lot more than the other team, simple as that."

Each night the two teams faced off against each other in different competitions. From who is better at Guitar Hero to which team can eat more meet to which offensive line can make the quickest Chick-fil-A milkshake, the two teams have enjoyed a break from the strain of football to enjoy the bowl experience themselves. After four events, the two teams are tied at two and will head to the final event - a family feud style college football trivia game - Thursday afternoon to determine which team will win the game before the game. FSU won 265-238 to win the final game and win the competition, 3-2.

"I think our players enjoyed the go-kart race," Spurrier said. "We didn't have all of our guys go, but the ones who went and participated really enjoyed it."

Now that the fun is over with and all the questions have been asked and answered, the business of playing the 43rd annual Chick-fil-A Bowl game has arrived. In the last 18 meetings between the SEC and ACC in this bowl, each conference has won nine times. The 2010 edition will be the first time in the bowl's history that two division champions will meet each other.

"No, I can't really sense what's going to happen," Spurrier said. "As coaches, we probably do about the same thing every week trying to get them ready to play. Some weeks it seems like we play a lot better for whatever reason. We don't have the magic answer why one week we play extremely well compared to the next. We've practiced just about like we have all year. We've practiced just about that we did the week of the Alabama game and also the week of the Auburn game. I don't know, we'll just have to wait and find out."

Each team will be searching for their 10th win of the season, which Spurrier believes is bigger for his program than the Florida State program.

"It's probably more meaningful for us because we've only had one 10-win season in the history of our school," Spurrier said. "Florida State has had a bunch of them. In fact, when we were talking with Coach Bowden, they won at least 10 in 14 years there when they were fourth in the nation or better. It would be neat for us to do that. But we're still going to go recruiting and do everything in the off-season hopefully pretty much the same no matter the outcome. But it would be neat for us, I'm sure it would be neat for them too."

Not only would a victory give the Gamecocks a 10-win season, it would give the Gamecocks some rare momentum heading into the off season. The Gamecocks had not finished the season with a win since a 44-36 win over Houston in the 2006 Liberty Bowl.

After starting with a 6-1 record in 2007 and a top 10 ranking in the BCS, the Gamecocks lost at home to Vanderbilt, 17-6. That started a five game losing streak to finish the season that left the Gamecocks at 6-6 and sitting home for bowl season.

In 2008, the Gamecocks got off to a 7-3 start, but were thumped by Florida, beaten down by Clemson under then-interim coach Dabo Swinney, and finished with a 31-10 loss to Iowa in the Outback Bowl to finish at 7-6.

Last season, the Gamecocks ended a 3-game losing streak by dominating Clemson, 34-17, in the season finale to finish at 7-5 and gain some momentum heading into the PapaJohn' Bowl in Birmingham. With temperatures hoovering in the upper 20's inside Legion Field the Gamecocks just didn't bother to show up against Connecticut, losing 20-7 to leave a bitter taste in the mouth of Spurrier and the Gamecock players.

"Yeah, our bowl record hasn't been all that good in the last five or six years," Spurrier said. "Well, at least since I've been there anyway. We're 1 and 3 for some reason. This game will stand on its own merit. The team that plays well, plays with very few errors and so forth, and makes some big plays will most likely be the winner. That's all we're trying to do – concentrate on playing our best and see what happens."

It's been nearly four weeks since either team stepped on the field in their respective conference championship games. The Gamecocks will be trying to get rid of the bitter tastes in their mouths from their first appearance in the Georgia Dome while the Seminoles will be trying to shake off a 44-33 loss to Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game. Which team displays the least amount of rust may end up being the team that wins the game.

"I just think, looking back, when you have a month off, sometimes one team for some reason gets a little bit better and the other team doesn't. I know they used to have the Super Bowl two weeks apart. Then they decided let's just have it a week apart because something happens in two weeks. For whatever reason, when you have about a month off, teams can change a little bit."

For the seniors on the team, leaving with a win over FSU will be the perfect way to go out on what has already been a historic season.

"They've done a good job," Spurrier said of the seniors. "There are some really good, quality, class young men. They're going to have a spot (in my heart). We've done some things for the first time there as far as winning the Eastern Division and so forth. They'll have a place in the history books there at South Carolina anyway. We don't have many championships, as we all know. The Eastern Division is one all those guys can keep forever."

For now, the talk is over. Let the real game begin.


- Christian Ponder will play tomorrow according to Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher. Fisher says he has a plan in mind for how he will use his quarterbacks, but will sit down with them after today's walk through to discuss. Both will play.

- Spurrier said that the team is not beaten down despite going 'good on good' for most of bowl preparations. Other than Garrett Chisolm's injury that will most likely keep him out of the final game in his story book career, the Gamecocks are as healthy as can be expected.

- Spurrier said Garcia has practiced and prepared well for this bowl and expects a better performance than in the previous two bowls.

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