Why yes, he did.
In the video below, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney is asked about comments South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier reportedly made after the Gamecocks beat the Tigers for the third straight time. While I’ve yet to find the source of the quote, internet message board and Twitter chatter has the Ol’ Ball Coach saying, “We ain't LSU or Alabama but we ain't Clemson either.”
“I think he is exactly right - they are not Clemson and never will be. You are looking at the best era in the history of South Carolina football right now. They just had their second 10-win season. They won a championship in 1969 and the 2010 SEC East. And this rivalry—there is a lot of rivalries out there—this is more of a domination and that’s a fact. My kids’ grandkids won’t live long enough to see this really become a rivalry.”
“I have respect for their program, but South Carolina is not Clemson. There are a lot of differences. This is a place that has won a national title, 17 conference championships and two division titles. Heck, we have won more bowl games than they have even been to. I think our program has 100 plus more wins than South Carolina. That is reality. This is the best era in 115 years of South Carolina football is right now and they have done a great job.
“Coach Spurrier has been there for seven years, but after five years I think he had 35 wins and got a new contract and all that kind of stuff. After five years at Clemson, if I have only got 35 wins there is going to be a new coach here and you know what there should be because there is a different standard. He is exactly right – they ain’t Alabama, they ain’t LSU and they certainly are not Clemson. That is why Carolina is in Chapel Hill, USC is in California and the university in this state always has been and always will be Clemson. It’s right here in Clemson, SC. You can print that. Tweet that.”
Some have said that Swinney shouldn’t have responded at all, especially given the fact that Spurrier is only alleged to have provided the quote that’s gone viral. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet, right?
UPDATE: Kegs n Eggs has the audio snippet of where the quote came from. Mash here for Adam’s post. As it turns out, Radio Man Todd Ellis uttered the fateful phrase, but prefaced it with “As Coach Spurrier said…”
Whether Spurrier actually said what’s attributed to him is now irrelevant. This little tit-for-tat will become bulletin board material for next season, and Swinney is now 1-3 against Spurrier in the rivalry. Now, Swinney has to win or the Gamecock fans might start a “fear the thumb” campaign a year from now.