Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

Beating 'The Old Ball Coach' At All Cost

New Year’s Day seems like a great day for Wisconsin to stick it to ‘The Old Ball Coach’.

As much as I, myself, get sick of having the famous Steve Spurrier designation run through my ears, it’s sort of an ellaborate billing that helps build significance around College football.

Spurrier developed the nickname when he was at Florida. They say it started as a political battle between the then college president. Instead of mouthing off the old, “aw-shucks-sweet-potato-pie” speel which became Bobby Bowden’s forte, Spurrier would  just say “well, I’m just the ol’ ball coach”.

Sort of his little way of belittling the person he’s talking by persuading the opionion, “I’m just the coach, what the heck do I know?”

Arrogance has always been the one thing tied hand-in-hand with Spurrier.

He lives with it. He expunges it on his players. He bleeds it through the flair of his nostrils and waves of his locks coming out the back of his visor.

Excuse me while I throw up.

Wisconsin’s never been about labels. Or listening to what’s going on around them.

They’ve never rested on the opinions of someone else, or been identified by what College Football tells them they are.

Wisconsin is about it’s own personality. It’s about hard work, dedication, doing it for the right reasons and not turning up your nose when something doesn’t go your way.

This New Year’s Day, the Capital One Bowl will consist of a battle of opinions and personalities. The game takes on an identity of just that. Forget the fact it’s two teams from separate conferences set to play one another in front of millions of people, this is as much of a border battle as UW vs. Minnesota. Or Wisconsin against Nebraska.

This game has already taken on an attitude all it’s own. And if Wisconsin’s Gary Andersen never sees a headline for the next two weeks, he’ll gladly take it.

Because while Jadeveon Clowney and his now, gone viral speeding ticket video, continue to pump the pre-game chatter, oh, and the replay of a hit from what seems like ages ago, UW is mildly going about their preparation the way they’ve always done. Without notice.

There aren’t as many pressing storylines north of the Mason Dixon line. Especially when talking College Football with ESPN, ABC, CBS or anyone else.

And that’s OK – at least with this Badgers fan.


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Tags: Capital One Bowl New Years Day South Carolina Football Steve Spurrier Wisconsin Badgers Football

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