A nemesis is defined as “a formidable and usually victorious rival or opponent.” Ninety-nine percent of Georgia fans who read that definition can’t help but think of one person: Steve Spurrier.
His cockiness, razor-sharp wit and penchant for beating UGA makes Spurrier the Bulldogs’ undisputed nemesis.
He’ll pay his old Georgia friends a visit Saturday when No. 6 South Carolina faces No. 11 Georgia, with toe to leather set for 4:30 p.m. between the hedges of Sanford Stadium.
A formidable and usually victorious rival indeed. As Florida’s head coach, Spurrier outright owned Georgia, going 11-1 against the Dogs. He enters Saturday’s contest at South Carolina’s helm riding a three-game win streak over UGA. And, impressively, when Spurrier coached the Washington Redskins in the early 2000s, he never lost a single game to Georgia.
Legend has it that Spurrier’s disdain for Georgia runs deep. In 1966, he quarterbacked Florida to a perfect season and top-5 ranking -- until Georgia trapped the Gators 27-10. Ever since, Spurrier has intentionally inflicted pain on the Bulldogs, with no better example than that 1995 fall Saturday in Athens when Spurrier’s second-stringers scored with less than a minute left to make the final score 52-17.
Afterwards, Spurrier said no one had ever scored 50 points against Georgia in Sanford Stadium, and he thought it would be “neat” to do it. Only a nemesis thinks like that.
Brief aside: all this nemesis talk reminds me that LSU had a player named Nemesis Bates in the late 1990s. Can you imagine his parents’ conversation when deciding his name? “Should we name him Robert? Brandon? How about Nemesis? Perfect!”
Spurrier’s role as Georgia’s nemesis got me reminiscing about the nemeses (plural of nemesis; I looked it up) of that treasure trove of life lessons -- 1980s movies. Specifically, how does Spurrier stack up against the nemeses of the best decade in the history of mankind?
Darth Vader is perhaps film’s most well-known nemesis and, incredibly, has drawn comparions to Steve Spurrier.
Combining what some perceive as his evil, manipulating ways and fondness for visors, Spurrier has been dubbed “Darth Visor.” But the Vader-Spurrier comparison is unfair. Unlike Spurrier, Vader did not attend the University of Florida and it’s common knowledge that Spurrier wields a golf club, not a lightsaber.
In the 1984 classic, “Revenge of the Nerds,” the Alpha Beta fraternity was the nemesis of the nerds at Lambda Lambda Lambda. Alpha Beta’s president, Stan Gable, was arrogant, loved to hear himself talk, and often sported a sweater tied over his shoulders. Very Spurrier-esque.
I always thought Clark Griswold’s nemesis in National Lampoon’s “Vacation” movies was himself. He was desperate for the perfect family vacation but couldn’t get out of his own way and just let it happen. What do Clark Griswold and Steve Spurrier have in common? Not sure; I just couldn’t resist a Clark Griswold reference.
Back to the task at hand, Steve Spurrier visits Athens at a perilous time for a UGA team with lofty aspirations hanging in the balance. Following a tough loss at Clemson, Georgia fans have elevated Saturday afternoon to a season-defining affair. So shaken after the Clemson game was one Georgia fan that he called an Atlanta sports radio station and literally sobbed on the air.
Yes, college football can make grown men cry, and a loss to South Carolina would shatter UGA’s national championship dreams and deal its SEC East title chances a serious blow. All at the hands of its nemesis, Steve Spurrier.
Relax, Dawg fans. While a win over the Gamecocks is close to a must, you started 0-2 in 2011 and reached the SEC Championship. You lost by 28 to South Carolina last year and came within 5 yards of a shot at the national title.
You’re playing in Sanford Stadium and, though the sky won’t be as blue, the beer won’t be as cold, and the Kappas won’t be as cute with your team 0-1, something tells me UGA just might honcho a win this Saturday in Athens.
After all, if Luke Skywalker defeated Darth Vader, the nerds beat the Alpha Betas, and Clark Griswold had a great time at Wally World, the Georgia Bulldogs can beat their nemesis, too.
Ben Prevost is a contributing columnist for The Times. Follow him on Twitter @SECbanter or contact him at SECbanter@hotmail.com.