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SPURRIER: These Gators better than 2006 team

GAINESVILLE -- Ever wonder if college football coaches watch a game the same way you do?
Well, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier might.

So bored with Florida's rout of Vanderbilt on Saturday night, Spurrier said he actually changed channels to watch some of the Big 12 South match-up between Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. (Funny, that's exactly what I was doing in the Vanderbilt Stadium press box after UF went up 42-0 in the third quarter.) From what he has seen, Spurrier says the 2008 Gators are better than the 2006 version, which won the BCS national championship.

"They're a stronger team, it appears right now, than two years ago," Spurrier said. "Two years ago you felt like you had a chance and a lot of teams had chances. Certainly Florida won the close ones two years ago that led them all the way through to the national championship. Now they are sort of blowing out people pretty regularly."

Florida has outscored its last five opponents by an average of 37.2 points per game. The dominant run can only be compared to Spurrier's 1996 national championship team, which had a similar five-game run through the SEC. In 1996, the Gators were undefeated and ranked No.1 in the nation going into the final regular-season game of the year. The Gators lost to No.2-ranked Florida State 24-21 in Tallahassee but avenged that loss in New Orleans, beating FSU 52-20 in the Sugar Bowl.

In 2006, the Gators beat South Carolina 17-16 in Spurrier's first game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium as coach of the Gamecocks. Spurrier says this season's South Carolina team is better than his 2006 squad. Spurrier's defense is ranked No.1 in the SEC in total defense, allowing an average of 256.5 yards per game.

"It'll probably be two better teams than the two that played two years ago down there," Spurrier said.



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