N.C. State hasn't seen Steve Spurrier on the opposite sideline in 16 years. Back then, the quasi-Evil Genius was just the Middle-aged Ball Coach, still drawing up ball plays for Florida.
The Gators outclassed the Wolfpack 27-10 in the Gator Bowl at the end of the 1992 season. The game was notable for two reasons:
1) It was played in a dense fog, which made the game basically unwatchable.
2) It was Dick Sheridan's final game at N.C. State.
Sheridan and Spurrier staged some of the best games in the ACC in late 1980s, with Sheridan at State and Spurrier at Duke.
Fittingly, the two old friends went 1-1-1 against each other from 1987 to '89.
Sheridan's State team won the first meeting, 47-45 in '87 at Duke. The '87 game in Raleigh ended 43-43, back before overtime, and Spurrier got the last laugh with a 35-26 win in Durham.
To put those State-Duke games in perspective, State has had played exactly one ACC game, where both teams scored in the 40s in regulation, since then.
Spurrier left Duke for his alma mater after the '89 season and the rest — the SEC domination at Florida, the failed trip to the NFL with the Washington Redskins, the return to the SEC at South Carolina — is visor-tossing history.
The self-proclaimed Ol' Ball Coach, or Head Ball Coach for the purposes of his web site or Under Armour, brings a different offensive mentality with South Carolina to the State game on Thursday.
The days of the 47-45 shootout are tucked away in Spurrier's closet with his Redskins windbreaker. Statistically, South Carolina was a better on defense, 39th in scoring defense nationally, than offense, 70th, in 2007.
Four years into his third college gig, the OBC has failed to reinvent the Fun 'n' Gun at South Carolina, as Ron Morris of The State points out today.
Actually, the Spurrier State sees on Thursday might look a lot like the Spurrier it saw (or couldn't see) in '92.
Errict Rhett rushed 30 times for a Gator Bowl record 182 yards in Florida's win over the Wolfpack.