Vol Villains Quarterfinals: Steve Spurrier vs. Urban Meyer

Round One:  Spurrier def. Miles 95-5%; Meyer def. Saban 50.3-49.7% (total votes:  223-220)

There's no love lost between Tennessee and Florida, and these two have done an exceptional job tilting the rivalry Gainesville's way:  at Florida, Spurrier went 8-4 against the Vols with a five game winning streak; Meyer was undefeated at 6-0.  While the Vols obviously had more success against Spurrier overall, the Florida win streak from 1993-97 felt much, much worse than Meyer's active streak.  Tennessee has had plenty of problems on its own in the last six years; in the mid-90s our only problem was Florida.

Spurrier never really beat a bad Tennessee team, though with Todd Helton at quarterback the Vols weren't very functional in the 31-0 loss in 1994.  Meyer's Gators took down the 5-7 Vols in 2008 30-6, then allowed us a pair of moral victories the last two years with wins of only ten and fourteen points.  But Meyer also got in a better single game shot against the Vols than Spurrier ever did with the 59-20 win in 2007; though those Vols weren't as good as most of the teams Spurrier faced, they did go on to win the East.

But the second half of '95 and the first half of '96 are the worst part of this entire rivalry, a 76-14 burst against two of the Vols' most talented teams ever.  I would argue that Spurrier's five game win streak from 93-97 is in the conversation with Alabama's nine game streak from 86-94 (with a tie in 93) for the worst losing streak Tennessee has ever faced.  Bama had a longer streak that was broken in 1982, and Meyer's stands at six, but both Spurrier's Gators and late 80s/early 90s Alabama beat multiple UT teams that could've won the National Championship had the outcome gone the other way.

Still, at least the Vols got Spurrier:  Tennessee's wins in 1990, 1992, 1998, and 2001 were all truly special.  The Vols have to sit with a goose egg against Meyer, at least until he resurfaces in the (near?) future.

They are both tremendous villains:  Spurrier was the best knife-twister in the game and his teams were absolutely without mercy.  Meyer looks like he's never had an ounce of fun in his entire life (though Tebow helped balance that equation) and still found a way to whine even when his team won every time.  The games always meant more against Spurrier, but I'm not sure which personality (which is only an ironic term in Meyer's case) I liked losing to less.

The flames of the Spurrier rivalry have cooled in Columbia, though the Vols and Gamecocks have split the last six meetings under his watch after Tennessee won twelve in a row before his arrival.  Thus, when you just look at the records, Meyer has a distinct advantage.  Spurrier beat our best.  Meyer beat everything.  We didn't like either.  Who will advance to the Final Four?

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