HOOVER, Ala. -- While most players and coaches seem to go out of their way to let everyone know they don't pay attention to the media, South Carolina's Steve Spurrier keeps it honest.
Spurrier acknowledged Tuesday that he reads the preseason magazines and follows the recruiting services.
That doesn't mean Spurrier won't take his occasional shots at the media, but he often references what is being said or written during what he calls the "talking season."
"We got a pretty good team, we think," Spurrier said during his time at SEC media days. "Most of the magazines got us about nine, 10, 11 in the country, something like that. Hopefully we can live up to that prediction."
South Carolina has finished each of the past three seasons with 11 wins and ranked in the top 10, including a No. 4 ranking in both the AP and USA Today polls.
After making the SEC championship game in 2010, the Gamecocks have been on the outside looking in despite beating the East's representative head-to-head in each of those three seasons.
"We need one of those Eastern Division teams to lose a game," Spurrier said. "We've gone 62 in the conference and beat the division winner three years in a row. Then they go 71. All you can do is give Georgia credit and give Missouri credit for doing it also. Hopefully we can add an SEC championship.
"I can assure you, I tell those recruits, 'If you come here, hopefully you'll be on the firstever SEC championship team ever.' That's still our goal. We haven't quite done it. I think we've been close but not close enough."
Even though the Gamecocks have come up short, Spurrier said there's a trophy Gamecock fans want even more.
"What I've also learned at South Carolina, our fans realize there's more to life than winning the SEC championship," he said. "They really do. We're in a state with Clemson. Clemson used to pretty much own South Carolina in football, no question about it. We have a state championship trophy. If you ask our fans at South Carolina, I can assure you a majority would say, 'We would rather beat Clemson than win the SEC.' That is how big it is to them, that one game.
Personally I'd rather win the SEC. I don't mind saying that. Personally that's the bigger trophy."
-- Contact Anniston Star Sports Writer Marq Burnett firstname.lastname@example.org.