Will Muschamp: Rivalry Fodder?

Saying South Carolina Head Coach Will Muschamp has a bit of history when it comes to Texas A&M is an understatement.  In fact, it’s the kind of history that adds an armful of kindling to the fire of a SEC-contrived “rivalry” matchup between Texas A&M and South Carolina.

When SEC brass fully implemented the structure of the newly realigned SEC in 2014, they pitted A&M against South Carolina as their yearly cross-division rival.  Before then, A&M and South Carolina hadn’t had much history to speak of, but when South Carolina hired Will Muschamp as head coach in 2015 to replace Steve Spurrier, some history was created and a few grumbles and groans went-up from the Aggie faithful.

Aggies will recall being introduced to a gruff and somewhat wild defensive coordinator named Will Muschamp at the University of Texas in 2008.  Muschamp’s sour grapes attitude towards the Aggies no doubt began in 2010 when his Longhorns lost to A&M.  In that game, they surrendered 223 rushing yards to the Aggies, and failed to reach bowl eligibility with a 5-7 mark on the season.  In an attempt to abandon the Longhorn’s sinking ship, Muschamp elected to shed his “Head Coach In-Waiting” title at Texas to assume the “Head Coach Right Now” title at Florida in 2011.

To add fodder to the fire, Texas A&M joined the SEC in 2012 and his Florida Gators had to make a trip to face the Aggies in their inaugural season.  Upon hearing of this matchup, Muschamp uttered a quote that will always be remembered by Aggies when they think of Will Muschamp: “You ever been to College Station?” he said, “It’ll be the only time you go.”  Luckily for Muschamp, he backed up his snide remark by narrowly defeating the Aggies in their first game of the season.

Muschamp was also successful in his last trip to College Station as Auburn’s defensive coordinator in 2015, when his then Tigers defeated the Aggies, so he’ll likely not be intimidated by 100,000+ Aggies in the stands at Kyle Field.  Still, now that Muschamp has resurfaced as the head coach of South Carolina, he’s ironically tasked with visiting his least favorite college football destination not just once, but every other year.

So why the angst, Will? Maybe you had a bad experience in College Station at some point that has clouded your perception.  Did somebody skimp on your pepperoni rolls at Gumby’s?  Did you find a hair in your chugger of Natty Light at the Chicken?

Either way, one has to wonder at this point if Aggies are now wearing Muschamp’s comments from 2012 as a badge of honor.  Aggies take great pride in the fact that a trip to Kyle Field is one of the premiere experiences in College Football.  When Muschamp and his Gamecocks come to College Station on Saturday September 30th, Aggies will remember his words, and likely remind him of them, given the chance they catch a glimpse of him losing his cool on the sidelines as he’s prone to do.  And kudos to South Carolina for hiring a coach that adds a little extra spice to a so-called-rivalry-game, that otherwise would be lacking the substance that good rivalries are made of.