Spurrier: Vols may be a surprise team this year

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier talks with reporters during the SEC football Media Days in Hoover, Ala., Tuesday, July 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

HOOVER, Ala. (WVLT/AP) -- Thru the years at SEC Media Days, Steve Spurrier has managed to get under the skin of just about every fan base.

Monday, however, during the first day of the annual preseason event, the South Carolina coach had nothing but praise for Tennessee's first year coach.

"Butch is a proven winner. He's won where ever he's been," Spurrier told a packed room of reporters.

"That's why he's Tennessee's coach. I think they may be a surprise team this year. I think they will be better than most everybody thinks."

The Vols host South Carolina October 19.

Spurrier also continued to preach about paying players.

He thinks it's unanimous among his SEC brethren: Football and basketball players should get paid, and Notre Dame should join a conference for football.

Spurrier opened his quip-filled media days address by saying the 28 football and men's basketball coaches were in favor of paying players about $300 a game in football and perhaps a little less in hoops.

He says only President Barack Obama could get him to back down from that push. Spurrier also says the coaches were each willing to pony up the $280,000 or so it would cost.

The head ball coach also says the football coaches all thought Notre Dame "should join the ACC and play football like all the rest of us."

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