HOOVER, Ala. -- In his 17th SEC media days appearance, Steve Spurrier proved he can still steal the show.
Unlike previous years, however, this performance came with great regret.
South Carolina's coach apologized Friday for not having Florida's Tim Tebow as his first-team quarterback selection to the preseason All-SEC team, which was announced last week by the league office. Spurrier admitted that his director of operations, Jamie Speronis, filled out the ballot and selected Jevan Snead of Ole Miss.
"I take full responsibility," Spurrier said. "I messed that up. I apologized to Tim Tebow. We screwed this up pretty badly."
Determining which coach prevented Tebow, who has two BCS title rings and a Heisman Trophy, from becoming a unanimous pick was a hot topic all week. Every coach was asked where he voted Tebow, and some, such as Alabama's Nick Saban and Auburn's Gene Chizik, bristled at having their votes questioned.
Spurrier has a quirky voting history, often placing Duke 25th in his preseason USA Today poll, but said there was nothing funny about this gaffe. He admitted that he hasn't filled out the preseason team in any of the 17 years and that he will look over future ballots more closely.
The league has allowed Spurrier to switch his ballot, so Tebow is now unanimous.
"I'm embarrassed about what happened. I really am," he said. "It's given me an opportunity to voice my opinion of Tim and Danny Wuerffel, who are two of the best-character young men and most sincere Christian young men I've ever known."
Though he apologized extensively in his opening comments, Spurrier had to answer six more questions related to the incident. One writer asked if Spurrier, who coached Florida to the 1996 national title, was bothered by the Gators winning two national titles under Urban Meyer.
"If we don't win the SEC, I hope Florida wins it," Spurrier said. "Urban has been the best coach in the country the last three years, simple as that, and I admire everything that they do."
South Carolina has averaged seven wins through Spurrier's four seasons, but the Gamecocks ended 2007 with five straight losses and ended last season with three straight setbacks. Five starters return offensively and six on defense.
The Gamecocks were picked Friday to finish third in the SEC East, snapping a streak of seven straight years in which they were fourth.
"Expectations haven't dimmed down, and neither has the talent," senior linebacker Eric Norwood said. "The talent is up there with every other team in the SEC, and we're really looking forward to winning and winning big."