AUBURN – Gus Malzahn may believe in South Carolina far more than Steve Spurrier does.The Gamecocks (4-3, 2-3 SEC) haven’t shown anything in the last month to suggest they can beat fifth-ranked Auburn (5-1, 2-1), but Malzahn believes the ol’ ball coach will have his team ready Saturday.“He’s a great competitor,” Malzahn said. “He’s one of the better coaches to ever come through the SEC. You know he’ll have his team ready. I told our players this the other day, like I said, they were ranked in the top 10 to start the season for a reason. They’ve won 11 games, what, two or three years straight. They’ve got good players. We expect to get their best.”[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2s8kJQqFsnc&w=560&h=315%5DMalzahn has the utmost respect and admiration for Spurrier. He wears a visor because of him. Fell in love with his style of play going back to Spurrier’s ‘Fun ‘n Gun” offense at Florida. Wishes he had a golf game like Spurrier, too.“He’s better than I am,” Malzahn said to the amusement of reporters Tuesday. “I don’t like that.”Spurrier is probably wishing they were playing 18 holes Saturday instead of four quarters at Jordan-Hare Stadium. South Carolina is a 17.5-point underdog.“Weve got to play our A-game, bring our A-game and see if we can get break or two,” Spurrier said during his Tuesday press conference in Columbia. “And see what happens at Auburn on Saturday night.”Auburn has been simmering for two weeks after losing at now No. 1 Mississippi State. The Tigers can’t afford another loss if they want to play for a conference and national title. So Spurrier can be certain the Gamecocks are going to get Auburn’s best.Malzahn admires Spurrier, but he’s studied him, too. With two weeks to prepare, he’s going to have the Tigers ready for this one. South Carolina is 89th nationally in run defense (181.7 yards allowed per game), which doesn’t bode well against Auburn’s read-option running game. The Tigers are averaging 262 yards to rank 13th in country in rushing.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBoMvyMq0S4&w=560&h=315%5DPlus Spurrier is 0-5 against Auburn as a head coach at South Carolina. The Gamecocks are 1-9-1 all-time versus the Tigers. I love Spurrier’s wit, charm and coaching ability, but this is a tall order for him to overcome.This is when he has been at his best, but South Carolina doesn’t looked like a team capable of rising to the moment to beat a formidable team even with Spurrier on the sidelines.“You got to believe you’ve got a chance if your team plays very well,” Spurrier said. “So we’re going with the idea that we’re going to get in a battle with them. We know we’ve got to play well offensively, defensively and on special teams. Hopefully they’ll drop the ball a little bit. Something good like that will happen for us.”The reason South Carolina was ranked ninth in the preseason AP poll is because it won 11 games in each of the last three seasons. Even though the Gamecocks hadn’t won an SEC title, it seemed primed to achieve that goal this year.Somehow it got lost the Gamecocks lost their most talented player — defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Say what you want about his desire or playing cautious to stay healthy for the NFL, but Clowney going at 80 percent was better than anyone else on the team going 100. So that was a much bigger loss than anyone cared to admit.On top of that, the Gamecocks lost starting quarterback Connor Shaw and 2013 leading receiver Bruce Ellington. Plus they had more holes to fill on defense outside of having to replace the eventual top overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft.So when Texas A&M came to Columbia where South Carolina had won 18 games in a row, 19 looked to be money in the bank. Johnny Manziel was now in the NFL. This Kenny Hill guy couldn’t beat the Gamecocks in their home stadium, right?Then Hill just beat South Carolina like a drum. He threw for a school-record 511 yards and three touchdowns in leading Aggies to what was then considered an upset victory The win has decreased in value because of how the Gamecocks done since.Now beating No. 6 Georgia was big. Even though the Bulldogs will forever second guess not giving Todd Gurley the ball in the red zone late in the game, that was a typically Spurrier win. So at that time, I thought the Gamecocks were about to get it going.Then I watched the Vanderbilt game.South Carolina was down 14-0 in the first quarter and gave up two kickoffs for touchdowns to the SEC’s worst team. The Gamecocks wound up winning, 48-34, but it just wasn’t a good showing – and things haven’t gotten any better.South Carolina has lost its last two conference games with one coming against traditional SEC bottom dweller Kentucky. The Wildcats are much improved, but South Carolina hadn’t lost more than two games in each of its previous three seasons.The Gamecocks dropped to 3-3 after that defeat. They beat FCS school Furman last week, but that’s not a season-turning win.Beating Auburn would be. I honestly thought by this time in the season, South Carolina would be on a roll. The Gamecocks are from that, but if there is one coach who can pull off the upset when no one thinks he can, it’s the ol ball coach.“We’re going to give it our best shot and see what happens,” Spurrier said.So Malzahn has reason to be concerned.