Excuse the double negative, but it’s not easy not to be good at Florida.
Somehow that is what has happened in three of Will Muschamp’s four seasons as the head coach of the Gators. Florida did not have a losing record in the SEC one time from 1987 through 2010. Muschamp has managed to accomplish this difficult feat in two of his three full seasons as the boss, with a 3–5 mark in both 2011 and 2013. And through five league games in ’14, the Gators are 2–3, with the wins coming over Kentucky in triple-overtime and Tennessee by one point.
And even when Florida was “good” under Muschamp — the Gators went 11–2 overall and 7–1 in the SEC in 2012 — it was far from a satisfying season for the locals. That year, Florida ranked 12th in the SEC in total offense (334.0 ppg), lost to rival Georgia for the second straight season (for the first time since the late ‘80s) and was dominated as a heavy favorite in a Sugar Bowl loss to Louisville — a team coached by former Gator defensive coordinator Charlie Strong. Give that Florida team credit for winning close games, but there was a bit of smoke and mirrors with the ’12 Gators.
Florida fans can debate which season has been the worst. Was it last fall, when the Gators lost seven straight to end the season, including losses at home to Vanderbilt by 17 points and FCS foe Georgia Southern? Or has it been this year, when the offense has continued to be “abysmal” — that’s Muschamp’s word — despite another change at offensive coordinator? What was worse: Giving up 600-plus yards in a 42–21 loss at Alabama in September, or Saturday’s debacle in which Florida lost to Missouri at home, 42–13, despite giving up only 119 yards?
One thing isn’t up for debate: This is the most underachieving program in college football. Most fan bases believe their school should contend for national titles on a consistent basis. Most fan bases are wrong. The folks in Gainesville, however, are not.
There is no excuse for Florida football to be irrelevant on the national scene.