Talking yesterday to a “Bull Gator,” one of their big money alumni group, there was a great deal of Seminole envy. FSU is No. 2 in the all important BCS Poll and No. 3 in both the USA Today and AP polls.
Hey, what is not too like? The Seminoles have a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate in red shirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston and one of the most balanced football teams on both sides of the ball in all of college football.
What I am starting to see with both the national media as well around the state of Florida is a big time case of what we will call: “Did the Gators make the wrong choice in hiring Will Muschamp as their head coach.”
Analysts from Bristol to Miami have started comparing him to fomer Gator coach Ron Zook when they look at his record thus far at the University of Florida.
His long time pal FSU coach Jimbo Fisher has brought the Seminoles all the way back to the BCS National Championship picture. Meanwhile, the Gators under Muschamp are an offensive mess and aren’t competitive in the SEC East. But Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley told the Gainesville Sun, “ Coach Muschamp’s not going anywhere, and I’m not going anywhere.” For the record Muschamp is in the middle of a contract that runs through 2017 and he is being paid $2.9 million dollars a year, that is seventh best in the SEC.
Muschamp is 22-11 at UF, including 13-8 in SEC play. The Gators are 4-3, 3-2 entering an open week. Here is where the media and the alumni are upset – Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, Muschamp’s predecessor, was 27-6 (15-6 SEC), through his first 33 games at Florida.
Meanwhile the “Old Ball Coach,”Steve Spurrier also was 27-6, but 19-3 in SEC play. Both Meyer and Spurrier won National Championships and had the Gators locked in the Top Ten in the polls on a regular basis.
Some might say that it is way too early too early think about the Gators changing coaches but as long as both FSU and the University of Miami are returning to the national spotlight that means less for the University of Florida. Foley was in Gainesville when FSU and Miami owned the state and it took the hiring of Spurrier to put the Gators on the map.
For now we will take Foley at his word that Muschamp is indeed safe as the Gators head coach. But with the return of both FSU and Miami to the national picture the pressure is on the Gators to up their game. Time and especially alumni wait for no man.