I feel like the way the 2021 season has progressed so far has been a double bonus for long suffering Georgia fans like myself. Not only are the Dawgs playing stellar football, but Florida’s giving us a delicious case of regression (to the mean, one hopes). Even better, Andy Staples ($$) sums up the place Dan Mullen’s led the program and it’s perfect.
Mullen already has lost the bulk of Florida’s fan base. The rank-and-file doesn’t believe he’ll ever be able to win national titles with the Gators, and that group believes the job description requires at least competing for national titles…
Mullen has not lost Florida’s administration, though. Athletic director Scott Stricklin worked with Mullen in the same position at Mississippi State, and Stricklin always has taken a more realistic view of the program’s expectations at both of his stops as an AD. Stricklin knows SEC and national titles are obscenely difficult to win, especially with Nick Saban at Alabama. Stricklin can point to a team that has outgained every opponent despite losing three of its seven games. Stricklin has had to deal with fewer issues than he did when Jim McElwain was the coach, and Florida’s power base wants to see how Mullen does when the Gators’ football operations building is finished next year and Mullen is working with most of the same tools his SEC peers enjoy. Despite what the people on those barstools and in those barber chairs want, Mullen is safe barring an unexpected late-season meltdown.
How can you not love that, Georgia fans? If the football gods are really smiling on us, the Gators will lose in Jacksonville this weekend, win out the rest of the regular season, plus a mediocre bowl game, so Mullen can spend the rest of the offseason crowing about how his team improved upon their 2020 win total, all the while backed up by his boss. (He’ll probably have to replace Grantham, unfortunately, but there’s only so much good luck we’re entitled to.) Meanwhile, Florida’s lost its top two commits and has dropped to ninth in the conference in 2022 recruiting. The fan base will be thrilled.
If Anthony Richardson can fix all that, he’s got my vote for the Heisman already.