Going into the 2014 College Football season, Florida Gator pigskin coach Will Muschamp’s seat is hotter than a Dallas tin roof on an August afternoon. Most UF fans and alums acknowledge that Coach Muschump may be in way over his head, and this season could be his last in Gainesville. After a horrific 4-8 campaign in 2013 that saw a lack of discipline, focus, and injuries to the starting and 2nd-string QBs (just to name two of the more prominent ones in a season full of season-ending injuries), Will will be on a short leash this season.
With all of that baggage going in to this season, I thought it might be fun to gauge just exactly when Will Muschamp will be fired during the 2014 campaign. Feel free to weigh in on this topic in the FB comments.
A.) Week 1 (Aug. 30): at home vs. the Idaho Vandals – Good Lord, if Florida loses this game, I don’t think Muschamp will get out of the stadium alive. Ditto for the next week’s game against the Eastern Michigan Eagles. But, it could happen…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYdd35cb6H8
B.) Week 3 (Sept. 13): at home vs. the Kentucky Wildcats – Perennial SEC football doormat makes its biannual trip to The Swamp. Kentucky hasn’t beaten Florida on the gridiron since Reagan was president. UF also had a million-year or so winning streak against Vanderbilt going into last year…not that it mattered after Vandy embarrassed UF in the Swamp. If UF were to lose this game, heads would roll…but I think it’s more likely that UF would lose one of the first two games than this one.
C.) Week 4 (Sept. 20): at Bryant-Denny Stadium vs. Alabama – Honestly, even with a 50-point loss in this game, Will Muschamp wouldn’t get fired because expectations aren’t that high for this matchup. This might be the safest game on the schedule for Coach Muschamp’s “Keep My Job” campaign: if Florida can hang close, Muschamp can point at that as a positive sign…even if he’s helped by his old boss, Coach Saban. And if Florida were able to pull this one off…well, let’s not get carried away.
D.) Week 6 (Oct. 4): at Neyland Stadium vs. Tennessee – Tennessee hasn’t beaten Florida in Knoxville or Gainesville since Ron Zook was head coach. That’s 9 wins in a row over Tennessee. It’s really not even a rivalry anymore. Still, despite the recent dominance, this is a game that Muschamp cannot afford to lose, figuring that the team will be 3-1 at this point, with another game looming next week against LSU. Lose this one to go 3-2 before the tilt with the Tigers, and things will be grim indeed for Muschamp.
E.) Week 7 (Oct. 11): at home vs. the LSU Tigers – UF & LSU have had a very interesting series of games going back to the Zook years. Most have been very close affairs, won with smothering defense. The offenses have been so bad that it’s been like watching two mules fight over a turnip. Because of LSU’s reputation and penchant for playing very physical football, this game will be close. An LSU win wouldn’t seal Muschamp’s fate YET…but the clock would definitely start ticking.
F.) Week 8 (Oct. 18): at home vs. the Missouri Tigers – Based on the complete butt-whuppin’ that Mizzou put on UF last year in the SEC’s OTHER Columbia, and the fact that if UF loses this game, they would be sitting at 5-2 at best, but most likely 4-3, I really feel like this is a must-win for Coach Muschamp. This season’s version of Mizzou football will not be last year’s version, which was completely magical. I think Mizzou comes back down to earth this season, but they’ll still put up a fight in the Swamp. A 5-2 record with a win before the big UGA game will look and feel a lot better than 4-3 after a loss…especially with a bye week in between games.
G.) Week 10 (Nov. 1): in Jacksonville vs. the Georgia Bulldogs – Will Muschamp played safety for UGA in the early ’90s. There’s a lot of YouTube video showing him chasing Reidel Anthony and Ike Hilliard during the Spurrier years. Will couldn’t beat Florida when he played for UGA, and he sure as hell hasn’t figured out a way to beat UGA since he became UF’s head coach in 2011. He is 0-3, and has three agonizingly close losses to his alma mater. This is the game that he simply has to find a way to win. Before Muschamp took over as UF’s head ball coach, Florida was 18-3 against UGA from 1990 to 2010. Now we’ve lost 3 in a row. My kids always figured that beating Georgia was as sure a thing as Santa dropping off goodies on Dec. 24th…now their hope is gone. C’mon, Will, win this one for the kids! If Florida loses this one, especially to drop to 5-3 or (God forbid) 4-4, Will is gone.
H.) Week 11 (Nov. 8): in Nashville against the Vanderbilt Commodores – Will Muschamp could beat UGA by 30 the week before, but if Florida loses to Vandy two years in a row, he will not see the next game as head coach. Chances are that he will not be the head coach anymore going into this one, anyway. Still, miracles can happen, and if Florida can win this one after beating UGA to go 7-2, things will be looking pretty good for ol’ Coach Muschamp.
I.) Week 12 (Nov. 15): at home against the South Carolina Gamecocks – Florida’s favorite Gator, who just now happens to coach SC, would love to whoop his alma mater in order to force a firing if it hasn’t happened at this point. Spurrier’s ‘Cocks are 3-1 against Florida since 2010…but really, if Florida AD hasn’t pulled the trigger on Muschamp by this point, he won’t after this game…unless Florida gets beat by 40+. At home.
J.) Week 13 (Nov. 22): at home vs. Eastern Kentucky Colonels – Who? There may be so few fans at this game that even if UF did lose, no one would know.
K.) Week 14 (Nov. 29): in Tallahassee vs. Florida State – If Muschamp has survived to this point, I doubt that a loss, even by 30+, would end his job. The decision about 2015 will be made before this game. If UF shows some signs of life prior to this game, and can somehow: 1.) go at least 8-4, and; 2.) get a win against UGA (a must), LSU, and/or South Carolina, Muschamp will be back for a fifth season. A loss against UGA (combined with a loss against Kentucky, Tennessee, or Vandy) will end his job at Florida. By then, Texas may be looking for a good defensive coordinator.
I believe that going into the UGA game, UF will be 5-2. If UF wins, the Gators will ride that momentum into a positive end of the season and a January bowl game. If UGA wins, Coach Muschamp will be done and, even if it won’t be made public at that time, will be advised that he will not get a fifth season in Gainesville. If UGA wins by 20+, he may be released from his contract the next day.