Will Muschamp’s team just suffered the most injury-plagued season in recent SEC history. His team’s offense was less than stellar for the third straight season. He’s had to bring in offensive coordinator Kurt Roper to try and install and win with a brand new offensive system. A number of key players have decided to transfer or head to the NFL early. Last year’s squad finished 4-8 with seven consecutive losses to close the season. Those losses included rivalry games with Georgia and Florida State (who just won the national title) and a contest with FCS foe Georgia Southern.
In short, it was the worst season of Florida football since the 1970s. So how is Will Muschamp approaching what appears to be a must-win season in 2014?
“Every game on our schedule next year is winnable. That’s not a far stretch at all… We’re not that far off.”
So said the Gator coach to Matt Hayes of SportingNews.com. Either he’s danged sure his team really is ready to rebound, he’s an eternal optimist, or he’s been huffing paint.
We can assume that Muschamp knows he’ll be a goner if the Gators don’t win next year anyway, so why worry about setting high expectations? Still, that’s a mouthful of a statement for a coach who suffered through a 4-8 nightmare.
Here’s how the Florida schedule sets up in 2014:
Home vs Idaho (winnable)
Home vs Eastern Michigan (winnable)
Home vs Kentucky (winnable)
at Alabama (The Tide will be rebuilding in some areas, but come on)
at Tennessee (winnable)
Home vs LSU (The Tigers will have rebuild their offense from almost scratch, so winnable)
Home vs Missouri (we’ve seen ‘em up and we’ve seen ‘em down, so winnable)
in Jacksonville vs Georgia (alway tough, but winnable)
at Vanderbilt (winnable)
Home vs South Carolina (The Gamecocks lose stars on both sides of the ball, so winnable)
Home vs Eastern Kentucky (winnable)
at Florida State (FSU romped the Gators last year, so no)
Technically, every game is winnable before it’s played. For example, Georgia Southern could have looked at Florida last preseason and said, “winnable.” But there’s a different between a game being winnable and a game being won. We don’t think Florida will (or even can) beat Alabama or Florida State on the road next year. Not with an all-new everything on offense.
We also don’t think think the Gators will win all of those toss-up games (LSU, Missouri, Georgia and South Carolina).
Muschamp has seen how quickly fortunes can change in the SEC. His team went from 11-2 in 2012 to 4-8 in 2013. Could his 2014 squad finish the regular season at 9-3 or 10-2? Sure. How big a turnaround it will take to save the coach’s job is another question. Winning over the Florida fanbase is another matter entirely.
Kudos to the head Gator for not showing any fear to his players. But “every game is winnable?” Sorry. Not buying that one.