Daily Football Fix: Are Gator fans spoiled?

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The Georgia Dome before for the SEC Championship Game, in Atlanta on Dec. 3, 2016. (Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun)

You hear it all the time and there is some truth to it — Gator fans are spoiled.

Some of us believe that nobody suffers winning like Gator fans.

But it sure beats the alternative.

Would you rather be happy just making an occasional bowl game?

Would you settle for a coach who couldn’t get you over the hump?

Would you like to have no reason for statues in front of the stadium?

Think about that last one. If Florida had never experienced the last three decades of success, would there even be a statue in front of the stadium? I’m not sure a single one would be erected to honor Florida’s only Heisman Trophy winner.

But along came Steve Spurrier the coach, who changed everything at Florida by winning SEC title after SEC title and the first national title.

As a result, when Ron Zook was hired he was the first to experience the spoiled Gator fans.

In his three seasons as the Florida head coach, he won two-thirds of his conference games and he was run out of town on a rail.

Then Urban Meyer gave Gator fans something to really be spoiled about, winning two national titles in three seasons.

And Will Muschamp came in, took over a mental mess and won 11 games in his second season. By the end of his third season, a majority of the vocal Gator fans wanted him out.

Jim McElwain was next and he won two division titles and at one point was 16-3 in SEC games. But his love/hate relationship with the fan base resulted in a guy who was never truly accepted because he didn’t play the room well.

It’s a tough room.

Gator fans are warm and fuzzy when it comes to Dan Mullen.

He’s never lost a game at UF as head coach.

Miracles are expected and mediocrity shunned, The good thing is that he knows that.

So are Gator fans spoiled?

Dang right.

And you wouldn’t want it any other way.

54 COMMENTS

  1. Yes of course we are spoiled. We expect to compete for SEC championships in every sport, and to win a lot of them as well. Our athletic department has a motto, which means they want to deliver. Now I hope nobody expects an SEC championship in football every year, that would be foolish.

  2. I would say, we were spoiled! That past success raises expectations for sure. When you are paid $4-5 million to coach football, that brings its own expectations. If watching Gator football the past 8 years was being spoiled, Id hate to know what being neglected looks like from this team!! Spoil us again Dan, Go Gators!

  3. When a series of poor seasons brings a team down to about middle of the road SEC–yeah, I suspect we are spoiled. Fine. Now let’s get back to the top where we belong.

  4. Are Alabama fans spoiled? Are Georgia fans spoiled? Do Gator fans want to win more or less than Alabama, Georgia, or even FSU or Tennessee? Are Tennessee fans spoiled or do they have a righteous indignation as to how their football program was destroyed by their own athletic department with absolute horrible coaching hires? Were FSU fans spoiled when they ran Bowden out of the program because they perceived him to be too old? Spoiled fans are in the eyes of the beholder. I expect the Florida Football Program to win no less than 9 games each year, and to contend each and every year for the SEC Championship. Contend, not win.
    Zook, Muschamp, and even McElwain made embarrassing coaching decisions and their records speak for themselves. Urban Meyer proved he could win, but you had to deal with the baggage he left behind. I didn’t hear Gator fans complaining about arrest records while winning championships. They sure complained in 2010 when there wasn’t a championship to be had.
    I expect no less from any Gator fan to demand the best possible team on the field at all times in any sport. I expect the Athletic Department to hire the absolute best Coaches in the nation for our athletic teams. (falling short big time on that one in football!)
    Actions spoke louder than words when in 2012 through 2014, you could make the statement that the best two coaches in the history of Florida Football had quit the program, and were now successful at other schools. Spoiled you say?

  5. I know one person who has bluntly stated he does not think Gator fans are spoiled: Dan Mullen. But, what does he know?

    I actually do think the fans who complain after wins are a bit nuts. A win is a win, and you don’t get points for style. I stopped going to the boards after games because even when we would win games by 20 points I would find a bloodbath of people screaming that we should have WON BY EVEN MORE POINTS!!!!!!

  6. I think McElwain was canned for a lot more than just “not playing the room well”. He also did not do strength and conditioning well. He also did not do WR well. He also did not do OL well. He also did not do TE well. He also did not do RB well. He also did not do boosters well. He also did not do press well. He also did not do recruiting well. He also did not do assistant coach hiring well. He also did not do shoes without socks well. He did not do yellow teeth well. I am not sure exactly what McElwain did do well. Let me think. Oh, he did do one liners well. “And that’s really cool.”

    • Says the spoiled and jaded fan about the coach who won 2 SEC East championships in each of his first two years on the job. You can say all you want about the weak East and the Muschamp players he inherited, but I can’t think of many coaches who accomplished that especially in light of the experts who predicted his teams would finish near the bottom each of those years. On the recruiting trail, granted his first two years were below Gator standards but one could chalk it up to the transition year or two and not having many connections in the South coming from the west when he started. By the time he was canned, he had the momentum from a great summer and a top ten recruiting class on track to finish in the top 5. His 2019 class was also ranked #1 in the country.

      • Mac would have never finished in the top half of the SEC west and everyone knows it. The east could not even be considered a power 5 conference. Vandy, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri. These teams were all pathetic. You could pick 50 teams around the country that could have won the east. Comparing what Mac did in the east is irrelevant.

        • It’s actually not irrelevant. I’m no Mac fan and think he deserved to be fired, but credit needs to be given when due. The fact of the matter is there’s 6 other teams that could’ve won the sorry East and in both ’15 and ’16 the Gators were far from the favorite to win the division and no one in their right mind, Gator fans included, expected them to. Both Tenn and UGA had way more talent and were the odds on favorites to win in every preseason publication. Everyone likes to claim he won with Muschamp’s players, but Muschamp had far more talent on his rosters and couldn’t even come close to winning it. He couldn’t even win it in ’12 when he won 11 games and finished #3 in the BCS. It’s easy to hate on MAC now, but you can’t discredit the fact that he was able to accomplish something no other SEC coach in history has been able to accomplish in their first 2 seasons, Saban included. Yeah the East was down, but there were teams with more talent that should’ve won it and didn’t.

          • Joe. Please explain why no major program hired Jim McElwain after his firing at UF. Not Oregon. Not Arizona State. Not Arizona. Not Oregon State. All programs he expressed interest in being the head coach of when they were looking for one. Then explain why no major program hired Jim McElwain as an offensive coordinator, including Alabama and Nick Saban. Personally, after learning about all the lack of institutional control and conflicts he had while at UF, I am so glad that McElwain is now a WR coach at Michigan, where he “can learn a lot from coach Harbaugh.”

      • Sly, seriously, still a McElwain man? And, yes, I have already admitted to being a very spoiled member of Gator Nation, including being a graduate. But I doubt anyone other than you or trolls could justifiably call me a “jaded” UF fan. Please explain exactly how I am a bored UF fan, or that I lack enthusiasm for UF football. Now, let me LIST the many, many reasons why Jim McElwain is no longer the UF head coach and with boring repetitiveness and with a major lack of enthusiasm:
        1. He alienated the UF boosters and administration with his public criticism of the UF facilities.
        2. He involved himself to deeply in the jobs of the UF AD (Foley and Stricklin) and the UF president and his staff.
        3. He lacked institutional control of his players (workouts off campus and credit card fraud cases).
        4. He lacked institutional control of is assistant coaches with many of them running their assigned duties without oversight and direction from the head coach.
        5. Failure to consistently hire top quality assistant coaches and then get top quality performance on the practice and playing fields.
        6. Nearly complete failure to manage and direct the S&C program and coach Kent, which resulted in a poorly physically developed team and poor to inconsistent performance on the field.
        7. He hired Doug Nussmeier to coordinate the offense and stubbornly refused to replace him when encouraged to do so by the AD, the UF administration, and some powerful boosters.
        8. He operated with a “jaded” attitude towards recruiting and depended mostly on his assistants to recruit and often was not on campus when key recruits were on campus. And he refused to become enthusiastic about recruiting when Stricklin personally challenged him to get more involved in recruiting.
        9. He publicly insulted and infuriated major boosters and most of Gator Nation, excluding you, when he said that “we” were making and directing death threats toward his players, which he could not validate with any kind of proof, ever.
        10. His teams going into two SEC championship games and completely embarrassing himself and the program with completely ineffective efforts vs. Bama, with the UF team having completely quit at the start of the second half of the second game in Atlanta.
        11. I would go on, but I am getting “jaded” with this boring and non defensible topic.
        12. But I am sure my person will continue to encounter vicissitudes as a result of my perspectives on Jim McElwain during his time at the UF head coach. And by the way, I was once a big supporter of his. But, if I had known what was going on behind the scenes, I surely would not have been.

        • Tampa –
          1. I see what you are doing here. You are trying to win an argument by sheer volume. I’ll let you win that battle. I won’t bother to address many of your points because they are unsubstantiated and mostly based on anonymous sources who has an agenda.
          2. You may not be a jaded UF fan, but you certainly sound like you have been jaded by McElwain.
          3. There certainly was friction with Stricklin (not sure about with Foley, the boosters and/or the President as you suggested). UF was and still is behind in facilities. McElwain deserves credit for bringing it to the forefront. Frankly, I could careless who he rubbed the wrong way because he got the ball rolling. His firing speaks more about the person/people behind the retribution than the coach trying get the facilities his team needs to keep pace with the competition.
          4. The bad guy is Stricklin, not McElwain. I’m not enamored and fooled just by clever tweets. While Foley was late to set in motion the facility upgrades, he gets credit for getting the IPF built and had a plan in place for the stand-alone football facility before retiring. Unfortunately, Stricklin came in and decided to put his stamp on the Master Plan. He postponed a much needed stand-alone by a few years in favor of first funding a brand new baseball stadium and softball stadium renovations. No wonder there was friction between McElwain and Stricklin.
          5. Stricklin traded in a coach who won two division championships in two years for a guy who never won even one is 9 seasons. Mullen finished 2nd once and 4th or 5th the other 8 years. Not only that, UF is now paying Mullen $6M/yr vs $4M/yr for McElwain. Further, Stricklin set our resources further behind by having to pay a $7.5M buyout (which he unsuccessfully tried to weasel out of with a technicality). I haven’t done the research but it would be interesting to compare the assistant coaches/staffs salary pool between McElwain and Mullen. I suspect Mullen’s pool is much higher than McElwain’s. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.
          6. McElwain’s institutional control looks pretty good to me when he immediately suspended all the players (including his #1 RB and #1 WR) involved in the credit card scam indefinitely.

          • Sly. Have you ever met and talked to Stricklin? Based on your post, I doubt it. Stricklin is personable, straight up, and a pro at his job. McElwain was none of that during his days at the Florida head coach. But you are free to continue with your love affair with McElwain. Not sure who else is going to join you from Gator Nation in that love affair, however, based on all the information that has come out about McElwain since he was fired.

    • Hahaha. Great post! In the world of the Gainesville Sun, there are no bad coaches and no one ever gets fired because they sucked. It’s always some weird side issue like he wasn’t nice to the rhythmic dance coach or the mean fans didn’t support him because he followed Spurrier. Meanwhile, zookoepooh also failed and got fired at Illinois, so I guess those fans must be spoiled as well.

      • Nobody seems to mention that, Houston. Me? I don’t know one way or the other, don’t, in fact, have any way of knowing one way or the other. But I will say this: To allege death threats against college athletes, coaches, and their families, and then to inform the media first before the school administration and law enforcement authorities — that’s a solid reason for firing alone regardless of other factors.

  7. Spoiled? Certainly not in football. How can you be spoiled when you’ve had two losing seasons since 2013? We were once spoiled (think 2009 when fans weren’t happy with the way we were winning) but that bird has long since flown.

  8. As others have said well, Gator Nation expectations are no different than any other elite program. Spurrier set the bar! Spurrier established the tradition of winning, tons of scoring, and rubbing it in the face of our opponents with great one-liners. Florida has always had the talent. The problem has been coaching. My expectations are through the roof for this football squad!!! The Gators overflow with talent, and other teams should envy and fear this team. Can the Gators reach the playoffs? You bet!!! It’s only a matter of will they believe they are great, execute greatness, and play with the intensity of champions!!!

  9. Call me crazy, but I just emailed Coach Mullen to open the Kentucky game with Molly Hatchet live with “Gator Country!” Something needs to set the tone and fire this team up! Teams need to FEAR THE SWAMP!!!

  10. DrG8r – That is a great email you sent to Coach. I hope he plays that song “Gator Country” and then at the start of the second half plays Tom Petty’s “I won”t back down”

  11. It amazes me how coach Mullen took a MS team to a #1 ranking ,a double digit season, and a bowl win with only two 4star starting players. One of them being Dak Prescott. The rest were 3 stars or less. Coach really knows how to draw out the best of the talent that his players possess. That’s why I don’t get all caught up in the star #’s . I believe with this coaching Corp , gator fans are going to be spoiled again.. can’t wait till Sept. 1’st..

    • Unfortunately he’s going to need more talent than that to get over the hump he never could get over at MSU. All that considered, just imagine what he’ll do with the talent he’ll be able to draw to Gainesville that he never could to Starkville.

  12. SOS spoiled us and yes except for when Urban was here we’ve been mediocre. Bear Bryant spoiled Alabama and except when Stallings and now Saban they were mediocre. UGA fired Richt cause he couldn’t win the big ones. Tennessee post Fulmer, mediocre. So why does everyone think we’re anymore spoiled than any other team?!

  13. Personally, I’m incredibly spoiled as a fan. I’m 38 years old, so when I came of age, learning the game and really watching the games, was 9-10 years old, like most people. Well that coincides with Spurrier’s start as HBC. So my whole college football life, all I’ve known is greatness. So honestly, the last 6-7 years hasn’t even really registered. It’s like a blip, an outlier, until UF is back where it “belongs”.

  14. Is the sky blue? Does the sun shine? Is it hot outside in July?

    Heck yeah we’re spoiled. We’re just proud enough to admit it. What sets us apart is that now our journalists openly call us spoiled without fear of fan backlash (not sure Pat would care) and we enthusiastically agree.

    Go Gators.

  15. I was on Mac’s side until the breakdown of arrests that when I started to rethink things not the wins and losses. Off the field trouble in those numbers comes from an air of entitlement, which I think two SEC East championships in a down east helped to feed. I still think Mac’s offense as shown by Grier would have done well with the right QB, however something was revealed once our OL matured and were pushed off the ball by everybody. We know alot more now and Mac had to go tho he will be successful as an assistant or in another conference. As for Spurrier being criticized out as the Head-ball-coach after 10 and 11 win seasons year after year demonstrates some bull gators are loud in the system and do lead the fan base at times from a position of satisfaction for being a perennial winner. Every team pays coaches in the millions now and every team has a share of the cream of the crop recruits in the SEC. Tho Bama is special with a supreme leader, the pendulum will swing again to other powers including the Gators if we give Coach Mullen the time and patience needed, and don’t run him off in occasional 9 win years… Coach Mullen and Tebow were the lynch-pin behind the Urban years of success.

  16. Like Jim Folsom wrote on Bleacher Report years back, ”For you young Gator fans out there, believe it or not, we haven’t always had it this good. Growing up in the ’70s and early ’80s, being a Gators fan was a lot like being a Mississippi State fan is now. A good season was finishing over .500. A great season was getting a bowl bid. (But) The 1984 Florida Gators gave us our first taste of what it’s like to be a Gator today. They gave us our future. After that team, we knew it could be done. Gator fans and boosters have never settled for mediocrity since.”
    And since the ’84-’85 Gator teams success (on the field), Florida had a dip in success until the H.B.C. got here in ’90. Then again after he left in early 2000’s, contrary to this article. And since Urban Meyer left, it has been 8 years of inconsistent Gator ‘O’. So, the law of probability says, ”Gator Football is DUE!”
    Go Gators!

  17. There’s no need to mention Mac, because he was clearly a HUGE mistake!!! Obviously, his time at UF critically altered recruiting. Yes, Urban was never the same at Florida after Mullen. I am ecstatic about the future now!!!

  18. Why not? This is a free exchange of thoughts, ideas, opinions, etc…. Others are “dissed”, yet only certain posts are pulled…

      • You know exactly why, as it was in response to your post….I guess the gainesville sun dynamic duo has thin skin

        • No, they’re actually good guys man for man….the problem is that there have been so many complaints about trolls and the like that their new computer algorithum seems to sweep up a few friendly fires too.

  19. Can only speak for myself but is it too much to ask for the premier university in the most recruiting rich state in the country to field an offense that actually moves the football? Particularly in an era of spread/no huddle offenses where points are scored at video game pace. If wanting to see competent offensive football means I’m spoiled than so be it.

    The blame for this entire decade of offensive ineptitude and fan frustration can be laid at the feet of one Mr. Jeremy Foley. I don’t care what he has done for women’s water polo at UF, he completely botched the post Urban hire and then gravely compounded the issue by hiring McElwain who was a complete outsider.

    Thankfully Stricklin brought back a known quantity in Mullen. I support him 100% and hope like heck he gets it turned around in a hurry.

  20. For UF to win, they have to get wanna-be criminals. gators cannot win with nice guys. Urban ran an absolute asylum … but he won big … muschomp cleaned it up, and the gators sucked, same with mcelwain … the entire conference knows it…. gators cant win with “character” guys

    • Maybe, Dave. I’m not ready to say that yet, tho. Character has got to count, otherwise it’s later than we think. But what are we really asking for here? Just common standards of decency is all–is that really a bridge too far? We don’t expect perfection, just that outright thugs come with a price that may otherwise carry a higher price than we expect.

      • Agree with 6 on this one. If the pride we take in being alumni or just fans of the University of Florida is based solely on the won/loss record of our sports teams, then Gator Nation needs a new goal. I love watching the Gators win games and dread the losses as much as most others, but winning at all costs regardless of character is a sham. Players such as Danny Wuerful, Tim Tebow, Trey Burton and many others show that winning with character can be done.

  21. We are spoiled, which is a good thing if you keep it in perspective. But this article, with all due respect , has a hint that Gator fans are not that intelligent or are unreasonable. We didn’t run anyone out of any room or job. Fans don’t hire coaches. We don’t fire either. And I really can’t remember the last time we hired a coach who won an opinion poll by the fans. Many of us would have probably preferred a run at Bobby Bowden than Steve Spurrier at the time he was hired. We Gator fans know football and the SEC. We know how tough it is. We also know you can’t send two receivers into the same spot on the filed so a DB can cover both by himself. We can see if a kid is struggling with seeing the field. In short, we want nothing less than what the team and the coaches themselves want. And we are not privy to what the coaches say to their wives in private when they are frustrated about the team or the players when they are frustrated about the coaches. Everyone seems to get a break but the fans. The least we can do is be spoiled.

  22. I have suffered through Woodruff, I have suffered through Graves, except a couple years but no SEC championship, suffered through Dickey and 4th and dumb(I was there for that game. We had our first SEC championship in the bag), suffered through Pell who brought us probation(I was there for “Run Lindsey run, also), suffered through Hall but I think he did the best he could while on probation. Now, bring in SOS. We finally had a coach who would not fear anyone in the SEC. Not only that, but he would tell it like it was. Brought us 6 SEC and 1 national championship. But we ran him off, namely Jeremy Foley. But Yall know the story. Then, with the next 4 coaches, suffered with them too, sans Urban. Now, I ask you. Would you say I am spoiled? Young Gators are spoiled if any are. But you have no right to call someone like me spoiled. I have suffered more than anyone should have to. Go Gators.

  23. Considering last year’s season and the fact that we have not won the SEC title in quite some time, I would say that Gator fans are NOT spoiled. Sure we have high expectations, just like the fans at Alabama and Georgia (several other SEC teams too). I would say that Alabama fans are spoiled – Bama has won so many SEC titles and national titles lately. The rest of the SEC would like to be just as spoiled. I believe Coach Mullen will bring the Gators back into championship form (I predict that we will win the SEC within 3 to 5 years). GO GATORS!!!

  24. I don’t think we’re spoiled as much as we just won’t stand for incompetent coaches. Muschamp only wanted a defense. He couldn’t care less about offense. When the defense had a bad game it was a guaranteed loss. Matter of fact the defense probably won more games than the offense. McElwain won 2 East championships in a weak division, and then had 2 blowout losses in the SEC Championship game. When the other teams in the East improved the Gators struggled mightily. They were able to beat fair to poor teams but had no chance against the better teams.

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