Back Nine: Muschamp given contract extension before 11-1 season
Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 26, 2012 at 7:25 p.m.
The Back Nine comes at you after a long weekend that included two Thanksgivings and enough tryptophan to put me to sleep for a year.
10. Usually when a coach has a year like Will Muschamp has — going 11-1 and headed almost certainly to a BCS bowl — a school will give him a contract extension. Florida did it before the season started. UF President Dr. Bernie Machen and Athletic Director Jeremy Foley got together in August to extend Muschamp's contract for another year through 2017. “It's easy to do it when you're 11-1, but we did it back in August because we liked the direction the program was heading,” Foley told me Monday. “We wanted to convey to Will how much confidence we had in what he was doing.” The financial terms remain the same (a salary of $2.7 million). And by beating FSU and getting to a BCS bowl game, the second-year head coach receives a $100,000 bonus, according to that contract. Of course, it won't be official until Sunday, but Florida would appear to be a lock for the Sugar Bowl. Still to be determined are several other bonuses, including $50,000 for Associated Press Coach of the Year, $25,000 for AP SEC Coach of the Year and $50,000 for a top-10 finish.
11. I know this won't happen, and if it did, I would probably object if I was an outsider. But you could definitely make the case that Florida deserves to be in the national championship game more than the winner of the SEC Championship Game. If it was one of those blind resume tests, anyone with a brain would pick Florida. The Gator opponents this year went 92-50. Alabama's went 70-72 and Georgia's 71-71. Florida beat three teams in the BCS top 10 while Alabama and Georgia beat one each, although the winner will add a second. Florida can't win the SEC. Neither did Alabama a year ago. But the Gators aren't in Atlanta, and they did play some stinkers against some mediocre teams. And Muschamp was frank about both of those issues after the FSU game, saying Florida has only itself to blame for the Georgia loss. On Monday, he told me that is one part of the culture he is going to continue to work on at UF is getting the players not to take some games lightly. “It's been frustrating,” Muschamp said. “The mental mindset going into some games, how we approach some games, that has to change.”
12. The bowl situation is still in limbo around the country because there are so many important games this weekend. And, yes, I am fired up about it. I find it interesting that Nick Saban complained Sunday about the loser of the SEC title game being passed over by a team not being in the game for a BCS bowl berth when the same thing happened in his favor last year. I'm hearing that the loser may not end up in the Capital One Bowl because that game wants Texas A&M. If the loser is Georgia, the Cotton probably would want to pass on the Bulldogs as well. A lot depends on the clout of Mike Slive, who will do his best to lean on the Cap One and then the Cotton to protect the loser of Saturday's game. I'm also hearing that South Carolina could end up in the Gator Bowl because the Gamecocks aren't that keen on another Outback Bowl trip, and the Chick-fil-A wouldn't want an SC-Clemson rematch. And how about this? It's possible to have an Orange Bowl game between Georgia Tech and Kent State. Would you watch that if it was being played in your backyard?
13. As if Alabama needed any more incentive for Saturday, this came out of Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo's mouth Sunday: “I feel like we're more talented (than Alabama). We have better players at each position, across the board, especially on defense.” I'm not saying he's wrong. But I'm sure that quote will be used by Saban this week. I know this — you're going to see a lot of people pick Georgia who wouldn't have given the Bulldogs a chance three weeks ago.
14. I received a call from Steve Spurrier on Sunday. He wanted to give me some grief about picking Clemson and Florida State. I deserve it. As Bill Murray's character says in “Scrooged” — “I was wrong about everything.” Spurrier and Muschamp shared one thing last week — neither one of them thought much of ACC defenses. Spurrier also said of Florida's 11-1 season, “It's like 2001. We didn't win any championships and ended up second in the country.”
15. You may love Black Friday, but college football coaches do not like Black Sunday, that day after most of the regular seasons are complete where coaches get fired in bunches. You want to talk about a fiscal cliff, how about the $26 million the SEC has spent buying out coaches in the last two years? Nobody can be surprised Gene Chizik is one of those coaches because it's more than his non-Cam Newton record and Alabama's success. Go read Kevin Scarbinsky's column at al.com or anybody who knows the program well, and you'll understand what a mess that program is.
16. The Back Nine was a big Colin Kaepernick fan when he was at Nevada, and while the decision by the San Francisco 49ers to start him over Alex Smith may be controversial, it was sure fun watching him play Sunday night. I've said it before that Jeff Driskel reminds me of Kaepernick. Speaking of whom, you have to give the Florida quarterback a lot of credit, because after watching the FSU game a couple of times, it's pretty clear that his ankle was bothering him.
17. We have a tie for Tweets of the Week. The first comes from my friends at the Rocky Mountain Gator Club (in Denver) — “It's surprising that we're able to dominate 4th quarters even though we don't put our fingers in the air at the start of the 4th.” Funny. I always thought that was an antiquated custom in college football. The second from my pal Stewart Mandel of SI.com — “Auburn job description: We only fired our last 3 undefeated coaches. Come recruit against Nick Saban, deal with looming NCAA investigation.” Couldn't have said it better.
18. I went back to my old iPod for a couple of days last week. It's nice to have options. Try these downloads — “In The Open” by Benjamin Francis Leftwich, “Steal Your Face” by Goldenboy and for the old school in you “Classical Gas” by Mason Williams.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.