July 1, 2018 at 12:18 am #34074
With the baseball season now behind us and another failed trip to Omaha in the books, I think it would behoove us to stop and consider where we are with O’Sullivan.
All I’ve been reading is praise for the guy. I get it. The numbers, on their surface, seem to indicate a certain level of success. However, I think we need to dig a little deeper and understand that we’ve actually underachieved as a baseball program given the opportunities at hand.
Let’s consider the following:
1.) “One is not enough.” National titles, that is. Not when you consider that the true heavyweights cashed in multiple titles during their heydays. LSU, Miami, South Carolina, Texas, Oregon State all come to mind. We hear all the time from pundits like Pat Dooley that “baseball is a fickle game” and how random the Omaha experience can be. Well, it doesn’t seem to be so fickle for the big boys of the game. When they get in position, they seem to finish and usually come back for more (Oregon State now has 3 national titles….we are Florida, one of the spring training states for MLB, and we have 1 in our entire history….let that sink in). It’s easy to get caught up in the fact that he won our program’s first national title last year, but then you realize Coastal Carolina also has 1. It just doesn’t mean much in baseball; especially not given our natural resources and advantages. You get the feeling that our number should be closer to at least 5 or 6 right now to be fulfilled.
2.) Our two biggest in-state rivals have had geriatric coaches on their way out for a number of years now. This is not unlike Urban being able to raid the state in football when Bowden was fading at FSU and Miami was in disarray. Recruiting the state has been like shooting fish in a barrel and will get much more difficult when FSU reenergizes their program after next season. With the amount of talent Kevin has been able to accumulate over the years, 1 title is actually kind of embarrassing. How many times did we go to Omaha as the #1 seed? 3 or 4? I mean, again, Oregon State….as in Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon…just won their 3rd title. South Carolina went back-to-back and played in 3 straight final series. It just doesn’t feel like we’ve gotten nearly enough out of this unfettered reign within the Sunshine State.
3.) I really felt Auburn was the better team and deserved to go to Omaha this year. I feel like they played harder and wanted it more in that Super Regional, and just got an awful bounce off that kid’s glove. I honestly couldn’t even celebrate that in good conscience. I just kind of sat there stunned; feeling a bit guilty because their kids showed a lot more desire than ours throughout the series. If that game went one more inning, I would wager everything I own that Auburn would have won. They had such a hunger to get to Omaha for the first time in forever (maybe ever?) and you could just sort of sense a level of contentment/entitlement with our team. So, did we even really deserve to be in Omaha “defending” our title this year? I mean, I feel like the answer to that is a no.
I think O’Sullivan actually lost the team mentally down the stretch, if we’re being honest. They just didn’t have that same edge as the season wound down and entered postseason play. If that doesn’t fall on the coach, what does?
So, in conclusion, I think this is where we stand: we’ve got a decent coach who has shown an ability to exploit the lack of competition within the state of FL for his advantage. However, he has not converted that advantage into enough national titles and the future landscape is about to be a lot more competitive for him (South Carolina reemerging under that USF coach they hired, previously uncompetitive programs like Auburn on the rise, FSU replacing Martin with a really good, young, energetic coach who will change the recruiting dynamic). As such, there are some of us who aren’t willing to bend the knee just yet. We need to see more.
July 1, 2018 at 8:49 pm #34081
Certain level of success? That’s funny. Kevin O’Sullivan is doing a fantastic job at Florida.
July 3, 2018 at 2:59 pm #34115
First consider just who we might obtain who would be better, and how long would it take for them (if there is anybody) to reach our current level of success. The answer is he is a Gator and should remain one.
July 3, 2018 at 4:28 pm #34118
So I double checked the date to make sure this is July 4th not April 1st.
Sorry, but I don’t think the argument rings true, and if it did, then we need to re-consider Spurrier’s place in the Florida pantheon. By your logic, that one title isn’t enough, then Steve should have had 3-4 more and we should consider him a mediocre coach.
I would also guess that most FSU fans would kill for that 1 title.
July 8, 2018 at 9:12 pm #34166
Spurrier is overrated, but that’s besides the point.
You can’t just evaluate O’Sullivan in a vacuum. If you’re using basic-level analysis, you will naturally conclude that he’s been successful. You have to analyze it through the scope of Window Theory.
FSU and Miami have been slowly unwinding two legendary coaches. In-state prospects have known they were on their way out, so recruiting shifted to us. O’Sullivan has been operating with an open window in one of the most talent-rich states in the entire country and he has only managed to net 1 national title.
Baseball is different than some of the other sports. As noted above, the best programs tend to win in clusters. A lone national title, in and of itself, really doesn’t mean that much when you think about it. Why? Because, for example, all FSU has to do to regain even footing is just win 1. That’s what a lot of people don’t understand about 1-title-runs – they are easily erased by a rival just winning 1. Note how programs like Oregon State, South Carolina, LSU, Miami, etc., all converted their open windows into multiple titles.
Honestly, it’s not unlike Lebron. No one would say he’s not one of the all-time great basketball players. However, as one of the all-time greats, his standard of success is evaluated differently and, as such, his 3-6 record in the NBA Finals weighs heavily upon him (especially when the inevitable comparisons to Jordan are made). O’Sullivan has had the #1 seed with loaded rosters 3 or 4 times, and has only come back to the house with 1 ring.
The problem is that his window will be closing soon. Both FSU and Miami will reenergize under new leadership and the days of just running the state carte blanche will be over. Not saying he couldn’t still win, per se, but I’m saying it’s about to get much more challenging than it has been with those two rivals on their wind-downs.
1 title just doesn’t feel like enough, all things considered. There’s still a certain sense of emptiness and lack of fulfillment hovering over this baseball program.
July 15, 2018 at 12:31 am #34313
Sure there’s a lack of fulfillment. Only one team leaves Omaha without two losses.
Let’s see how well your predictions for FSU, Miami and these other teams work out this next season. No amount of words can substantiate a position that UF Baseball is not at it’s highest levels of performance and play under Kevin Sullivan.
July 17, 2018 at 9:27 am #34356
”Spurrier is overrated, but that’s besides the point.” -postroute.
Say what? In his 1st year at U.F he only WON the S.E.C. Championship, and then had it taken away by a jealous SEC, with help from the NCAA. Then Spurrier won it outright in 1991.
In ’92: Coach Spurrier TOOK U.F. to the 1st ever SEC Championship game (representing the East) and lost a close fight to ‘Bama (‘Bama then went on and won the National Championship).
The best 4 year run in his career at U.F. only consisted of 2 National Championship games, and 4 straight S.E.C. Titles:
’93: 11-2 (S.E.C. CHAMPS), and then SPANKED an undefeated West Virginia team, who thought they should be in the National Championship game… NOT!
’94: 10-2-1 (S.E.C. CHAMPS), lost to F.S.U. by only 6 points in the Sugar Bowl.
’95: 12-1 (S.E.C. CHAMPS, UNDEFEATED REG. SEASON), lost to quite possibly the best college football team in decades, Nebraska, in the National Championship game.
’96: 12-1 (S.E.C. CHAMPS), and then SPANKED F.S.U. 52-20 in ”the rematch Sugar Bowl game” and this time for ALL THE MARBLES.
And now in 2018 you submit ”Spurrier is overrated”, well, Coach Dan Mullen would love that run at U.F., IF he had the choice. So please stick to baseball, postroute, or learn your U.F. Football history!
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