Surprised with Florida’s 6-1 start? Not Georgia’s Smart

Georgia coach Kirby Smart talks to his players during the first half of last Saturday's game vs. LSU in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

Florida’s quick turnaround in Dan Mullen’s first season has surprised many around the country and in the SEC, but don’t count Georgia coach Kirby Smart among the surprised.

He could see this coming.

“I’m not surprised at all,” Smart said Wednesday on the SEC coaches teleconference. “They’ve got talent. They’ve got good football players. They had good football players last year.”

Smart’s Bulldogs drummed the Gators 42-7 last season. A day later, UF parted ways with embattled head coach Jim McElwain.

Georgia will be facing a much different Florida team on Oct. 27 in Jacksonville, Smart said.

“They’re extremely athletic on defense,” he said. “They’ve got one of the premier secondary cover guys. They do a tremendous job on their offensive line. They’re huge. They brought in two new receivers (Van Jefferson and Trevon Grimes) that are as good as anybody in the league, on top of the wideouts they already had.

“Their backs are really physical downhill runners. I think Dan is really pleased with the backfield he’s got. And they have great tight ends.

“Across the board, they have really good football players. Florida always has. So, the turnaround hasn’t come as a shock to me because Dan and his staff do a great job.”

One of Mullen’s most important jobs has been the development of quarterback Feleipe Franks, which is ongoing. He’s a much different quarterback than the one who looked lost in last year’s loss to Georgia. In that game, he completed just seven of 19 passes for 30 yards with an interception.

“He’s playing a lot better,” Smart said. “Just like every quarterback in this league, when you get experience, you gain the ability to make decisions. I’ve seen this young man grow from a kid that I recruited a long time ago to become a better player.

“He’s very sharp. He’s much more disciplined with the ball. He protects the ball better. He has better playmakers. He’s got people around him. He’s got wideouts that make plays. He’s got good tight ends.

“When you’ve got an arsenal like that, along with the run game, it makes you a weapon.”

Since losing to Kentucky in the second game of the season, Franks and the Gators have won four consecutive SEC games, three on the road. UF enters next week’s game against the Bulldogs with a 6-1 record and a path to Atlanta and the SEC Championship Game.

Mullen was asked Wednesday if he’s surprised at where the Gators are halfway through his first season.

“I don’t know that I’m surprised and I don’t know if this is where I expected us to be. It is what it is,” Mullen said. “You look at what your guys do well and what they do poorly and you keep trying to improve on that.

“I’m not disappointed with where we are. I still think we have a lot of things we have to get better at in every phase of the game and in the program as a whole. I’m certainly not disappointed with how this team is progressing.”
Mullen said what he’s most pleased about is how the Gators have come together as a team over the course of the season.

“That’s a really important thing for us and for the program,” he said. “Our guys are learning how to go play the team game. If you look at how we’ve won football games. We haven’t won with just defense, haven’t won with just offense.

“We’ve found several different ways to win games and we’ve done it as a full team. That’s been a big plus that our guys have bought into that and believe in that team concept.”

This is a much different team than the one that was starting to disintegrate at this time a year ago.

Maybe that’s why Mullen isn’t even watching tape of last year’s one-sided loss to Georgia.

When asked how much he can take from that game, he had a one-word answer.

“Nothing,” Mullen said.

Up next

Who: No. 11 Florida (6-1, 4-1 SEC) vs. No. 8 Georgia (6-1, 4-1)

When: 3:30 p.m. Oct. 27

Where: Jacksonville


Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850


  1. That’s an old Vince Dooley tactic. Dooley would speak of how good the Gator Band was. He would mention the splendor of our blue jerseys, and the sharp hair cuts of our assistants. Our team would listen to it and lay an egg in the Gator Bowl.

    • Right on. This was ripped from the Vince Dooley pre-game playbook. Lou Holtz couldn’t have shined that up any better. Coach Dan needs to keep everyone’s head down and just grind. Read nothing. Believe no hype.

      The Gators are in much better shape mentally and physically and strategically heading into the Cocktail Party than last year. Dawg Scum still looks like the better team on paper. But Vince Dooley won plenty of these with inferior teams [cough cough, Charley Pell, cough cough]. And the Gators have won plenty since Steve Spurrier changed the paradigm. Go get ’em. Go Gators.

      • Good post Mark but if you are going to cough cough gotta add Doug Dickey’s name. At least in 3 of the losses to UGAly Pell had to face the greatest RB in history of college football, No. 34 Herschel Walker. Dickey had vastly superior teams in ’74 and ’75 and couldn’t get it done. Then of course there was ’76 and 4th and Dumb. Ahh . . . old wounds.

  2. Gamesmanship on UGA fluff ’em up and maybe they will think they are better than they are at this point. I think UGA is bigger than us on the line. LSU did show some holes in their game though I expect these to be closed by next weekend. If our guys continue to improve over the break they are going to give the dogs all they can handle. If our LB corps can play with out over running the rush and keep their RB’s in front of them and force UGA QB to pass our DB’s should be able to handle this. Hopefully a week of rest will let them heal a little but no lose the edge they were starting to develop. We have identical records coming in with huge conference rankings on the line. A test for our guys if they can handle the heat of the fire and for the dogs as well if they can bounce back. I would bet the team psych analysts are working overtime on keeping the teams looking in the right direction. Fine edge in training and conditioning. You want to be on the knife’s edge and being there is a fine balance. These coaches are working with young men who were mere boys a year or two ago. This is what I can’t wait for the most in Gator football the whole chess match of coaches, teams, individuals playing out each week. Season is half way over and this is the first time in ages I have a feeling we are on the verge of something special. THEY HAD NO RIGHT TO WIN. YET THEY DID Go Gators!

  3. UGly went even a step further. According to Dooley (former UGly coach) on signing day, UGly’s recruits were always better than the Gator’s recruits, however come UF-UGly game week, suddenly the Gator signee’s were so much better than UGly’s. That worked during most of the Dooley years, but Spurrier put an end to that.

    • You stole my thunder gatorguy. This was one of the SOS classics. He stated he couldn’t understand how during recruiting they were always getting the best players but when we got to Jax UFs had all the good players. I believe his comment was “What do they do with all their players?”. I see a similar situation now with what Smart is saying. Don’t think Mullen will kick the dawg though. That’s not his style. I have a major concern about our players not being goaded into doing something stupid by these uga players. We don’t seem too mentally tough about keeping quiet and just playing the assignments. It will be tough enough to beat the pups without a bunch of unnecessary penalties. We have a good chance to win if we play within ourselves and listen to the coaches.

      • agator…I agree, and as for the upcoming UF-UGLY game, I’m not sold on Smart’s ability to coach, however I’m very much sold on CDM’s abilities. CDM reminds me of Spurrier in the way he coaches (although CDM needs to work on his opponent jab one-liners). The media is all over CDM’s play-calling, touting his ability to call “trick plays”, however Spurrier (and I presume CDM) calls them “ball plays”. At Duke, Spurrier found himself in a tough spot, playing teams with much superior talent. To counter that Spurrier (and now CDM) uses play-calling to even the field. I believe in CDM’s ability to out-coach anyone he comes up against. Even at Kentucky, he outcoached Stoops. We were only down 21-16 with the possession and 30 sec left after Ky had dominated both lines of scrimmage the entire game. If not for that fluky fumblish thing at the end, we may still have won that game. Even good came out of that loss as CDM and the coaching staff have used that game to motivate our gators to play tougher. There hasn’t been a team we played since that has played tougher than us head-to-head (including the media-darling LSU tiggers).

        ps your re-telling of the UGly vs Gator “talent gap” was better than mine…Go Gators!!

        • Gatorguy I’m with you on not being sold on Smart’s ability to coach. I’ve said it since last season after watching the Auburn loss. When handing the ball off to Chubb and Michel wasn’t working, it was over for him. He has no ability to make in game adjustments. It happened again in the title game when Bama inserted Tua and he didn’t have an answer. When he faced LSU, he again showed he has no ability to adjust. All an opponent has to do is take away their initial game plan and it’s over. He loses his mind on the sidelines and gets flustered and makes stupid decisions, like the fake field goal he had no reason to go for. Thankfully we all know and have seen Mullen is an expert at making great adjustments. He comes into each game with a specific game plan for that particular team and doesn’t just run the same thing every game. It makes it much more difficult for defense’s to figure out what he’s going to do. Coaching is the one matchup in this game that the Gators are clearly better than them. Smart’s lucky he took over a team that was loaded with talent and has added to it with great recruiting. It makes him look much better than he is. There’s no doubt in my mind that he wouldn’t have the Gators at 6-1 right now if he were the coach.

  4. Maybe it’s just me, fool that I am, but I took Smart’s words as a sincere appreciation of what Dan Mullen has done with this Gator team so far. Good sportsmanship used to be the rule in the SEC — I don’t know if it really is or not anymore — but to me his statement was refreshing. One thing doesn’t change tho: He expects to win, we expect to win, and we’ll find out after the last whistle who was right.

    Gator65 is right….something special is going on.

    • I agree with the sentiment that Kirby was sincere. SOS and the coach right after Zook but right before Muschamp, really stoked the rivalry. Richt with his tomfoolery could have started a riot in 07.
      As evidenced by last weeks game, CDM will stand up for his team but I do not see him as a needler like others in the past.
      But no doubt this game will be chippy from the start. I hope our guys keep their heads.

    • take away the period after the kentucky game for a couple of weeks, and most gator fans thought we would be a 2 close loss team at this point, some even better, so smart really wasn’t that much out of the mainstream in his view imo. plus i think he has watched cdm for a while and knows he is a good coach.
      I heard one time that happiness is the difference between expectations and reality, so most anyone that has to keep people happy is going to downplay expectations from bryant to dooley and some others too, this is just an intelligent coach, not just lowering his but raising yours, and then by the second quarter of game day everyone is realistic as they try to win.
      i intend to run my mouth soon about Georgia but for now, im resting up. they have some good players and we have some things to work on.

    • 6….I did too…and when he wore #16, he took his share of ass whippings, except for Spurrier’s only loss to UGA in 97. Even before SOS, Florida was known as a sleeping giant….Herschel Walker was on record of saying that Florida always has really good players. Bear Bryant said that that if Florida was a “sleeping giant”

      He played in the SEC and has coached in the SEC for a total of what 22-23 years…so the man knows how good we can and have been. Of course there is some gamesmanship…but what coach doesn’t say how talented the opponent is in pressers?

      The only game this year besides the non power 5 teams I was confident of a W was Kentucky…lol…so I will keep my nervous streak and hope we plays very well.

      • Steve Spurrier was and is the consummate Gator, Smith — no doubt about it. There have been so many over the years….but I think Tim Tebow is right behind him. Or will be, down the road anyway.

        Man, I’ve gone back over that Kentucky game so many times now that I could probably recite the play-by-play from memory. All I keep coming up with is that if it didn’t happen the way it did, then we probably wouldn’t be where we are right now either. Regardless, it just must go with being a Gator fan to be nervous all the time — after every game I feel like I’ve played every down, been beaten half to death, and my blood pressure is thru the roof despite my 12 year old doctor and all the meds he has me on!

        • If my nervousness translates into Ws…I’ll take it my friend. And agree with daz…it was needed…AND UK is a pretty good team that early on could (adn did) just that. With more film, other teams have the benefit of not thinking its just dem Kentucky Boys, so cue up the W…but hey I give them credit.

        • Gator-6, I’m with you on this. When I watch Gator games, I pace the whole game. Even during the national Championship game of ’97 and the Gators were up big late, I couldn’t relax until I was certain FSU was mathematically eliminated from scoring enough points to come back. It stings to lose to Ky, much like it stung to lose to Vandy at BHG stadium in 2013. However, just like the Vandy loss, the Ky loss didn’t cause Gator field to be consumed by a black hole (although it did consume Muschamp and ushered in McEloser). And just like the Vandy game, the odds were in favor of a Ky win, but unlike that Vandy game, the Ky game only motivated the Gators to play harder and tougher…that is coaching. While I believe Smart was being sincere in praising the Gators, every opposing coach is going to say that about their opponent in order to keep his players from becoming complacent. For me the book is still out on Smart as a coach. He certainly can recruit, his top five recruiting classes and a top recruiting class speak to that ability. Right now I see him as more like Muschamp and less like Saban. Remember that Muschamp could certainly recruit and his defensive recruits fueled McEloser’s two East Div championships. But for UGly to play so poorly last weekend so deep into the season speaks to me of the quality of coaching (or lack thereof).

          So, like you, I’ll continue to sweat over Gator games until I have no sweat glands; and then I’ll just obsess over them.

          • 6 and gatorguy…That’s been my recipe for Ws this year…lol. I was confident with the Kentucky game and you see what that got us 🙂

    • With every win, I can see the feel good story about this season continue. But, it was just a few weeks ago that they were being torn apart by the skeptics and fans upset about them being the first team to lose to Kentucky. It was sad to see Marco Wilson’s tweet about how much pain these guys field when they’re being torn apart on twitter. And just this past Saturday, people were bashing Franks as pathetic in that first half, then all of a sudden this teams has the biggest come back in years and outdo the skeptics and all is good again. What’s special about this season is that they’re already special for being bowl eligible after just 7 games. In the beginning of this season, I thought 7-5 would be a successful season but what would make the season even the more successful is improving from week to week. So it’s obvious at this point at winning just 1 game the rest of the way won’t be special anymore, so with each win, the outlook changes. I had it as 2 more wins to 8 win season, and now it’s 3 more wins to 9 wins season. This team can do what no McElwain team has done consistently which is to finish strong, whether it’s 3-2 or 4-1, I’d take it but they have to beat Georgia and FSU! …because that’s what the Meyer/Mullen team of yesteryear did well, beat rivals. But, this team is its own team and they can’t be living up to anyone standard’s; when they try they fail (Kentucky), so I hope they’re marching to their own beat. They shouldn’t forget that there will be people who feeds them all the praise but just as long as they win but some of those would be the same to start a website to fire mullen as soon as they lose one game. I’d hate to see them face another adversity the rest of the way, but history has it that they probably will. As fans, we need to let them know that it’s OK to fail trying and that we’re behind them no matter what. In so many words, how special this season is will largely depends on how special our fanbase is.. The LSU game was a start and we can build on that against the lesser team.. but we have to show up to the games!! If the fans go to every game and sing their heart out then only good will come out.. recruits will be in the stand wanting to play for us and this team will have more weapons to overcome adversities…only then, will we get a measure of how successful the Mullen years will truly be.. It will not be by how we deal the teams and fans deal with ups but by how they deal with the ups and downs. The downs will always be there, waiting at every significant turn, but only those who are willing to give all they got to get up every single time can truly be special. Go Gators!!!!

  5. Most likely a bit of both; sincere compliments and some blowing of smoke up you know where. He kind of lost some credibility when referred to the the O’line as doing a “tremendous” job. Either way, it’s just more blather for the writers to grab onto, especially in this mutual bye week. Once the whistle blows and the ball is kicked, all that matters is how hard and smart both teams play for 4 quarters and who wants to win the most. I think we all know and agree that overall, this team and coaching staff is a big improvement over a year ago and leave it at that.

    • Dan, I know you remember when the great Bear Bryant used to praise up the opposing team before a game, then go out and destroy them, only to say after the game, “I don’t know how we won, guess we just got lucky, we was outplayed and I was out-coached all game”. Now THAT was the definition of insincerity! (But it sure did tickle us to hear it anyway every time Bama blew somebody out just the same).

  6. At this point in the season, it is clear to me we have good players. We had more problems with coaching than talent in the past 3 years. Our defense worries me more than our offense in this game, for some reason. We have given up some big plays via run and pass. Our DB’s have given up a lot of space in coverage.Third down and long for us has not been as good as I hoped, at times. Our D line has been pushed around by a bigger line in some games. BUT, as I have said before, we are a big play team. We have made big plays on O and D. Our DB’s catch interceptions and have play making ability after the INT. Our line has come up with some huge sacks. We have to stop the run. Holyfield scares me to death. He will be the best back we have faced yet, in my opinion, and the other two are excellent as well. The one thing I have confidence in , though, that I didn’t have the last few years is a feeling Coach Mullen will do something to put us in a position to win. His coaching this year is like having a Heisman candidate on the field.

  7. I haven’t posted on a Gator site in a long time. But I must say how proud I am to be a Florida Gator. The improvements I see in this team are outstanding and far and away from what I expected this soon in Mullen’s first year. The frustration of our last few years, despite having recruited very well was overwhelming. Coach Dan has the players believing in his approach and optimism and game plan.
    I think the future is very bright for Florida Gator Football. And I couldn’t be any happier. Now, lets go tame them puppies!!!

  8. i did not think much of Kirby Smart during his first year at Georgia, but he was installing a new system, so the Bulldogs had a learning curve. Based on last year’s results, UGA nearly won the national title, and destroyed the Gators. Granted, we have a new coaching staff and some additional players who help create new weapons both on offense and defense. I was surprised at LSU’s big upset, but then, LSU was probably pissed off that they lost to Florida. I look to Coach Mullen and his staff, and to the leaders on the Gator football team, to properly prepare for the biggest game of the season (at least so far). Discipline, hard work, believing in the team, the coaches and the playbook – all of these together will give the Gators their best chance at winning. GO GATORS – BEAT THE DOGS SENSELESS (remember last year – use this to motivate)!

  9. The committment, discipline, hard work and belief in team, coaches and playbook have led the Gators to a far better season so far than last year. I did not think much of Kirby Smart during his first year at UGA, but then there was a learning curve. Last year Georgia very nearly won the national title, and destroyed the Gators. The path that Florida has taken so far this year has paid off quite well – keep working on how to improve – learn from game films – practice hard to the best of your ability. Trust in team – trust in your coaches, and trust in yourselves. If we bring our “A” game and play with mental and physical toughness – stay totally aware in the moment, we have the opportunity to beat the Bulldogs. GO GATORS – BEAT THE DOGS!!!

  10. Dang it, Glen is so excited he nearly posted the same thing back to back.
    As he should be with the way the Gators have bounced back from that loss to UK. Funny how nearly everyone was saying then that UGA was gonna be a loss for sure but now the narrative is that we can beat them. I agree with that since I always said there was nothing for sure and that’s why we play the games. I am surprised as to how quickly we have turned it around with Mullen, it seemed our O line and QB were big liabilities but it goes to show what good coaching can do.
    Go Gators!

  11. Reading all these posts is getting my orange and blue blood pumping. The build up for this game has a positive vibe that’s been missing for so long that it seems a bit surreal. It looked like the Tide and the Dawgs had separated themselves from the rest of the pack and it would take forever to catch up with ’em, but now, after a few eyeblinks, the Gators and LSU look to be back in the hunt. For UF, it’s been all about regime change. Thanks to the coaching staff, the players are stronger, tougher, smarter, more determined, with leadership on both sides of the ball, and their functioning as a complete team–all tuned up and prepared to fight. This next battle will test their mettle and then some, but UGA’s whipping by LSU should give the Gators plenty of confidence. Usually the team that puts up the most yards on the ground in Jax comes out ahead when all the dust clears. But both of these teams have balanced offenses and strong defenses, so there’s no telling what will be the difference maker. Whatever the outcome, it seems unreal that the Gators could have come so far so fast–with most of the talk on here being about UF winning this year in Jax. Great! Go Gators!

  12. I’m no expert and don’t even play one on TV but I think UGA’s players are just as good or better than ours at almost every position (and no I don’t play captain obvious on TV either). However, I think we hold the advantage coaching-wise which is just enough for me to believe we can win. Isn’t it nice to once again have belief we can win? I think it will be soon before we are once again expecting to win.

    Kirby is going to say nice things because that is what coaches do. When was the last time you heard one say, “Yeah, their not as talented as we are and there’s a puddle in my back yard that’s smarter than their coaches. We are going if to be pulling our starters by half time”. Hell, even Nick Satan tries to say something nice about the lambs that are lead to slaughter against them.

    • I get you, Dallas — at the same time tho, I’d like to reintroduce the concept of overconfidence going into a game. In my opinion — and probably my opinion only — that was the first fatal flaw LSU made going into the Florida game. Although they’ve just had the edge knocked off, I suspect Georgia will still do the same thing with Florida even tho Kirby Smart will likely do his best to convince his players not to.

      Of course, all of us no matter how special or smart we may think we are, are only guessing what the actual outcome will be — my own guess is that we win this game by a close score. It’s certainly set up to be a replay of Clay-Liston I, or even better, Ali-Foreman. 🐊

  13. Im going to alter my response to some, after LSU was ranked above us. Yes it was because they just beat the #2 team in the nation and we hadnt. I said if we beat Ga then we will be ranked higher. I have rethought that and now believe that will only happen if we beat Ga like LSU did. If we win , but by a little , LSU will remain higher in the polls. Thats the benefit of them being ranked at #5 when they played us and thats the detriment of us being barely ranked when we played them. The loss to us is seen as a toe stub for them. We had a tremendous homefield advantage and the voters know this. LSU had a tremendous homefield advantage in their win over Ga, but have been at #5 it didnt matter. The greatest benefit to us, if we win, is it will be a neutral site. Where we are ranked after a Ga win wont really matter if we get to play in the SEC championship. Win there and go to the playoffs, lose and its a New Years bowl. Whereas LSU must beat Bama during the season to move on. LSU has the best chance to beat Bama of those in the west. I would hate to have to rematch LSU in Atlanta. All this is academic as we have to beat Ga 1st.

    • Rankings don’t matter. We struggled to beat Vanderbilt and LSU crushed the number 2 team. But the reality is that LSU played them at home and we beat LSU in our own backyard. If LSU play them next week in Athens or play them in Atlanta in December, they might get crushed. Heck even if LSU play them next week in Death Valley, they might get crushed..Scores has nothing to do with how good these teams are. At this point, they’re similar in talent and it’s about who can play the toughest that day. You don’t have to look far to see that (Auburn last year). That said, the Georgia team we’re facing will be way better then the team LSU faced, just like LSU played better than the LSU team we faced. Hopefully, we’re better than the team that faced both Vanderbilt, LSU, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Kentucky and so on.. That’s all our team can control. If they do that and play tough from beginning to end, then they will have a chance to tame the puppies. I am expecting the game to be close and it will probably come down to a last minute field goal with the game tied. Hopefully, it’s McPherson kicking the last field goal!! Go Gators!!!

    • The fact of the matter is, UGA lost a ton of talent to the NFL and has played no one till they faced LSU. No one really knows how good they actually are and if they really deserved to be at #2. The reality is they were only ranked so high to start the season based off of what happened last season and a good recruiting class. Hence why preseason rankings are such a joke. Lets not forget that LSU was only two spots higher than the Gators in the preseason and moved up quickly because they beat some other teams that were clearly over ranked. Them being at #5 when they faced the Gators was pretty questionable as well. But you’re right Daz, we’re not at a point in the season where teams can jump into the top 4 from 11th with one win. If the Gators beat UGA no matter the margin, they won’t jump LSU until the first playoff pole comes out on October 30th and strength of schedule and head to head matchup comes into play. They’ll then lose to Bama that week and it’ll be a moot point. They very well could lose to MSU this week, but I doubt it since they’re at home.

  14. IMO I think the loss to KY was better for this team than a come back win would have been. They were so high after the performance that they had after the first game. I also think the vandy game helped us in the same way. The team now understands that they are gonna get 100% from any team they play, and the Gators must do the same. I really think that UGAly is worried about this Gator team. This Gator team is not as good as they are gonna be, but I believe they are good enough to beat UG especially after what LSU did to them. Go Gators, beat the puppies silly.

  15. Ok Gators, based upon the LSU game, here is the perfect playbook to beat the Dawgs in Jax:
    On D:
    Load the box and ” contain the run,” contain it because we probably won’t stop it.
    Make Fromm one dimensional and force him to pass on third down where our blitz packages take over and our DBU will be lying in wait.
    On O: Pass on running downs to open up the run. Use the TE’s down the middle for quick slants.
    On passing downs, RPO opportunistically. Win the perimeter and slow down their D. Win 3rd Downs.
    Execute 2 trick plays as needed, one in each half, to change the momentum and keep their D flat footed.
    Give the Special teams a green light to cause turnovers, block punts and FG’s and change the field.
    Do this and we win. Gators 24-21.

  16. Pre-Season SEC picks for SEC East:
    Sporting News–Gators 3rd
    Bleacher Report: Gators 5th
    South Sports: Gators 3rd
    ‘247 Sports: Gators 8th in 14 team league.
    CBS Sports is touting Ed Obergon as Coach of the year. Hmm. Didn’t Fla. beat LSU 27-19? No one is mentioning Mullen. There is a plethora of praise for ‘Bama, LSU, Auburn, Miss. St., all picked ahead of Fla.
    Didn’t Gators also beat Miss. State at Starkville, 13-6. Just curious. I guess 6-1 is not important when the writers are in love with the SEC West.