Sunday Blog: Mullen making it happen at Florida

Florida coach Dan Mullen talks to wide receiver Freddie Swain during Saturday's game vs. FSU at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun]

The Sunday Blog comes at you after an amazing Rivalry Week and some amazing food throughout. 

* Although statistics count in both the championship games and the bowls, Florida finished the regular season with these rankings of note:

8th in scoring defense.

10th in total defense.

17th in passing offense.

4th in sacks.

I’m guessing when Dan Mullen was hired, if he could have promised 20-5 and those kinds of stats his first two seasons, most Gator fans would have been pretty happy.

* Hey, ACC. We’ll make you a deal. The SEC won’t brag about the blowout wins over FSU and Georgia Tech if you don’t brag about hammering South Carolina. We cool? However, the one game on the final weekend with two fair-to-middling teams playing from the two conferences saw Kentucky thrash Louisville. Can we brag about that?

* I was surprised Missouri fired Barry Odom right after he delivered the SEC East a 7-7 tie with the West (OK, I’m the only one keeping score). And the No. 1 question I got Saturday night was, “Who does Missouri think they can get?” The obvious answer would be Josh Heupel, who was the offensive coordinator there before going to UCF. I’ve looked at a couple of lists of potential candidates and they hardly ooze sex appeal. You know, I said when Odom hired Derek Dooley as offensive coordinator this might not go well and during the five-game losing streak the Tigers scored seven points or fewer three times. Here’s a telling stat on Odom — he was 1-11 against Power 5 teams with winning records. What’s amazing is that the one win came against last year’s 10-3 Florida team.

* I have Florida seventh on my Associated Press ballot, but the ranking that really matters will be Tuesday night. If Florida is ranked ahead of Alabama — and based on resumes the Gators should be — the chances are excellent that Florida will get a New Year’s Six bowl game and avoid the dreaded Citrus Bowl. Can you imagine if Alabama gets sent to Orlando? How many players will skip that game and start their pro careers?


  1. Evaluation Point #1: After his first two seasons, Dan Mullin is far ahead of where most Gators thought he should be. Triple thumbs up! (including his staff)

    Evaluation Point #2: Trask is a better QB than Franks, no Pat that doesn’t mean anybody “hates Franks”. Game performance facts is Trask has “the cool” and has played much more consistent than Franks has ever done. Period.

    Evaluation Point #3: Jones has developed and but will need more passing improvement to become the new number one. The Spring will be very interesting.

    Evaluation Summary: Our existing talent is better than we first thought. Gators are somewhere between GA and Auburn and likely closer to GA. These next two recruitment classes will be critical.

    • I am not saying EJ is a finished product, but when allowed to pass this year he did reasonably well. He completed two thirds of his thirty-eight attempts for 267 yards and three TDs, and had a QBR of 150.

      I’d say he’s progressing nicely and I hope he doesn’t have an eye on the portal.

      Just my $0.02.

  2. Some excellent points here. I would add this: Kadarius Toney has moves that I have never seen on a football field, EVER. He literally broke a guy’s leg.
    Also, I’ll quit saying “literally” if Pat quits using “sexy” and “sex appeal” regarding anything to do with football. It literally makes me nauseous. And while you’re at it, please delete “And Yet” from your lexicon. Unless you keep saying it just to agitate us, in which case it’s OK.

  3. Sending Alabama to Orlando for the New Year would really work for me. I just don’t see it happening.

    The Gators NEED the committee to drop Minnesota behind UF, where the Gophers really belong. With the injuries to Cager and Swift, and now Pickens suspended for the 1st half of the SECC game, UGA is toast vs. LSU, which means they’ll end up in the Sugar Bowl, leaving the Gators to fight it out with Bama for the Cotton Bowl because…

    IF Minnesota is still ahead of UF in the committee’s final ranking they’ll land the Rose Bowl bid ahead of Penn St., which we KNOW will end up ranked ahead of UF and get invited to the Orange Bowl.

    That scenario wouldn’t end well for our Gators.

        • There should be limits, StL, but with the CFP Selection Committee, I’m afraid the limits just aren’t there. The loss to Illinois and the thrashing by the Buckeyes should keep the Badgers behind UF, but it likely won’t. Moving them into the top ten while keeping UF out helps them justify their ridiculous placement of OSU over LSU. If the Gators stay ahead of Wisky, I’ll be pleasantly surprised, but I’m not holding my breath.

          • Joe, the committee cares A LOT more about the $$$ and the exposure distribution between the Power 5 conferences and ND. Four SEC teams in the NY-6 bowls AGAIN this season was giving them indigestion.

            Now that Bama has obligingly lost to Auburn, have 2 losses and no Tua, the committee has an opening to balance things a little better than last season, assuming the favorites all win their CC games next week. Of course, that probably means Bama will be spending New Year’s Day in Orlando, which doesn’t exactly break my heart.

    • I have that same concern about PSU stealing our spot in the Orange Bowl, but the committee does seem to take a more in-depth look before the final ranking. How can they not see the Gators are the best 2-loss team, with losses to the current AP #1 and #4? Dumb question, I guess. Our ace in the hole might be the ability to fill up the stadium. We could really use an appearance in South Florida for recruiting, and Virginia would make great Gator Bait!

      • Keowee, if the committee does “take a more in-depth final look” into the 2-loss teams, the Gators will land in the Orange Bowl vs. Virginia, assuming they take into account that the Gators beat Auburn, Bama lost to them and BOTH lost to #1 LSU.

        Furthermore, assuming the favorites ALL win their CC games on Saturday, Oklahoma will land the 4th CFP slot by beating 1-loss Baylor. 1-loss Utah will end up in the Rose Bowl opposite 2-loss Minnesota. 2-loss Baylor will face 2-loss UGA in the Sugar Bowl. 2-loss Penn St. will land in the Cotton Bowl vs. 1-loss Memphis. Oregon and Wisky will drop to 3 losses and along with 3-loss Auburn will have no valid NY-6 bowl claims. And poor, poor 2-loss Bama and ND will BOTH get shafted… for a change!!!

  4. All I know is CDM and staff have won me over. 9-3 in year 1, and 10-2 this season…
    I can dig it! But this staff does seriously need to go and get some big uglies for both sides of the line of scrimmage. Especially since the SEC, and really all of football, is a ”line of scrimmage league” (U.F. needs them for UGA and LSU games, if U.F. wants to take it to another level). And thanks to Franks and best wishes! This team has some great seniors, who will be sorely missed next season. Last point, hey ”Orange Bowl,” ya’ know you all love us! Get some! Go Gators!