Dan Mullen, Jimbo Fisher meet at the crossroads
Dan Mullen has talked on multiple occasions as Florida coach about things like attention to detail and staying within a routine.
That makes him like all coaches, their DNA's overflowing with order and discipline, who have had to adjust and adapt during this strange and fluid season.
So here we go again, to a field his quarterback was named for, to face an opponent that wasn't on the schedule until this summer and fly over the top of a hurricane to get the team to a college town for a third consecutive early morning wake-up call.
Welcome to 2020.
Andreu's Analysis:Are the Florida Gators in for an old-fashioned Texas shootout?
Saturday's game will be a clash of coaches known for their play calling, a couple of guys who haven't faced each other as head coaches, but have faced each others colors. Mullen and Jimbo Fisher came into their current jobs at the same time, coveted coaches who are trying to take their next steps at their current jobs.
Fisher knows all too well about Florida and Gator fans know all about his 7-1 record against UF as the Florida State coach. Nothing could be less relevant. This is a new set of downs for the two programs.
I could point out Fisher has a track record for being a Gator coach killer, but that would be sidebar material.
After Fisher's first game against the Gators, Urban Meyer decided the program was broken and walked away.
And the last time Fisher coached against the Gators, the head coach was gone after the game as well. Of course, Randy Shannon was just the interim coach in his last game as a Gator.
(Ironically, Jim McElwain's last game before his "death threats" comments that eventually sent him packing was a 19-17 loss to Texas A&M. Is it Halloween yet?)
So as long as we have detailed the things that are not important, we bring you the things that are on the second shelf. (Top shelf items have already been distributed by the media this week).
The Florida fan base believes Mullen has the Gator program on the right track. So do the national pollsters, many of them who have considered naming their newborn children Kyle.
I think those Florida fans find out a lot more about their team Saturday.
The Aggie fan base knows it paid for a Lamborghini, but it seems to be stuck in second gear.
"We're on pace to get where we want to go," Fisher said.
There's an old Rodney Dangerfield joke about eating dinner with a guy so old he had to make two trips to pass the salt and pepper. There are times when that pace seems slower than the $75 million A&M paid for Fisher.
Such is life in the SEC West.
"I knew exactly what we were getting into," said Fisher, who coached as an assistant at LSU and Auburn. "We're definitely headed in the right direction."
Maybe the Aggies are. At 18-10 since Fisher got there (a mere two games over .500 in SEC play), it's not like the program has been in dire straights.
Remember, this is a program that hasn't won a national title since 1939 and just lost to Alabama by four touchdowns.
But, like most fans (Rutgers and Vanderbilt notwithstanding), they want more and they have the receipt to show for it.
Patience? That's for suckers.
Saturday could be the day Texas A&M makes the college football world pay attention.
It could be a game where Florida fans find out if they really do have a defense worthy of the team's ranking.
It could be a game that sets up the rest of this wild season because Florida doesn't play another game outside of the state for 41 days. A win sets up a big one against LSU net week. It sets up a lot of things.
Pardon the Gators if they can't be bothered with trying to prop up another program.
They have enough to worry about it.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at email@example.com. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.