Paul Finebaum had a front row seat of sorts for the end of the Jim McElwain era at Florida, as the SEC Network host was in Jacksonville this weekend for the annual Florida-Georgia game. SEC Nation broadcast its weekly pregame show from Jacksonville and, according to Finebaum, Gators fans had already seen the writing on the wall.

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Finebaum described the leadup to McElwain’s final game as Florida’s coach as a mostly solemn affair for the Florida faithful. Here’s what the SEC Network host said Sunday morning on his ESPN Campus Conversation podcast when asked about the atmosphere in Jacksonville.

“I could not find a Florida fan that wanted him around,” Finebaum said.  “You could not find a Gator that not only wanted McElwain around but thought they were going to win the game. It reminded me of the identical scene I witnessed four weeks ago when I was in Knoxville for the Georgia game. Tennessee fans were down and out on Butch Jones. They thought they were going to get rolled and they did and this was the same thing.”

Finebaum then went into what went wrong for McElwain. The ESPN host pinpointed two things that doomed McElwain: A fan base which expects nothing but excellence and the decision to move on from former Gator QB Will Grier.

“First of all, let’s start with the basic concept that this is the University of Florida,” Finebaum continued. “They had Steve Spurrier for that 12-13 year run and then they had Urban Meyer. Those are two of the best coaches of our lifetime. They won three national championships during that period and (the fans) became spoiled. They began thinking it’s championship or bust and they felt McElwain had the tools.

“If you go back two years ago, Will Grier was running that program efficiently. Grier got suspended and by the end of the season, McElwain let him know, ‘If you want to go somewhere else, go.’ That was the beginning of the end of him.

“He’s lost to Michigan twice. Been rolled by Florida State twice, even though he beat Georgia twice it didn’t count as much because it was the last year of Richt, the first year of Kirby. The Alabama games have been blowouts. He’s found ways to lose games he shouldn’t have last year — at Arkansas, after Arkansas lost 56-3 to Auburn. He’s quirky guy, he’s far west and he has very little relatability to that quadrant of the country.”

When pressed for what would make Florida fans happy, Finebaum offered by a few names Florida radio personality Buddy Martin had mentioned to him.

“That’s the problem… These are not my names, because I have not given this a lot of thought. (Buddy Martin’s) five names: (Justin) Fuente, (Scott) Frost, Dan Mullen, Charlie Strong and maybe Mike Norvell (Finebaum also later added Matt Campbell and Bob Stoops to the mix).

If Florida’s next coach comes from that list, which one would be the best fit?