Is this the year Dan Mullen takes the Florida Gators to Atlanta?

That’s the next step for Mullen’s Gators. With one of the few returning starting quarterbacks in Kyle Trask and always aggressive defense behind Todd Grantham, analysts expect big things from the Gators in 2020. With back-to-back 10-win seasons (11 in 2019), Mullen has proven he can notch double digit wins. He did that at Mississippi State, too. Now, it’s time for Florida to hoist some hardware.

ESPN’s Paul Finebaum believes in the Gators this year, mainly because of how well Mullen and staff have been recruiting.

“I think it’s real,” Finebaum said on Steve Russell’s Sports Scene when asked if he sees the Gators taking big steps forward, via 247Sports. “I say that because Dan Mullen is doing now what Florida hasn’t done consistently in a long time, and that’s recruit well. I have never understood why you can’t just drag someone off the street and recruit well (in Gainesville). He has done that. He also has developed a really nice staff down there and he’s bringing great players in and on top of that he’s just a great coach. Dan Mullen has separated himself from so many other people on the offensive side of the ball.”

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Mullen has always been known as a great developer, especially on the offensive side of the ball, but it would boost recruiting even more if he could hire another ace recruiter or 2. Still, Mullen is recruiting well enough to win the division right now. Most of it will hinge on quarterback play.

But the one question keeps coming up — when will Mullen beat Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs?

“Where does that leave us with Florida-Georgia?” Finebaum asked . “Last year we all watched the same game. It was close, and it could have tilted. The LSU game was laser thin and Florida had the lead late in the game. It doesn’t take much. It takes a series or two to turn that around and I certainly think Florida is capable of that.”

Florida always has the Georgia game circled, but after starting 0-2 with UF, it’s time for Mullen to win the UGA game.