Gators fans: Muschamp must win eight to keep job
HOOVER, Ala. — Athlon. Fox Sports. Bleacher Report. National Football Post.
Those are just some of the media entities that ranked Florida coach Will Muschamp No. 1 in the nation, though here’s to guessing the fourth-year Gators head man would rather not have that designation.
According to the media, Muschamp, just ahead of Virginia’s Mike London and Kansas’ Charlie Weis, is the coach most likely to lose his job after the 2014 season.
“I certainly observed how Will handled a difficult year,” Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said recently on the Paul Finebaum radio show, referencing the team’s 4-8 record in 2013. “I never saw a guy lose control. I never saw a guy with a deer-in-the-headlights look. I saw a guy who just kept grinding and was a leader. You can tell a lot about people when things aren’t going well.”
But exactly what does Muschamp have to do to retain Foley’s trust and keep his job?
An informal survey of Florida Gators fans at SEC Media Days on Monday wouldn’t pass muster with any sort of academic journal. After wandering the Riverchase Galleria for about an hour this afternoon scanning for the familiar Gators emblem, I wasn’t able to come up with anything resembling a statistically-relevant sample size.
But I did find this: Every single Florida fan I talked to speculated Muschamp must win at least eight games to keep his job beyond 2014.
Gators fans expect Muschamp needs to win an average of 8.4 games to retain his job. Every answer fell between eight and 10. Some fans added caveats like “win eight and beat Georgia” or “win a bowl game.”
In any event, Florida’s schedule includes games against Florida State, Alabama, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina and Missouri. Assuming the Gators handle business against every other team, which is never guaranteed (see: Georgia Southern, 2013), fans believe Muschamp must find a way to win at least two if not three of those six.
Also telling, not a single Florida fan came to Muschamp’s defense. (I’ll leave that potential pun alone. You’re welcome.) Remember the question former NBA commissioner David Stern posed to Jim Rome? “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” Any answer is an indictment, and within five seconds, every fan surveyed had number that the Gators need to win, or else.
Luckily for Muschamp, Florida finished 11-2 just two seasons ago and suffered enough offensive injuries last season that they almost assuredly gained a greater appreciation for the biblical plagues. The former Auburn and Texas defensive coordinator is relying heavily on David Cutcliffe disciple and new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper to shake the unit out of a coma by fall.
“There will be a lot of chatter and hot-seat business,” Muschamp said Monday. “You combat the hot seat talk by winning games. I try to control the things I can control.”
I’ll open it up to you, the fans: How many games does Muschamp need to win at Florida this season to keep his job?