Sunday, September 27, 2015

UF Football: Florida Beats Tennessee with Late Comeback

For the 11th straight time after a Florida/Tennessee football game, the Vols have gone home as losers after a 28-27 Gator victory. This was by far one of the best Florida football games I have watched in my three years as a student here thus far!

In his third career start (and fourth ever collegiate game), quarterback Will Grier had a rough outing for the most part. He was missing throws, taking sacks, and had one interception as the Gators trailed for a majority of the game.

When the fourth quarter arrived, Grier delivered. He converted three critical fourth downs with his arm and threw two touchdowns to help spark a vigorous Gator comeback. He finished the day 23 of 42 with 283 passing yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. He also ran out of the pocket eight times for just 17 yards.

On the ground, Kelvin Taylor carried the workload and was a beast as he ran for two touchdowns and 102 yards on 19 carries. Freshmen Jordan Scarlett and Jordan Cronkrite did not see any snaps in the game. It is clear that Kelvin has established himself as the bonafide starter and is ready to carry the Gator offense with his legs if needed.

Before I address the Gator receiving core, let me bring up Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs and running back Jalen Hurd. They were incredible today in a losing effort. Dobbs ran 18 times for 136 yards and even caught a touchdown pass while Hurd ran 29 times for 102 yards and two touchdowns. In the passing game, Dobbs was limited as he completed just 10 of 17 passes for 83 yards.

In my honest opinion, I would have to give the QB advantage to Grier considering he threw two touchdowns and helped lead his team to victory in crunch time. For the running backs, Kelvin was actually the better of the two backs as he ran for the same amount of yards and touchdowns in 10 less attempts.

The Gators' ability to get their passing game going in the fourth quarter was instrumental to today's win as six Gators combined for 23 receptions. Leading the pack with six receptions was Demarcus Robinson. However, he had just 48 receiving yards (which is the least amount for a receiver with 5+ catches).

For the second straight game, the leading yard-getter for Florida was true freshman Antonio Callaway with 112 yards on five receptions. His biggest catch of the night came on fourth down and 14 when Will Grier hit him on a slant route that he took 63 yards to the house for the game-tying touchdown with l:26 left in regulation. I absolutely lost my mind when this happened and I can only imagine what was going through this young freshman's mind as he crossed the goal line.

Callaway's touchdown was only possible because Brandon Powell kept the Gators alive during the prior offensive drive. He made a critical catch on fourth down and eight before hauling in a five-yard touchdown reception to cut the score to 27-21. He finished the night also with five receptions for 64 yards and his one touchdown catch. He also had a critical block during Callaway's catch that allowed his teammate to run into the end zone untouched.

Rounding out the receivers, sixth-year senior tight end Jake McGee caught five passes for 57 yards as he was a little more involved this week. The use of him and fellow tight ends DeAndre Goolsby (who had a reception for six yards today) and C'yontai Lewis is vital if the Gators want to have a prolific passing attack.

Defensively, the Florida Gators COULD NOT TACKLE today! It was ridiculous! There were so many times in the game they had Joshua Dobbs and Jalen Hurd stopped in the backfield and too many times one or the other would escape and rip off a huge run. The Gators have to clean this up or they are going to have problems. If does not matter if they are playing Ole Miss or FAU, poor tackling will cost the Gators football games if it remains an issue.

Moving on from the tackling woes, the defense held its own considering starting cornerback Jalen Tabor was out for the game. The two leading Gator tacklers were both safeties Keanu Neal and Marcus Maye with 13 and 10, respectively. Both of them forced a fumble and Maye broke up one pass. Fellow secondary-mates Vernon Hargreaves III (two) and Quincy Wilson (four) combined for six tackles, but neither made too much of an impact during the game.

Between the d-line and linebacking core, Jonathan Bullard (eight, 3.5 for loss), Jarrad Davis (seven, 1.0 for loss), and Antonio Morrison (six, 2.0 for loss) combined for 21 tackles! Bullard and Morrison also notched two of the three Gator sacks with defensive end Alex McCalister recording one sack as well.

Also worth noting, defensive lineman Bryan Cox Jr. forced a fumble and took it back to the house for a touchdown. However, it did not count as Cox's knee was down when he recovered the fumble. Personally, I think that rule should be modified in college football to emulate the NFL's version, where a player who is down with the football can still advance until he is touched by a defender.

One of the main reasons Tennessee scored half of its points was due to a couple trick plays. The first came in the first quarter and involved a double pass from QB Joshua Dobbs to receiver Jauan Jennings and back to Dobbs for a touchdown. The second was a jump pass from running back Alvin Kamara to tight end Ethan Wolf for 58 yards which set up a Jalen Hurd touchdown run.

If you eliminate both these plays, then Florida wins this game by two touchdowns. Tennessee knew they had to use these gimmicks because there was no way they could directly attack Florida's potent defense and be successful.

In the special teams department, Florida kicked no field goals. The only field goal they lined up for ended up being a decoy because the Gators opted to go for it on fourth down after a Tennessee timeout. For Tennessee, kicker Aaron Medley nailed two field goals and was called upon with three second left and the score 28-27 to kick a potentially game-winning field goal from 55 yards out.

Medley had never attempted a field goal of more than 50 yards and he shanked the kick wide right. When he missed, I began to celebrate what had been an incredible comeback. However, I feared in the back of my mind that Coach Mac had called his final timeout to ice the kicker. Unfortunately, I was right. So for a few more seconds, I had to anxiously wait to see if the streak would remain intact.

Medley's second kick looked good, but ended up going wide right by less than a foot! I jumped on one of my best friends, Will Davis, after the miss and ran around to celebrate what had been an incredible finish.

I will say right now that I am not a fan of icing the kicker in this situation considering he has never kicked from a distance that far. Also, it gives him a practice kick, and that only increases his chances of making it if he gets two cracks at it essentially. Regardless, it all worked out and Coach Mac avoided some unnecessary heat for a questionable coaching call.

To conclude my special teams' spiel, Gator punter Johnny Townsend punted seven balls for 347 yards and an average of 49.6 yards. He pinned Tennessee inside the 20-yard line three times and his longest punt was 61 yards long. Handling kickoff duties was redshirt freshman Jorge Powell, who nailed two touchbacks in five kickoffs. He also took over for Austin Hardin as place kicker and nailed all four of his extra point attempts.

This was a great comeback win for the Florida Gators. Will Grier took some bumps early in the game but never lost his composure. He showed a lot of poise and made some big throws down the stretch to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

The Gators were 5/5 on fourth down with a conversion in the second and third quarter, and three in the fourth quarter. The Gators showed so much resiliency as they were down 13 at one point and kept on fighting to ultimately break Tennessee's heart for the 11th straight year.

For Tennessee, it's just another heartbreaking loss. I thought blowing a 17-point fourth quarter lead at home to Oklahoma was bad, but today's loss might take the cake. To me, I feel like there is a monkey on the backs of these teams with long losing streaks.

For instance, Tennessee was up 9-0 going into the fourth quarter against Florida last year, but ended up losing 10-9. Now this year, they had a 13-point lead with a little over 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter and once again could not put the Gators away.

With the win streak against Tennessee now at 11 and an elated fanbase once again excited about Gator football, Florida (4-0) has some momentum going into their highly touted matchup with #3 Ole Miss (4-0). The last time these two hooked up was in 2008 in The Swamp and Ole Miss escaped with a 31-30 upset victory over a #4 ranked Florida team. As well all know, Tebow gave his famous postgame speech and Florida would go on to win the National Championship that year.

It is very funny to me how the roles are reversed this time around. Ole Miss is a very good team and I honestly believe Florida will not have much of a chance next Saturday. However, it is college football and strange things tend to happen every Saturday. That being said, I am going to pick Ole Miss to win this game. Kickoff time is 7 p.m. on ESPN. It should be a fun one to watch!

Looking ahead for Tennessee (2-2), this is just a brutal loss to suffer. I cannot emphasize enough how close the Vols were to ending a decade of frustration. After they finish venting to Kentucky about how they should have beaten Florida, Tennessee will turn their attention to a home game with a struggling Arkansas (1-3). Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN2.

One final thought: That was one heck of a win! Go Gators! 11 straight years of dominance over the Tennessee Volunteers!

*All stats accredited to,, &

Thursday, September 24, 2015

UF Football: Florida Continues to Own Kentucky

Let me start by saying I am sorry it took me this long to write this article. I was in Charleston, South Carolina, for the whole weekend and my hectic week has not allowed me anytime to blog. As we all know, Florida extended its win streak against Kentucky to 29 straight after a 13-9 victory in Lexington.

In his first road start, Will Grier did enough to bring home the "W" as he completed 13 of 22 passes for 125 yards. He threw one pick and was sacked twice. Grier made more of an impact with his legs as he rushed 12 times for 61 yards and one touchdown.

Grier was actually the leading rusher on the night and right behind him was running back Kelvin Taylor, who rushed for 45 yards and one touchdown on 16 attempts. Apart from Grier and Taylor, no other Gator made an impact on the ground.

In the passing game, tight end Jake McGee and wideout Demarcus Robinson each had three receptions for a total of 46 yards (30 for McGee and 16 for Robinson). The leading yard-getter on the night however, was true freshman Antonio Callaway with 34 yards on just one catch.

As a whole, the Florida offense gained just 245 yards and did enough to beat a stingy Wildcat team who once against came up just short. What carried Florida to victory (as usual) was the stout play of the defense, who gave up 241 yards and did not allow a touchdown. Linebacker Jarrad Davis led the Gator defense with 10 total tackles (1.5 for loss) and right behind him were safeties Keanu Neal and Marcus Maye with nine (1.5 for loss) and eight total tackles, respectively.

The defensive line had a field day as they combined for six sacks! The perpetrators were: Keanu Neal (one), Jonathan Bullard (two), CeCe Jefferson (0.5), Alex McCalister (two), and Caleb Brantley (0.5).

As the D-line kept bringing constant pressure, the secondary feasted. Cornerbacks Vernon Hargreaves III and Quincy Wilson each had an interception (with Wilson's pick ending the game) and broke up one pass each. Brian Poole also had a pass breakup to give the secondary a total of three on the night.

In the special teams department, not much changed. Austin Hardin's only field goal attempt was blocked, but at least he nailed two of his three kickoffs for touchbacks. For punter Johnny Townsend, it was another good outing as he punted six balls for a total of 241 yards and 40.2 yards per punt. He pinned Kentucky inside the 20-yard line once.

At the end of the day, Florida secured its 29th straight win over Kentucky. I was very happy that the defense was on the field at the end to seal the game because I trust the Gator defense way more than the Gator offense to win a game. I am not sure when the offense will become as dynamic as the old Gator teams of the 90s and Tebow-era, but for now I am okay with Coach Mac's system.

The Florida Gators (3-0) now have another streak to defend as the rival Tennessee Volunteers (2-1) come to The Swamp. The Gators have won 10 straight games against the Vols and this may be the year that Tennessee finally breaks through. With breaking news coming Wednesday that cornerback Jalen Tabor has been suspended for the game, Tennessee's chances of winning have climbed ever so slightly. Backup QB Treon Harris was suspended for the game as well (but let's be real, it's not like he was going to play anyways).

This is going to be a great game, but I am going to give the advantage to the Gators with the game being at home. They will win and push the streak to 11 in a hard-fought game. For anyone wondering, the last time Tennessee beat Florida in Gainesville was 2003. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. and the game can be seen on CBS.

As for Kentucky (2-1), they once again have the sour taste of losing to Florida. It will not get any easier for them as the undefeated #25 Missouri Tigers (3-0) come to Lexington with a three-game winning streak against the Wildcats. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. and the game can be seen on the SEC Network. I have Missouri winning this one to improve to 4-0.

*All stats accredited to & Winsipedia

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

UF Football: Florida Escapes with Ugly Win Over ECU

I am not sure where to start with this one. This was an ugly game all around. Florida deserved to lose this game. They committed 12 penalties for 105 yards vs ECU (just a week after they committed one penalty for 10 yards), turned the ball over twice and gave up 10 points off these turnovers, and let the Pirates hang around long enough to make this a close football game.

I was intrigued by this game as soon as I heard in last year's bowl matchup against ECU that the Gators would see them again in 2015. I thought after the loss of wide receiver Justin Hardy and quarterback Shane Carden that this would be a much weaker Pirates team. I was wrong.

The Florida secondary was dominated by junior wideout Isaiah Jones as he hauled in 14 receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown. His QB, fellow junior Blake Kemp, threw for 333 yards and 3 touchdowns while completing 34 passes on 54 attempts. I will say it did help ECU that star cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III was not playing in this game due to an injury he sustained in practice on the Thursday before the game.

Despite ECU's dynamic passing attack, their run game was completely shut down by the Gator defense as they rushed for -13 yards. Linebackers Jarrad Davis and Antonio Morrison led the way with 13 total tackles and a combined 3.5 tackles for loss (2.5 for Davis and 1.0 for Morrison). The next best Gator tackler was sophomore Nick Washington, who had nine.

On the defensive line, junior Joey Ivey dominated as he had three sacks and forced the game-sealing fumble for Florida. Ivey's forced fumble could not have been bigger as ECU was on the Florida 13-yard line with less than 20 seconds to go. There is a good chance that without the turnover, ECU would have tied the game and forced overtime.

In addition to Ivey, defensive backs Marcus Maye and Duke Dawson forced one fumble a piece. These two did a good job stepping up in a secondary without its best player, and their solid play rubbed off on the rest of the DB's as sophomore cornerback Jalen Tabor had a pick six (with two pass breakups) and senior safety Brian Poole broke up three passes. Without another strong showing from the defense, it would have been yet another disappointing loss in the Swamp.

Now on to the offense. In Game Two of the McElwain Era, it was still fun to watch. The Gators gained a total of 373 offensive yards and to me, Will Grier has earned the starting QB spot. Let me break down Grier's game. Playing in eight drives, the redshirt freshman completed 10 of 17 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns. His lone interception came off a dropped pass from receiver Alvin Bailey that deflected right to ECU defensive back Bobby Fulp.

After a three and out on his first drive, Grier looked good. He was not in for the fourth quarter but I believe he is one step closer to securing the starting job if he has not already. For comparison purposes, Treon Harris completed 5 of his 8 passes for 54 yards and no touchdowns in 4 drives of action. To me, the job is Grier's.

I do not think Coach Mac should go with the two QB approach vs the Kentucky Wildcats on the road. There needs to be rhythm on offense and pulling Grier or Harris disrupts their flow. I have heard talk that this approach will be used next game but regardless, I think Will Grier will see substantial playing time again barring a catastrophic meltdown in practice.

Speaking of meltdowns, Coach Mac absolutely lost it on running back Kelvin Taylor. Here is what happened. With a little under seven minutes left in the game, Kelvin scored a touchdown to put the Gators up 14 points. As a celebration, he decided to do a throat slashing sign and was promptly flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. It cost the Gators 15 yards on the ensuing kickoff and Coach Mac was LIVID (Warning: NSFW).

He absolutely laid in to Kelvin when the junior reached the sideline and left all those around him just stunned in silence. In my opinion, Coach Mac had every right to be mad at Kelvin. In a close game with some time left in the fourth quarter, committing dumb penalties that help out the other team is not the best thing to do. It was selfish what Kelvin did and it could have cost Florida the game.

Now some people want to make this a racial issue with a white coach yelling at a black player. That's absurd. Coach Mac was doing his job, which is to win football games. He did not physically hit Kelvin or call him anything offensive. Coach Mac had the best interests of Kelvin and Gator football in mind when he went off.

Now in hindsight, Coach Mac is very remorseful and wishes it could have gone down a different way. According to Kelvin, there are no hard feelings. Check out what he tweeted the day after:
Whether or not Kelvin actually feels this way is not for me to decide, but I do believe he learned from this incident and will not commit another dumb penalty like it anytime soon. Likewise, I believe Coach Mac learned from his outburst too and will become a better coach from it.

Now back to the stats. Stupid penalty aside, Kelvin ran well as he led all Florida running backs with 16 carries, 55 rushing yards, and a touchdown. Behind him the two freshmen Jordans combine for 13 carries and 71 yards (9 rushes and 47 yards for Cronkrite and 4 rushes and 24 yards for Scarlett).

In the air, junior Demarcus Robinson led all receivers with five receptions while catching one touchdown. He finished the game with 55 receptions and made four of his catches on a monster drive in the middle of the third quarter that ended with his touchdown reception.

The leader in receiving yards for the night, however, was sophomore tight end DeAndre Goolsby. He had 94 receiving yards on three catches with one touchdown. The final receiver I will mention is sophomore Brandon Powell, who had three receptions (one of them being a nice catch) and 24 receiving yards.

It is a good thing the offense was competent tonight, because the kicking aspect of special teams was horrendous. Redshirt junior kicker Austin Hardin made just one of his three kicks with the make coming from 37 yards out and the misses from 34 and 35 yards out. I am hoping it is just early season woes as I am not ready for another brutal year of field goal misses.

On a positive note, redshirt sophomore punter Johnny Townsend punted five balls for 216 yards and an average of 43.2 yards per punt. He pinned ECU inside their own 20-yard line once.

At the end of the day, a win is a win. The Gators are 2-0 and were able to stave off an ECU team set out on revenge after losing 28-20 to Florida in the 2015 Birmingham Bowl. The win is definitely embarrassing and ugly, but it is much better than losing. One other thing to note, the Florida Gators are unranked. They are not like #6 Auburn who needed overtime to beat Jacksonville State.

I for one knew this game vs ECU would be close with Florida eventually pulling out a small double digit win. Yes Florida looked bad, but I rather have this happen early in the season than later. With their escape in the Swamp, Florida can now focus on extending their 28-game winning streak vs the hated Kentucky Wildcats (2-0) in Lexington.

I am no oblivious fan. This is going to be a close game. Florida won just 24-7 two years ago in Lexington and escaped with a 36-30 home victory in triple overtime last year. If Florida plays how they did vs ECU AND Vernon Hargreaves III does not play again, Kentucky will end a winning steak that started in 1987.

The Wildcats are not a punching bag anymore and Florida is not the powerhouse it used to be. I am not saying Kentucky is going to win, but Gator fans do not be surprised if they give Florida good fight until the very end. Game time is at 7 p.m. and it can be seen on the SEC Network. I hope I will get to watch it considering I will be in Charleston, South Carolina, for my fraternity's formal that weekend. I will figure it out, I always do.

Anyways, after suffering their first loss of the year, ECU (1-1) will head to Annapolis to play the Navy Midshipmen (1-0). This will be a good game, but I believe that ECU will come out on top. Game time is set for 3:30 p.m.

*All stats accredited to &

Sunday, September 6, 2015

McElwain Era Starts Off On the Right Note

The Jim McElwain Era is off to a good start after Florida's 61-13 drubbing of the New Mexico State Aggies. For the first time in two years, I actually enjoyed watching a Florida Gator football game. There was no predictable offensive play calling, the offense was actually fun to watch, and receivers caught the ball! Even more encouraging, the Gators totaled 606 offensive yards! Florida would have been lucky to even reach half that number last year.

In the ongoing QB battle between sophomore Treon Harris and redshirt freshman Will Grier, I would give the immediate edge to Grier. He finished the night 15 of 17 for 164 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed four times for 43 yards and one touchdown with his longest rush being 38 yards. His only mistake was a fumble in the first half that led to a New Mexico State touchdown on the ensuing drive.

Even though I would prefer Grier to start next week against ECU, I will say that Treon played well enough to keep his name in consideration for the starting job. The second year QB completed 14 of 19 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 23 yards on five attempts. Coach Mac has a hard decision to make, but I am all in on Will Grier.

For me, Grier brings a freshness to Gator football that I just do not feel with Treon. He is the prototypical QB at 6'2 201 lbs and has a good zip on his ball. He also is not afraid to use his legs and stiff arm defenders to gain a few extra yards. In my opinion, the offense will be more efficient with Grier under center. Ask Texas A&M or Florida State about what can happen when you throw a redshirt freshman in as the starting QB.

Conversely, Treon brings a year of experience to the table but is 5'11 195 lbs. I also have questions on Harris's durability as he might not be built to sustain as many hits as Grier. Again, this is Coach Mac's decision to make and I am just giving my opinion on the matter.

On the ground, junior running back Kelvin Taylor will not have to shoulder all of the work load as true freshmen Jordan Cronkrite and Jordan Scarlett looked dynamic tonight. Together, the three backs combined for 112 yards (54 for Taylor, 34 for Scarlett, 24 for Cronkrite) and three touchdowns (one a piece). With this much depth at the running back position in a league as tough as the SEC, the Gators should always have a fresh set of legs ready at all times.

Evaluating the receiving core, 14 Gators had at least one reception. Eight of these players were purely receivers. Junior Demarcus Robinson led the way with five receptions but sophomore Brandon Powell had the most receiving yards with 50 on just two receptions with one touchdown. Sophomore C.J. Warton was the only other Gator receiver with a touchdown.

The three Gator tight ends were highly effective tonight as redshirt senior Jake McGee (18), sophomore DeAndre Goolsby (38), and redshirt freshman C'yontai Lewis (44) combined for 100 receiving yards. McGee had two receptions, Goolsby had three receptions, and Lewis had three receptions with two of them being touchdowns.

The production from the tight end position in this game is really encouraging as it expands the Gator offensive tremendously. If offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier ran a tandem consisting of McGee, Goolsby, or Lewis, it would give the defense even more to worry about. The ideal goal to me is to run the double tight end offense that the Patriots ran with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. If the Gators have two legitimate threats at the tight end position, it takes the focus off of the wide receivers and the running backs.

I would also like to add that I am very happy to see transfer player Jake McGee out on the gridiron for his sixth and final year after suffering a broken fibula and tibia that ended his season in the first game last year. I expect him to be the go-to tight end with Goolsby and Lewis fighting for the number two spot.

Defensively, Geoff Collins and his "psycho defense" held New Mexico State to 200 total offensive yards. Stud All-American cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III kicked off his third and (most likely final) year in a big way as he recorded an interception (which he almost took to the house) and registered four total tackles.

Hargreaves served as the primary punt returner as he fielded eight punts and was even used on offense for a play as he caught a pass for six yards! Despite being burned on one play, VH3 and his secondary were on point as always as they broke up four passes and locked down the Aggies' receivers.

Among the tackling leaders for the Gator defense was junior linebacker Alex Anzalone and sophomore cornerback Jalen Tabor with five tackles a piece (one for loss for Tabor). Tabor also led the secondary with two pass breakups. The Gator defensive line asserted its dominance tonight with three sacks and four tackles for loss. Two of these sacks came from redshirt freshman Justus Reed and were also the first two of his college career while the final sack came from senior Jonathan Bullard.

Even with Muschamp's departure to Auburn, the Gator defense was still flying around and making plays. They will be even more fun to watch once defensive lineman Alex McCalister and safety Marcus Maye return next week from suspension. The offense will be even more loaded as well when senior receiver Latroy Pittman returns from his suspension. The team as a whole looked good tonight.

Before I forget, special teams was on point tonight too. Redshirt junior Austin Hardin made both of his field goal attempts with the longest being 36 yards out. He had 10 touchbacks on 11 kickoffs and had just one extra point blocked. Solid play from special teams is going to be huge for the Gators this year, and tonight was a step in the right direction.

Now I know this is New Mexico State and the Gators were supposed to blow them out, but I cannot help but be excited about this year. I know the ceiling for wins rests at about eight, but I am just happy that the Gators are fun to watch again. The days of anemic offenses and getting bailed out by the defense are hopefully dead and gone for good.

With the first win of Coach Mac's coaching career at Florida in the books, it is time to turn to next week's opponent in the Eastern Carolina Pirates (1-0). ECU is coming off a victory over the Towson Tigers (0-1) and is looking to avenge its loss to the Gators in the 2014 Birmingham Bowl. This should be a good game, but the Gators will ultimately win in a convincing fashion. Game time is set for 7 p.m in the Swamp.

As for New Mexico State (0-1), they will look to earn their first win of the season with a home game against the Georgia State Panthers (0-1) next Saturday at 8 p.m.

*All stats accredited to

Friday, September 4, 2015

Will Muschamp vs Al Golden

Before attending the University of Florida for my undergraduate degree, I was a huge Miami Hurricanes fan. For some of my readers, this may be shocking to hear. For others, y'all are probably wondering why it took me so long to finally say it.

When Al Golden took over the Miami Hurricanes in 2011, I was excited. Randy Shannon (now currently the linebackers coach for the Gators) had led Miami to three mediocre seasons in four years and now a new sense of hope and optimism was present with Golden's hiring.

I was able to excuse a 6-6 campaign in 2011 followed by a 7-5 finish in 2012. After 2012, it was time for me to move on from my Miami ways and become a Florida Gator. The Gators had gone 11-2 in 2012 and were ranked as high as #2 before finishing with a loss in the 2013 Sugar Bowl to Louisville. Starting the season ranked in the Top-10. I was finally happy to be rooting for a great college football team.

Alas, I was wrong. My freshman year at the University of Florida was the worst season since 1979 as the Gators went 4-8 and lost to Vandy and an FCS team in The Swamp. Worst of all, my old 'Canes beat Florida in Miami that year and started out hot with an 8-0 record before faltering to 9-4.

After that season, all of my animosity was directed towards Florida's head coach Will Muschamp. I was done with him. I did not want him to come back because I knew 2014 would be the same. And I was right. Muschamp did come back and went 7-5 before being fired and replaced by Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain.

As the 2015 season kicks off today, I am excited about Gator football. A new coach always brings that blank slate mentality that a program needs every once and a while. Regardless of how the season pans out, I can finally root for the Gators without holding back.

As for Miami Hurricane fans, they will have to deal with what I went through in 2014: A lame duck coach. Al Golden enters his fifth year at the helm and on the hot seat. Barring a miraculous season that includes an ACC title, Golden will not be the head coach o the 'Canes in 2016.

Now let me get to the main point of all this. Entering my third year of college, I have finally begun to notice some similarities between Will Muschamp and Al Golden. With these similarities in mind, I pose this question: Who was the worse of the two?

A Case For Will Muschamp

Now from the outside looking in, many might be inclined to say Will Muschamp because he changed the Florida Gators from National Champs into national chumps. With the latter I agree completely, in four seasons Muschamp went 29-21 with his worst season being 2013 (4-8). His led the Gators to two bowl appearances with a victory in the 2012 Gator Bowl and a loss in the 2013 Sugar Bowl.

'Champ boasted a winning record in three of his four seasons, but against rivals he was horrendous as Florida went 3-9. He only beat Florida State, LSU, and Georgia once. In addition to the lopsided rivalries, Florida also suffered losses to teams like Vanderbilt and Georgia Southern in 2013 with a near upset vs UL-Monroe during homecoming in 2012.

The only bright spot to come out of the Muschamp Era is the NFL talent that Florida produced. 22 Gators were drafted during Muschamp's tenure (granted most of them were Urban Meyer's guys, but I guess 'Champ developed them to an extent. Here's the year by year breakdown of draftees:

  • 2012: 2
  • 2013: 8 (Sharrif Floyd & Matt Elam 1st rounders) 
  • 2014: 4 (Dominique Easley 1st rounder)
  • 2015: 8 (Dante Fowler Jr. & D.J. Humphries 1st rounders)

Of these 22, five were first rounders. They were:

  • 2013: Sharrif Floyd 23rd overall & Matt Elam 32nd overall
  • 2014: Dominique Easley 29th overall
  • 2015: Dante Fowler Jr. 3rd overall & D.J. Humphries 24th overall

Looking back, I am still infuriated at how terrible of a head coach Muschamp was. But before I make a verdict, let's look at Al Golden's resume.

A Case For Al Golden

Al Golden's numbers are very similar to Muschamp's as he boasts a record of 28-22. He has led Miami to two bowl Appearances, which have both been losses. In four years, he has two winning seasons with a .500 season his first year and a 6-7 campaign in 2014.

His best year was 2013, when Miami stared 8-0 and reached as high as #7 in the polls before losing four of their next five games. Al Golden, like Will Muschamp, struggles against rival schools. He is 3-6 vs all of the U's rivals and has never beaten Florida State (I mean even 'Champ somehow pulled off at least one win, in Tallahassee no less!).

Besides contributing to the mediocrity and decline of the Miami Hurricanes football program which has been ongoing since 2005, Golden has done his part in sending his players to the next level. 18 total Hurricanes have been drafted in Golden's four years. Here's the year by year breakdown:

  • 2012: 6 
  • 2013: 2
  • 2014: 3
  • 2015: 7

Only two 'Canes in the Golden Era have been first rounders. Both were Ereck Flowers (9th overall) and Phillip Dorsett (29th overall) in 2015.

The Verdict
Both of these coaches are not good with each having a fluke season of major success. In my biased opinion, Will Muschamp is the worse of the two. Here's my reasoning. At Miami, Al Golden had the expectation of winning, but at the very least he has been able to keep the program mired in the same mediocre. With Muschamp, we are talking about a guy who drove Florida football into the ground and made the Gators the laughing stock of both the SEC and the country.

As Miami dwells in the cellar where it has made a nice home, Florida looks to get out with the key supplied by the savior in Jim McElwain. As Florida begins to rebuild its reputation around the nation, Miami will still have the same problem over and over unless the program rids itself of Golden. Even the great play of sophomore QB Brad Kaaya will not save Golden.

Let's also not forget by the way that as long as the Gators and 'Canes struggle, Florida State will continue to run rampant around the country until one of them stands up and finally slays this mighty giant.

*All stats accredited to