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

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