Dan Mullen thrilled Gator fans in 2020 with an explosive trip to the SEC Championship game against Alabama. The Gator offense was one of the most prolific in college football history and was headlined by a trio of now NFL players Kyle Trask, Kyle Pitts, and Kadarius Toney. The games and the stats made a compelling case for what Gator football could look like going forward under Mullen who was the Florida offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer.
Those results were marred by a disastrous run down the stretch that saw the Gators fall from 8-1 on December 5th to 8-4 on December 30th. The Gators went on to lose out their last three games of the season: a penalty marred foggy mess against LSU, a close exhausting game against soon-to-be national champion Alabama and an uninspired beatdown at the hands of Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl.
But that was all last year.
Unfortunately, 2021 is off to an even worse start. The penalties, the uninspired performances, and the losses have continued to bleed over from the end of 2020 into 2021 and it is putting pressure on Dan Mullen to get his team to perform.
Taking into account the last three games of the previous season the Gators have lost six out of their last eight Power 5 games. They are 2-5 against SEC opponents going back to December of last year. During this skid, the Gators are losing by an average of 10 points per game. Opponents have scored an average of 40 points on the Gators in each of those losses.
The only wins the Gators have during this stretch have been against Florida Atlantic, South Florida, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt.
These numbers are ugly and they are beginning to be noticed. With the ousting of Ed Orgeron from LSU, the pressure is now on Dan Mullen - especially since Mullen just lost to that LSU team whose coach was already on the way out. Dan Mullen wasn't brought in to help the Gators beat up on inferior competition, he was brought in to bring back the magic of the Meyer era.
The losses have brought to light the Gators' unacceptable number of penalties and penalty yards per game, raised questions about freshman phenom Anthony Richardson's game time, and has some media outlets wondering if Mullen is a good long-term fit for the Gators going forward. Dan Mullen is under contract through the 2026 season having just signed a three-year extension earlier this year. A buyout would be expensive and embarrassing for Florida who still has two large buyouts on their books from Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain.
The Gators can begin their bounce-back campaign against #1 ranked Georgia on October 30th. That game is scheduled to take place in Jacksonville, Florida at 3:30 PM.