They are already talking about it all over the airwaves in Florida. Dan Mullen needs to replace Will Muschamp in Gainesville.
While the Gator faithful may put on a full court press to secure the offensive mind to come back the school that he helped win two national titles in the last eight seasons, the move may not be the best for the head man in Starkville. It looks like he and his Mississippi State Bulldogs are having too much fun being the best team in college football right now.
So why leave?
I am pretty sure at the end of the season, there will be more than just the Gator Nation who will want Mullen’s services, but I am also betting he stays put.
Here are a few reasons why.
Steve Spurrier had Bobby Bowden. Pat Dye had Vince Dooley. Bo had Woody and right now, Gus Malzahn has Nick Saban. College football is all about the rivalries and personalities that make up great traditions. This year, no greater game to be played is the Egg Bowl. And Mullen and Hugh Freeze are the two hottest coaches in the country.
If Mullen moves on to another school, he will have to gain some more momentum in the recruiting battles that lie ahead. Right now, his team is the best in the nation, which is appealing. Plus his time at Florida affords him a chance to go into the state and recruit players based on his reputation. Also – should he move on to a bigger school, he competes with larger quantities of programs. Basically, The Bulldogs and the Rebels are the only game in two for big time college football.
A BIG FISH IN A LITTLE POND
Someone asked my yesterday why not go to Florida and build the school up. EXACTLY! Why leave a school where you are a huge fish in a small pond where winning has not been as successful as you would like in the past? It took Mullen a few years to get here. Remember 8-4 was the accepted norm in Starkville. Now, with this season, 10 wins will be expected and a goal this team with restocking of players can be achieved with his leadership.
IT’S THE SEC
That is the biggest reason of all. Florida may be in the SEC and other schools may come calling like Miami, possible North Carolina, and Michigan. But playing in the SEC West, which proved to be the better division this year in SEC play, is what coaches dream of doing.
If Mullen were to leave for another program, Mississippi State may take a few steps back (like Vanderbilt with James Franklin). The alumni and the athletic department will do whatever it has to so Mullen remains on campus for a while.
FLORIDA DOES NOT OFFER HIM A BETTER CHANCE FOR SUCCESS
Why does everyone think that Florida can offer Mullen the best chance to be the best? The Florida program right now is in a state of Emergency. The offense needs help. Kurt Roper cannot fix it. That affects recruiting. While there are many people who want to see Mullen in orange and blue, there are some who are cognizant of the fact Mullen worked under Urban Meyer. Association may backfire.
While Mullen knows the spread offense, making it a staple in Gainesville again may not be the best idea.
There are moments when players come along and wow a program and put it on the map. Dak Prescott was an afterthought amongst All-American picks. At the beginning of the season, he was third or fourth in comparison to other passers in the SEC – a conference that lost more pure talent behind center in 2014 than it had lost in the past decade.
Prescott is now the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy over Marcus Mariota, Todd Gurley who is not playing, Melvin Gordon and Amari Cooper. He has proven to be better than Auburn’s Nick Marshall as well. And chances are, he stays to play next season.