Suffering through a miserable and admittedly injury-riddled 2013 season thus far, 4-4 Florida has seen the calls for the head of Will Muschamp on a platter, silver or otherwise, grow in intensity and volume in recent weeks.
Saturday afternoon in The Swamp, his Gators aren’t exactly helping the “Save the ‘Champ” cause.
In a place where they haven’t won since 1945, Vanderbilt took advantage of a pair of Tyler Murphy miscues to take a 17-3 lead into halftime. The Gator quarterback tossed two interceptions that were ultimately turned into 14 points by the Commodores.
While the Gators held Vandy to 92 first-half yards, their anemic offense could muster just 140. The ‘Dores came in 63rd in the country in run defense at 162.5 yards per game; Florida managed a meager 61 yards on 21 carries (2.9 ypc) the first two quarters.
If Florida fails to mount a comeback and falls to 4-5 on the season — and runs the losing streak to four straight — the Gators would need to win at least two of their remaining three games to become bowl-eligible. The opponents in those three contests? Georgia Southern sandwiched between a road trip to No. 12 South Carolina and the regular-season finale against No. 2 Florida State in Gainesville.
The Gators have not been shut out of the postseason since 1990, the first season with Steve Spurrier as head coach. While they were 9-2 that season, they were ineligible for a bowl due to NCAA sanctions. The last time UF played its way to a bowl-less season? The 6-5 1986 squad.
In closing, here’s what we wrote last Sunday morning. You discuss:
When Ron Zook was fired as Florida’s head coach in late October of 2004 — he was allowed to finish out the season — the Gators were 20-13 overall and 14-7 in the SEC during his two-plus years in Gainesville. Zook’s three-year record with the Gators was 23-14 and 16-8. On the first weekend of November this year, and in his third season at UF, Will Muschamp is 22-12 overall and 13-9 in conference play following the loss to Georgia.
UPDATED 3:33 p.m. ET: The final score: Vanderbilt 34, Florida 17. The chatter is already mounting that Muschamp could be canned at some point this weekend, although that’s highly unlikely. What’s becoming increasingly clear, however, is that athletic director Jeremy Foley will have a monumental decision to make at season’s end — provided he doesn’t have a quick trigger, of course.