For Florida football fans this has been a year to forget. Who woke up on Saturday September 2nd, just hours before the kickoff in Dallas, expecting this outcome?
Since Jim McElwain’s firing on October 29th there has been no talk about the football games that have been played each week since. The focus has entirely been on the coaching search. And with good reason. There are a lot of issues that the new coach will have to sort out.
For the first couple of weeks the speculation was fun. Scott Frost, Mike Norvell, Dan Mullen, Bob Stoops. We knew we wouldn’t hear anything for a while because these coaches were all with their team (except the retired Stoops).
Then rumors came to life and it seemed as if Chip Kelly wanted to be a Gator. This brought excitement to Gator Nation. His high-flying offense and 46-7 career college coaching record and four BCS bowl appearances had the fan base salivating. Why go after Frost (Kelly’s WR coach at Oregon), when you can go after his mentor?
Despite having a signed deal in place, according to Darren Heitner of The Sports Agent’s Blog, Kelly was interested in the recently opened UCLA position. Kelly apparently talked Florida officials into giving him a window to back out of the deal in case another job interested him more.
Saturday proved to be a day much worse than any Florida fan expected. As is often said, bad things happen in threes.
First: just hours before kickoff of Florida-Florida State, the ESPN notification sounded:
Chip Kelly has agreed to become head coach at UCLA.
That put a damper on the tailgating, especially since Nebraska fired coach Mike Riley Friday night and AD Bill Moos specifically mentioned his interest in Frost.
Second: Gator fans went into the FSU game relatively confident. This is not a good Seminoles team. We should be able to beat them and keep them from bowl-eligibility.
However, it didn’t take long for fans to realize that wouldn’t happen either. Although the defense played well, holding FSU’s offense to only 216 yards, the offense never found a rhythm and turned the ball over four times. Florida fell to their rival 38-22. This was the fifth straight win by the Seminoles in the series.
Third: the sudden decommitment of top WR prospect Jacob Copeland served as the third big loss of the day.
Leave your negative thoughts to yourself. God has a plan for me❗️🙏🏾💯 pic.twitter.com/RBBw3nAddi
— Jacob Copeland 🐐 (@JCope1era) November 26, 2017
Copeland is a Top-50 overall prospect from Pensacola and is now considered an Alabama lean by 247sports.com.
Florida AD Scott Stricklin needs to find his new coach as soon as possible, if for no other reason than to prove to Gators fans that the sky isn’t falling.
Saturday sure seems to be the epitome of the entire season. Florida suffered three big losses, and seemingly can do nothing right.
But there is hope for the future. The Sunday morning sun will rise, and eventually, Florida will have a new coach.