SEC media days storylines -- No. 8

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comJuly 6, 2014 

After going 4-8 last season, Florida coach Will Muschamp has no margin for error in 2014.

MARK CORNELISON — Herald-Leader

Editor's note: SEC media days begin July 14. Every year, a theme seems to emerge, whether it's a tiff between coaches or a cause taken up by commissioner Mike Slive. But with a little more than a week until it arrives, what are the top storylines entering the annual media event? Ryan Black gives his take, counting down from 10-1.

No. 8: "Hot seat" talk

Compared to say, two years ago, nearly every coach in the SEC enters the fall in good standing with his school's administration, and every bit as (if not more) importantly, the team's fan base. There is one notable exception, of course: Florida's Will Muschamp.

Think he'll be reminded of his tenuous job status at media days? (Don't answer that. It's a rhetorical question.)

Written about in much more detail here, Muschamp can't afford a repeat of last season, when the Gators went 4-8 and missed out on a bowl for the first time since 1990. Even that year came with a cavaet, as the only reason Florida didn't make a postseason appearance was because it was on NCAA probation. So perhaps Florida's 1979 campaign is a more apt comparison for the calamity that was last season. In 1979, the Gators finished 0-10, the last time they had a losing season before 2013.

Two things are working against Muschamp. First, he's at a program that is not far removed from dominance, as his predecessor, Urban Meyer, led the Gators to 65 wins, two Southeastern Conference championships and a pair of BCS titles in just six seasons in Gainesville. Second, consider Florida's reputation. Even without the specter of Meyer's lofty achievements (and Steve Spurrier before that), many believe it's one of the best jobs in the country — and that's if it's not at the top of the list. Athlon Sports ranked it No. 2 (behind Texas) earlier this year.

Per the article:

Pros: Location. Location. Location. Florida is a public university in a state that produces a tremendous amount of top-flight talent. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium offers one of the best atmospheres in college football, and the fan base is as rabid as there is in the nation.

In summation, Athlon Sports wrote "There is no excuse not to be good at Florida."

And if that's not enough, check out this mind-numbing stat: For all the grief Ron Zook received during three-year tenure from 2002-04, he actually has a better record and higher percentage than Muschamp.

Take a look:

  • Zook's three years: 23-14 (.622 winning percentage)
  • Muschamp's three years to this point: 22-16 (.579)

Ouch.

Aside from Muschamp, one other coach who may be asked about his job security at media days is Bret Bielema. His first season at Arkansas was a disaster, with the Razorbacks going 3-9, ending the year on a nine-game skid and finishing winless in conference play (0-8) for the first time in school history. Still, he stepped into a rebuilding job; Muschamp didn't.

Until he turns things around — and it's no guarantee it will happen — Muschamp's future will be a hot topic.

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