Coach Will Muschamp’s transformation of the Florida football program from a 7-6 team in his first year to an 11-1 club that finished the regular season ranked No. 3 in the BCS standings in a year’s time has been amazing.
Florida, which played the nation’s toughest schedule per the NCAA, was 4-1 against BCS top-12 teams, 4-1 against teams that were ranked at the time of the game and 7-1 against teams which will play in bowl games.
While going 1-3 on the road last season, the Gators went 4-0 this season, which is not counting the game at Jacksonville, a neutral site. The Gators had two losses at home a year ago, but went 7-0 this year.
The Gators were last in the SEC in turnover margin last season at minus-12. They finished this regular season tied for the SEC lead with plus-17.
UF was outscored 86-59 in the fourth quarter last season. It turned it around this season by outscoring teams 115-29 in the game’s final 15 minutes.
Florida finished 7-1 in the SEC a season after going 3-5. The four-win improvement in conference play matches the best in program history (1954: Gators went 5-2 in SEC after going 1-3-2 the previous season; 1980: Gators went 4-2 in SEC after going 0-6 in the 1979 season).
Muschamp is the only first-time head coach at a BCS-conference school to win 11 regular-season games in his second season after finishing .500 or worse the previous regular season in records back to 1996. The five-game turnaround in the regular season marked the biggest one-year leap for the program in 32 years (0-10-1 in 1979, 7-4 regular season in 1980).
Muschamp is the third UF coach to record 10 wins in his second season as head coach, joining Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer.
Impressive stuff indeed. And that’s just without digging deeper into the statistical improvements.
“Heck of a season,” Muschamp said. “We have an outstanding staff that’s completely on board with what we are trying to do and we have all the support as we continue to move forward.”
Muschamp and the Gators have exceeded expectations in Year 2. What does he have for an encore in the following seasons? The Gators are already off to a great start in that regard by having the No. 1-ranked 2013 recruiting class, according to ESPN.
“At the University of Florida, we’re about winning championships,” Muschamp said. “We’re about going to Atlanta (site of the SEC championship game). We didn’t achieve that goal. That’s important to me. … Everybody wants to talk about we’ve arrived and we’re back. Hell, we haven’t won a championship. Until we’ve won a championship, I’m going to have a hard time saying we’ve arrived or we’re back at all.”