Say this for Will Muschamp. He stepped down/was fired with class.
In his media sessions this week, Muschamp was gracious and even playful when discussing his ouster as Florida’s coach. How are you doing, Muschamp was asked on the SEC’s weekly coaches teleconference.
“Great,” he said. “How do you think I’m doing? I’m just kidding.”
When he met with Florida reporters earlier in the week, Muschamp was blunt in his self-assessment.
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“We didn’t win enough football games,” said Muschamp, whose Gators are 5-4 this season and 27-20 since was hired for the 2011 season. “We didn’t get that done. Very disappointed and frustrated that it did not happen.”
Muschamp said he wants to continue coaching, and as a successful defensive coordinator at LSU, Auburn and Texas before landing the Florida gig, he should have no problem on he job market. The destination might even be in the SEC. Rumors already are flying about him landing at Auburn or South Carolina or Texas A&M.
“I’m looking for the next step, but what that will be I have no idea,” he said.
As for his replacement, Bovada, the online wagering service, made Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy the favorite, and even specuated on Thursday how Florida would be faring this season with the offensive-minded Gundy as head coach instead of Muschamp. PredictionMachine.com projected a Gundy-led Gators’ final record of 9-3 from an average of 50,000 simulations.
The site added about five points per game on offense and 1 1/2 on defense to come up with the projection.
Saturday’s SEC games
▪ Eastern Kentucky at Florida, 11 a.m., SEC Network: The Gators are one victory away from bowl eligilblity and two regular-season games away from the conclusion of Will Muschamp’s head coaching career in Gainesville. If Florida makes a bowl, an assistant will take over for the postseason prep.
▪ Charleston Southern at Georgia, 11 a.m., SEC Network: It’s back to lead back status for Nick Chubb after the season-ending knee injury to Todd Gurley. Charleston Southern is 8-3 and lost by one point to Vanderbilt, so the Buccaneers will have Georgia’s attention.
▪ South Alabama at South Carolina, 11 a.m., no local TV: This game falls at a bad time for the Gamecocks, coming off the Florida victory and looking forward to Clemson next week. There’s some buzz about Steve Spurrier stepping down after this disappointing season. He told The State in Columbia before the victory over the Gators: “You probably have some questions that I’m going to have a tough time answering. If it’s got anything to do with coaches coming back next year, me coming back next year, I am just going to refrain from all that. Let’s get through this season here and see where we are all at is probably the smartest thing for all of us to do right now.”
▪ Mississippi at Arkansas, 2:30 p.m., CBS (Ch. 5): Letdown week for the Razorbacks? Possibly after last week’s victory over LSU. But that makes Arkansas 1-17 its last 18 SEC games, and the hunger should remain. Arkansas is one victory away from qualifying for a bowl game, which would be a terrific accomplishment in Bret Bielema’s second year.
▪ Western Carolina at Alabama, 3 p.m., SEC Network: The Catamounts are 7-4 and Tide coach Nick Saban called them “a good little team” earlier this week. Next year’s similar mid-November fodder will be Charleston Southern.
▪ Samford at Auburn, 6 p.m., ESPNU: Of all the walkover games in the SEC this weekend, this one has the best story line. Samford is coached by Pat Sullivan, Auburn’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback in 1971.
▪ Missouri at Tennessee, 6:30 p.m., ESPN: The Tigers look to make it three straight over Tennessee as SEC members. Vols quarterback Josh Dobbs has been terrific passing and runner since becoming a starter, but he’ll run into a superb defense led by ends Shane Ray and Marcus Golden.
▪ Vanderbilt at Mississippi State, 6:30 p.m., SEC Network: After spending the last month with a target on its back, the Bulldogs now become the hunter, needing to win to keep up with Alabama in the Western Division race. Dak Prescott looks to get back on track in the Heisman race.
Saturday’s Big 12 games
▪ Kansas at Oklahoma, 11 a.m., Fox Sports 1: The Sooners trailed 21-7 early in the third quarter last week against Texas Tech when they switched to a ground and pound attack. The result was five second-half touchdowns, four on the ground, and a 42-30 victory.
▪ Texas Tech at Iowa State, 2:30 p.m., Fox Sports KC: Some team that hasn’t felt good about itself in a while will get a victory. Tech has lost seven of eight. The Cyclones are winless in the Big 12. Red Raiders quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for 393 yards and four touchdowns against the Sooners last week. He played for Davis Webb, out because of an ankle injury. Webb is expected back this week and Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury hasn’t announced a starter.
▪ Oklahoma State at Baylor, 6:30 p.m., Fox (Ch. 4): It gets worse for Oklahoma State, losers of four straight. Quarterback Daxx Garman may not play because of concussion symptons suffered against Texas. If Garman can’t go, the next man up is freshman Mason Rudolph, who hasn’t played this season and was hoping to redshirt.