Pluses, minuses, candidates and more – The Athletic

The Dan Mullen era at Florida is over after one of the quickest collapses we’ve ever seen.

One year after pushing Alabama to the limit in the SEC championship game, the Gators took the Tide down to the final play earlier this season. But the wheels fell off quickly. There were losses to Kentucky and an undermanned LSU. An understandable blowout loss to Georgia and then a stunning blowout loss to South Carolina. Then Samford scored 42 points in the first half before the Gators lost in overtime to Missouri to fall to 5-6 overall and 2-6 in the SEC. The collapse on the field came amid struggles in recruiting, which Mullen downplayed publicly.

The past four Florida head coaching tenures have unraveled in odd fashion, from Urban Meyer’s health issues to Will Muschamp losing to Georgia Southern one year after going to the Sugar Bowl to Jim McElwain’s strange death threat comments to Mullen’s team falling apart this year.

McElwain was 16-3 in SEC play with two division titles before being fired three games later. Mullen nearly knocked off Alabama and didn’t last much longer. It’s a job with high expectations and for good reason. It once again needs someone to clean things up.

So how good is the Florida job? What names could get in the mix? Here are some factors to keep in mind.

Where does Florida rank among open jobs?

In a year when there isn’t a deep pool of candidates for top jobs, this is the third elite job to open already, after LSU and USC. Both of those schools have a long head start, and all three programs claim national championships this century. They’re also all in strong recruiting areas.

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