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AASRS: When Should The Florida Gators Contend For Championships?

For search and informational purposes, the Alligator Army Summer Reading Series shall now officially be referred to as the AASRS. Why? Because we can.

In the simplest of forms, what I am asking is when do you expect the Gators to contend for championships (SEC and/or National) under the Will Muschamp regime? This is kind of meant to be a best case scenario type of post. 

Feel free to factor in the new coaches, incoming freshman (this year and the prospective ones in the future), returning players, schedule (present and future), and anything else you'd like. This isn't meant to be an in-depth look at the future at all, but rather just a quick overview on how things may or may not affect your conclusion.

Personally, I've always said that a head coach should be given three years. By that I mean, a head coach should be given three years to contend for championships in any sport. For the Gators, that means, that by the end of the 2013 season, my expectation is that the Gators should be playing and become a serious contender to win the SEC East. Just being fodder for the SEC West champion in Atlanta doesn't count. A legitimate shot at winning it is the only thing that matters.

We know what the 2011 schedule looks like and it doesn't appear to be easy at all. But then again, when is an SEC schedule every that easy anyway. We've kind of already touched on the 2011 season and what our expectations are (we will still get deeper into the 2011 season in the near future) for not only just the team, but a few players/positions as well.

As for the 2012 season, well, aside from breaking in what will more than likely be a sophomore quarterback with maybe a start or two, the schedule is typical of a Florida Gators schedule. LSU and Auburn at home, Florida State and Tennessee on the road, all of that good stuff. Is that the year that the Gators should be a legitimate contender for SEC and National Championships? Maybe.

What about 2013? The Gators get Tennessee and Florida State at home, but have to go on the road to LSU and Miami (among the usual SEC teams). Is this the year that Jeff Driskel or maybe Jacoby Brissett takes advantage of a year under his belt as a starting quarterback and guides the Gators to an SEC Championship? Could be.

With all of that being said, 2013 is the year for me. That is the year that I fully expect the Gators to become (at worst) legitimate contenders for not only SEC Championships but also National Championships. Urban Meyer was able to do it in two years. Will Muschamp arguably is inheriting a more talented team, or is he? That is definitely a serious debate and one that would be extremely hard to answer at this point. I think Urban Meyer inherited a slightly better team in 2005 than Muschamp is in 2011, but that is just me. I also think that the SEC is a better conference top to bottom now than it was in 2005.

Again, I'm not saying that if Muschamp doesn't lead the Gators to the National Championship in 2013 and win it, that Jeremy Foley should be giving him his walking papers by any means. But by 2013, I do expect him to lead the Gators into that echelon.

We must remember that the expectations of the program lead to the last three coaches the Gators had leaving the program. Whether they left by resigning, being fired or taking a temporary leave of absence is irrelevant, it is clear that this is a program that expects nothing less than championships every year. But let's wait a year or two and give Muschamp room to breathe, grow the program so that he is in position to succeed before we get out those for-sale signs.