I know you're getting sick of me. Sick and tired of my constant, mostly unwavering opposition to Florida head coach Will Muschamp in the comments of this site and on Twitter. So I have good news.
No more bemoaning the decision to keep Muschamp after Georgia Southern and 4-8. No more incessant complaining over his inability to retain coaches or develop players on the offensive side of the ball. It's football season now, and I'd rather just win some damn football games. It's been far too long.
In spite of everything, I like Muschamp. He talks like I do. He, like me, is a little bit overweight and seems completely comfortable with the beer-to-beer belly tradeoff. He keeps his players out of trouble for the most part. He's funny on Twitter as a real guy and as a parody. I find his self-deprecating humor to be a breath of fresh air in a climate of say-nothing coachspeak. Some have a problem with his fiery sideline demeanor, but I think his temper is downright Spurrieresque and I love it.
Plus, he's a really, really, really good defensive coach.
I was never one of the FireRonZook.com guys who actively rooted against Florida with the hope that a season in the tank would get the Zooker fired. I wasn't a fan of Zook's, but I was still a Gator fan. I wanted us to win all our games, but I wasn't terribly mad about the loss to Mississippi State in 2004. By that point I knew that would bring about the change we needed.
Saturday is opening day, and although Muschamp is a very pedestrian 22-16 as a head coach, the Gators are 0-0 in 2014. It's a new season, and there's nothing stopping this team from winning every game on the schedule and playing in Atlanta, New Orleans/Pasadena and Dallas.
I don't REALLY think that's going to happen. I'm not going to stop being critical of Muschamp when he deserves it. But I am not so down on Florida's head coach that I have no hope for 2014. When you are a fan, there is always hope. Otherwise, what's the point of even showing up?
Here are my 18 more specific hopes for Florida in 2014:
- I hope Florida hangs half a hundred on Idaho on Saturday. Or on anybody. At any time. Any time at all.
- I hope bringing my nine-month-old son to his first Gator game on Saturday isn't a huge mistake. Please don't publicly shame me if I have to leave early.
- I hope Florida's backups get significant reps in weeks one and two.
- I hope Florida extends a really ridiculous win streak over Kentucky. #28isGreat
- I hope Muschamp does what Urban Meyer couldn't do in Tuscaloosa: Win, or at least stay competitive.
- I hope Florida extends another really, really ridiculous win streak and beats Tennessee for the 10th year in a row.
- I hope the LSU game is exciting, and yeah, I thought the 2012 punt-fest was one of the more exciting games I've been to in The Swamp. I don't care about style as long as we win.
- I hope we prove that Missouri doesn't actually belong in the SEC.
- I hope Muschamp finally gets a win in Jacksonville.
- I hope we don't lose to Vanderbilt again. Ever. Ever. Ever. That shit is for Georgia.
- I hope I don't have to have that fleeting thought I had in the second half of the 2004 Mississippi State game: "If we lose this one, it's probably better in the long run."
- I hope Steve Spurrier wins the SEC again one day, but not this year, and never by virtue of beating Florida to win the East. It would be OK if we're already out of contention by that point but wait hold on we're supposed to be hopeful here. Just stop talking.
- I hope Jeremy Foley stops scheduling the likes of Eastern Kentucky. The occasional road game would not bankrupt the program or plunge Alachua County into a deep depression.
- I hope Florida State doesn't win another national championship, and I hope it's not up to Florida to stop them. (But if we managed to knock off the undefeated Noles at the end of November in Tallahassee, that would be just the best.)
- I hope we make it to Atlanta, but I hope we don't have to play anybody twice. Bring me Auburn, or something.
- I hope we make the playoffs, I hope by some freak accident we wind up playing a semifinal game in Pasadena, and I hope I can work the Rose Parade into my schedule. My mom would really like it if I took her to that.
- I hope we play for a national championship, and I hope we get to play Ohio State, and I hope we beat Urban Meyer by one thousand million touchdowns. (And I hope Muschamp would call some late timeouts.) (And go for two.) (A few times.)
- Finally, I hope most of all that we know, one way or another, this year: Is Will Muschamp the man for the job? I hope we don't finish 8-4.