Feel gratitude for David Wunderlich watching Florida football replays: He does it so you don’t have to, reader, right down to breaking down exactly how badly both quarterbacks played versus Kentucky. Is there an open man in the flat? You bet. Did either quarterback hit said open man, in different scenarios, but with the same lack of vision? YOU BET THEY DIDN’T.
We bring this up not to make fun of Florida’s middling-to-ineffective quarterback play—it’s not their fault they’re badly taught—but to note one of those things where someone points out something so accurately that you go YES. THAT. THAT THING EXACTLY.
Thing is, when McElwain’s teams lose, they tend to lose by a lot. Not only is only one of his nine losses by a single score, only two others (Alabama 2015, Tennessee 2016) are by no more than 14. Four of them—nearly half—were by 21 or more.
If you’re wondering what the exact frustration is with a coach who is, yes, 9-1 in close games as head coach at Florida, that’s it exactly: That a lot of these games shouldn’t have even been close, and that the losses on the ledger are massive, horribly timed, and come against rival programs in matchups that serve as the bellwethers of the program’s overall health.
It’s rebound coach territory at its finest. Good enough with what they’ve got to more than pay the bills, but unable to get much more than that in terms of talent, wins against those rival programs, and heavily qualified titles and sub-championships. Florida in year three under McElwain is strictly East Coast Subdivisional Mountain Circuit Champion material. There are belts to carry in the ring, and they have a lot of territorial definition written into them. (Does this make the SEC East title the Intercontinental Welterweight Belt? You’re damn right it does.)
The WWE universal heavyweight belt stays out of reach, i.e. even a plausible shot at Alabama in the SEC title game, a top five finish, or the kinds of things that Florida—yes, still, after eight years of sustained stretches of relative mediocrity—wants out of football. Worse, this is happening when most of the SEC East is in even worse shape, and should be easily lapped or surpassed by a program this big, and with this much money to throw around.
That’s the frustration. A good 50% of it comes from the worst kind of spoilage: A fanbase that got the immediate mainline hit of two national titles in three years, only to write checks and invest in a program that crashed immediately afterwards. The rest comes from a legitimate beef with execution, recruiting, and—logic be damned—style.
Oh god, we just realized something: Florida might be the subprime football program, and maybe we’re just mad that we’ll never have a five car garage again without committing some kind of financial crime or serious malfeasance.
P.S. Here’s Shannon Sharpe saying “Skip”, which we’re playing over and over again to avoid uncomfortable truths about our football program.