It wouldn't be surprising to see head coach Will Muschamp fired within the next couple of days after the Florida Gators lost to Georgia Southern 26-20. If you were on the fence about his job security, there's no question where you stand now.
Muschamp must go.
The only question is, where do the Gators turn from here?
The dream scenario for Florida would be to bring back Charlie Strong. The current Louisville head coach was the defensive coordinator for Florida from 2002 to 2009. He was also a graduate assistant for the program in 1983 and coached the outside linebackers in 1988-1989.
He has led the Cardinals to three straight bowl games, including a BCS bowl last year, and he is an excellent recruiter. Louisville has the 28th-best recruiting class, according to 247Sports, and several of those top players have come from Florida.
With his familiarity of the program and deep ties to the state, Strong would thrive as head coach of the Gators.
The problem is convincing him to leave Louisville, as the program showed how committed it is to him by recently extending his contract through 2020. However, with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater expected to leave for the NFL next year, Strong may be looking to bolt as well. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported in October that Strong could take on an NFL job:
There already is speculation swirling in select league circles that Strong and Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who is projected to be one of the top picks in next year's draft, could wind up reuniting in the NFL next season.
If this is the case, why wouldn't Strong be willing to take the Florida job if the situation is right?
While it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The next best option would be to give Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart a call. He's been actively looking for a head coaching gig and was considering becoming the head coach at Auburn during the offseason.
The good thing is that Nick Saban even allows him to talk to other programs. Per "Kirby’s really, really professional. Kirby said, ‘You’re OK if I talk to them?’ I said, ‘Absolutely.’"
Who would you want to replace Muschamp?
Of course, Smart ended up staying with Alabama, but it's clearly only a matter of time before he bites at a job offer. Why not Florida? A defensive guy, Smart would be able to stay in the SEC and compete against the same person who has stolen a lot of his shine. He'd have the opportunity to not only beat Saban and the Crimson Tide, but he'll also be competing against his former team in recruiting.
Saban and Smart have been together for years, dating back to their LSU days in 2004. If there's one guy who knows Saban's secrets, it's him. Again, this may be another dream scenario for the Gators, but Florida is still one of the elite programs that is capable of snagging a big-name coach to roam the sidelines.
If not those two names, then who?
Other considerations include bringing back defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who is now running the Seattle Seahawks defense. Could Art Briles ever leave Baylor? What about Vanderbilt's James Franklin? After all, it appears he has done just about everything he can for the Commodores and may finally be ready for a new challenge.
The possibilities are really endless for this program. Nearly anyone that athletic director Jeremy Foley phones will listen. Florida is a school that pretty much sells itself. If you're able to remove this terrible season from your mind, you'll see a recruiting hot bed, tons of winning history and one of the best home-field atmospheres in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The job is up there with Texas, USC and Ohio State.
The worst part for Muschamp -- and a factor for Foley -- is that FSU is sprinting ahead of them. Can they risk regressing another year?— Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) November 23, 2013
The bottom line is that something must be done quickly. National signing day takes place in February, and these recruits have been paying attention. There's nothing worse than having problems with the coaching staff and no answer for the kids when they schedule their official visits. Florida is already looking up to Florida State, not to mention Miami and UCF making a strong push for relevancy this season.
Another option would be to get rid of the coaches around Muschamp and keep the head guy in charge, as Justin Hopkins of 247Sports suggested:
Can Muschamp fire his coordinators to keep his job?— Justin Hopkins (@JHopkins247) November 23, 2013
What's the point?
Sure, Brent Pease has proven that he can't run an offense unless the football field is blue. And defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin has certainly seen better days. But this is a team effort. The same way everybody on this team has become the laughing stock of the 2013 season, it is the same way everybody should be blamed for this comedic act. Nobody has done anything to turn it around, so they should all be blamed and suffer the consequences together.
Blame the injuries. Chalk it up as a fluke. Whatever makes you feel better, but there is no reason Florida should have lost to an FCS opponent. There's also no excuse for this school to have fallen short of the postseason.
Florida is broken for now, but there are still plenty of guys who would be willing to provide a helping hand.