5 college football coaches in line to win their first national title this year

Ryan Day, Ohio State Buckeyes. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images)
Ryan Day, Ohio State Buckeyes. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images) /
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college football coaches first national title contenders
Dan Mullen, Florida Gators. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Head Coach. Florida Gators. player. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Dan Mullen. 3. 840

If any team is planning on making the College Football Playoff for the first time in school history next season, one would think the Florida Gators would have to be right up there. The recruiting is getting there under third-year head coach Dan Mullen. Leaving a pretty sweet gig at Mississippi State wasn’t easy, but Mullen is ready to take his Gators team to even higher levels.

With Kyle Trask returning as the starter, Florida might have what it takes to upend the archival Georgia Bulldogs and get back to Atlanta. That game will remain everything in the SEC landscape until the Tennessee Volunteers come back to prominence under head coach Jeremy Pruitt. The Vols eventually will, but the SEC East comes down to who wins in Jacksonville: Florida or Georgia?

Though they have the in-state rival Florida State Seminoles on the schedule, the Gators’ non-conference won’t help them one bit get to the playoff. However, they have plenty of marquee games on the eight-game SEC slate that could make for quite a compelling case. It won’t be easy, but this is a Florida team capable of garnering a top-two seed if they win the SEC in December.

Outside of their date with the Dawgs on Halloween in Jacksonville, Florida has huge dates at Neyland vs. the Vols and at home vs. cross-divisional rival in reigning national champion LSU. If the Gators split between Tennessee and LSU and defeat Georgia along the Banks of the St. Johns, Florida could have the team poised to be in Atlanta and maybe win it all under Mullen.