Dan Mullen right to expect Florida football can go undefeated (but won’t guarantee it)

Dan Mullen, Florida Gators. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Dan Mullen, Florida Gators. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

Dan Mullen has every reason to think Florida football can go undefeated.

Dan Mullen’s Florida football team is one of the few with a chance to win the College Football Playoff.

In his first two years leading the Florida Gators, Mullen has guided is program to back-to-back double-digit win seasons and a pair of New Year’s Six bowl victories. Not since he was on Urban Meyer’s staff over a decade ago as an offensive coordinator have the Gators been this menacing in the SEC. Are they ready to take the next step by getting to Atlanta and fighting for the playoff?

On The Pat McAfee Show, Mullen said he expects the Florida Gators to go undefeated this year, but stopped short of a guarantee.

“I expect us to go undefeated this year,” said Mullen to McAfee, per CBS Sports. “I’m not guaranteeing it, because I’ll be honest with you, I have two national championship rings here at Florida and we didn’t go undefeated in either of those two seasons. We still won a national championship.”

Mullen does have a point. Both national titles he won on Meyer’s staff at Florida in 2006 and 2008 did not come via undefeated seasons. In fact, the only time he has been a part of an undefeated team was back in 2004 on Meyer’s Utah Utes staff as the quarterbacks coach. This came in Utah’s old Mountain West days before going Power 5, so the Utes didn’t play for a national championship.

“When I look at our schedule every year, I assume we are,” said Mullen. “If I looked at it (the other) way and said, ‘Hey, I don’t see us winning that game,’ I guess I’d tell the coaches, ‘Hey, why don’t you guys go home? We’re not going to win this one anyway,’ so this time of year you assume you go undefeated every year.”

Again, another great point by Mullen. If he doesn’t think his team can win every game on its schedule, what’s the point really? Why did he come to Florida then? He was already a god in Starkville leading the Mississippi State Bulldogs to eight wins every year. So why did he walk away from achieving Bill Snyder status in the Magnolia State? He wants to win his own national title.

Will Florida football go undefeated as Dan Mullen expects?

Looking at the Florida football schedule, there is definitely a pathway for the Gators to go undefeated. Their three toughest games are all winnable ones: at the Tennessee Volunteers, home vs. the LSU Tigers and at Jacksonville vs. the rival Georgia Bulldogs. The Jacksonville date is the toughest of the three. If Mullen beats Kirby Smart’s team, maybe Florida does go undefeated?

But let’s be real for a minute here. Unless you are the biggest Mac Jones believer this side of the Mississippi River, nobody is going undefeated in the SEC, not even the Alabama Crimson Tide. Nick Saban’s program is the favorite to win the SEC and reach the College Football Playoff for the sixth time in seven years. Florida wouldn’t be favored if the Gators met in Atlanta for the title.

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Should Florida go undefeated during the regular season and beat Alabama or whoever out of the SEC West in Atlanta, the Gators might be the No. 1 seed in the playoff. While Florida has the best team to join the list of College Football Playoff teams, this postseason tournament is untrodden territory.

The Clemson Tigers and the Ohio State Buckeyes have been there before several times, as has the Oklahoma Sooners. So unless Florida gets the No. 1 seed and faces a pillow fight Big 12 champion or some I-can’t-believe-you-were-invited Pac-12 team, the Gators will face likely Clemson or Ohio State in the national semifinals. Good luck with that.

Ultimately, Florida fans should agree with their head coach in that this team can go undefeated. They’ve got arguably the best quarterback in the SEC in Kyle Trask and the schedule isn’t as brutal as others. Florida plays in the right division in the right conference to theoretically run the gauntlet. However, they will drop a game, maybe two this fall because the SEC is so unforgiving.

Florida may not go undefeated, but Mullen 100 percent should believe his team can do it.

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