No. 12: Florida Gators

Quarterback Feleipe Franks has Florida pointing in the right direction

Dan Mullen putting bite back in Gators. They'll need it to catch the Dawgs in SEC East.

There’s no better example of finding a coach who’s the right fit than at Florida. Or maybe Dan Mullen is just an example of a coach who knows how to get things done.

A disciple of Urban Meyer at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida, Mullen used a good four-year run as an offensive assistant at Florida to become head coach at Mississippi State, where he had a good nine-year run (by Starkville standards).

After the Jim McElwain experiment blew up at Florida (4-7 in 2017), Mullen returned to Gainesville as head coach and put together a 10-3 turnaround last fall that has kindled a new round of excitement in the Swamp.

Florida’s plans to keep it going center around junior quarterback Feleipe Franks, who had a terrific sophomore season, with 2,457 yards and 24 yards passing, complemented by 350 yards and seven TDs on the ground.

The question now is, can Florida take the next step and put some serious heat on SEC East powerhouse Georgia?

On the plus side, seven starters return from a stout defense that held opponents to 20 points a game last fall.

The skills-position players around Franks are solid. The question mark is whether the offensive line can hold up its end of the deal.

O line is just one of the areas where Georiga excels. In other words, the Gators aren’t likely to catch the Dawgs this year. But that shouldn’t stop Florida from having another promising season at a program that got used to success through the bigtime achievements of Steve Spurrier and Meyer.

Is Mullen next in line to make Florida a perennial power? It sure looks that way. A top coach in a recruit-rich state can go a long way. The landscape of college football has a way of changing. But the Gators seem to be headed in a very exciting direction under Mullen.

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