SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2016
Photos by Kendall Webb
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Will Muschamp’s stint as the head coach of the Florida Gators ended in 2014 due in part to the fact that he didn’t win enough games in The Swamp.
His return to the venue as the head coach of SEC East rival South Carolina didn’t look much better as Muschamp and his Gamecocks came up empty in a 20-7 loss to the Gators Saturday.
Muschamp lost eight home games in four seasons as the Gators’ head coach before being terminated after the 11th game of the 2014 season. After serving one year as the Auburn Tigers’ defensive coordinator, Muschamp got another opportunity to lead an SEC East program when the Gamecocks came calling at the end of last season.
Ironically, Muschamp replaced Steve Spurrier who had also been the coach of the Gators. Spurrier wasn’t just any coach of the Gators, however; he’s the program’s all-time winningest coach, and the legend against which all Gators’ coaches are ultimately measured. Muschamp never could gain any traction in his four years as the Florida coach, but at least it prepared him for the shoes he has to fill in South Carolina where Spurrier is also the Gamecocks’ winningest coach.
Muschamp is now 5-5 in his first season in Columbia, and he’ll get a pass regardless of how the Gamecocks finish the 2016 season. It should at least finish in a bowl as the Gamecocks play host to Western Carolina Saturday — a matchup that should result in the team’s sixth win. They close the season as they always do with in-state rival Clemson which should then be the team’s sixth loss. That means the clock will already be ticking on Muschamp’s tenure as the Gamecocks head coach by the time the 2017 season kicks off.
Florida, meanwhile, took another step toward the SEC East title, but coach Jim McElwain’s Gators have a date at LSU this weekend that could determine the team’s fate. Florida was originally scheduled to host the game back on October 8 before Hurricane Matthew forced a change of venue. The Gators need a win to stay a step ahead of Tennessee in the loss column and stay in the hunt for a possible SEC Championship Game appearance where Alabama has already clinched the spot reserved for the SEC West champion.
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