Some would say it's a priority for any rookie head coach to throw some red meat to the fan base to prove that he's one of them; if so, Florida coach (and UGA graduate) Will Muschamp is operating quite a cattle farm down there in Gainesville. First he attributed his Georgia matriculation to a bit of "temporary insanity"; then on Thursday, he guaranteed a Florida win over the Bulldogs in Jacksonville this fall.
I'll freely admit the "temporary insanity" quote rankled me -- seriously, Will, from the school that turned you from a walk-on into a starting DB and started you on your coaching career, you're frickin' welcome -- but I can't muster much bile over the win guarantee. Because let's face it: At this point, guaranteeing a win over Georgia in the Cocktail Party isn't going out on any further a limb than "The sun will rise in the east tomorrow" or "Kevin James will not win an Academy Award for 'Zookeeper.' "
Obviously it gives me no pleasure to admit this, but with 18 wins over Georgia in their last 21 tries, Florida coaches (even if they went to Georgia) can say stuff like that. Honestly, it'd been a bigger story if he'd said "I don't know if we're gonna be able to beat the Dawgs this year."
Think of it this way, Dawg fans: Georgia has beaten Georgia Tech almost as many times as they've lost to Florida over the last couple decades. So let's say, just for the sake of argument, that Greg McGarity brings in Tech grad Ken Whisenhunt next season to replace Mark Richt. If Whisenhunt then went before a Bulldog Club gathering in Atlanta and guaranteed a Bulldog win over the Jackets, would your reaction be "Whoa, quite a mouth on that guy" or "Yeah, sounds about right"? And if the Techies started caterwauling about betrayal, how hard would you be laughing at them?
The only way Muschamp has really put himself out on a limb is if he doesn't manage to beat Georgia this fall. Considering that Georgia nearly managed to knock off Florida last year with a team that eventually went 6-7, that'd fall squarely into the "stranger things have happened" category, recent history be damned -- and if the Gators lost to the Dawgs for only the fourth time in 22 years under the first-year leadership of a UGA grad, I don't think I'd be going out on too shaky a limb by predicting a popcorn-worthy meltdown on the part of Gator Nation.
But for right now, it's all just trash talk. Muschamp may be nervy, but he's hardly the second coming of Lane Kiffin. There'll be some pressure on him to back up that talk come October, of course, but until there's a major swing in the UGA-UF rivalry, the greater pressure will be on the Dawgs to prove him wrong. Fortunately, at least one Dawg seems eager for the challenge.