Traditional college football powerhouses Texas and Florida have bottomed out?

These are busy times at Bottom 10 headquarters. It always has been. Because, as it says in the Good Book, there’s no rest to fatigue… well, fatigue. And these days, as the 2021 college football season approaches the oasis of December (or more likely an illusion), there is a lot of fatigue and therefore very little rest.

But once we don’t focus on the usual Bottom 10 suspects. You know the types. The big mid lane teams struggled to hold off against smaller, weaker FCS opponents. Or a multiple Bottom 10 champion such as Kansas, who placed at the top/bottom of our leaderboard a week ago, largely due to the Jayhawks’ constant road struggles, a record of 56 consecutive losses in the Big 12 away from Lawrence.

Instead, our eyes were drawn elsewhere as last Saturday opened like wax paper origami. First of all Florida The team that a year ago arrived in the quarter-finals after the SEC championship has suddenly become one of those types of teams we’re all too familiar with, the kind that can’t stop an FCS offense.

Then we watch the Kansas game, but we don’t watch Kansas. That epic slide in history suddenly ended in OT, a celebrated one point win on the enemy field that was once the proudest of the 12 enemies in the Big 12, University Texas. We’re looking through the Bottom 10 looking glass, watching Dan Mullen and Steve Sarkisian crash through that glass like Eddie Murphy in “Beverly Hills Cop.”

In case you were wondering, the verse mentioned earlier is from the Book of Lamentations, chapter 5, verse 5: “Our pursuers are on our necks. We are tired and have no place to rest. rest.” A lament indeed. Misery takes on two very different shades of orange, from the orange of Day-Glo in the Florida Swamp to the burnt, now burnt out color of Texas’ DKR Memorial Stadium.

Florida and Texas combined for seven national championships, 40 congress titles, five Heisman titles and nearly 1,700 wins, generating nearly 100 Americans consensus and earning 103 appearances.

And yet this fall, with two weeks left in the regular season, they are 9-11 combined and the two will spend their remaining two regular games vying for eligibility to win. their 104th and 105th berths.

However, somehow last weekend, the Gators found themselves in a tug of war against FCS. Samford. The Bulldogs went to Gainesville with a 4-5 record and placed fifth in the Southern Conference.

However, they scored 42 points in the first half, a record for an opponent from Florida. Even in the 70-52 aggregate loss, they equaled the record for most points scored by an FCS team against an FBS team since the NCAA created two teams in 1978, with 530 meters fouled, the most. scored in the Florida defence. Statistics of an opponent this season.



After the 70-52 win over Samford, Florida’s Dan Mullen said the Gators had a great win and will stay positive going forward.

Speaking of defence, Florida’s Mullen (who, by the way, fired his defensive coordinator last week Samford) bristled with questions after the game about a disappointing performance.

Mullen, in his fourth season as Florida head coach, said, “Calling a win a disappointment is disrespectful to the game and our players,” Mullen said in his fourth season. himself as Florida head coach, continuing to emphasize the phrase “How dare you?!” The professional tone he uses with increasing frequency as his team has lost 8 of the past 13 games.

Meanwhile, after Texas fell 31 points behind Kansas for the first time in Austin, the Horns’ fifth straight loss, Sarkisian was asked Monday how to fix the show’s seemingly cakeless show his driver. While Mullen began to deliver his quotes as if they were darts on the lawn, Sark’s podium speeches were as crooked as a featherless dart.

On Monday, he calmly answered the question “What now?” query in a silent, punctuation-free tone for a few minutes, saying somewhere in between his cautious reply: “One of my mentors always told me to play bad and win sometimes the worst thing can happen to you because you don’t address the problems you have on your team and unfortunately we lost a lot of close games so it keeps bringing out the problems that we have to deal with.”

The biggest problem to deal with, for both coaches, is the growing number of problems and how to solve them all.

Every time Sarkisian has stepped onto the podium over the past month and a half, he might as well have stepped onto the stage with a fire extinguisher. He is the school’s fourth head coach in less than a decade and has lost five games in a row. So his post-match press conferences have been devoted to dealing with losses, transfer losses, players lost to injury (it was announced on Monday that the star would return). Bijan Robinson on off-season) and dressing room dismay was reported, an issue exacerbated by assistant coach Quentin Tarantino-esque f-bomb’s words on the team bus after one of the those losses, recorded and posted by a Longhorns player.

It’s the perfect example of what happens when a show as popular as Texas loses a lot of football games. The assistant coaches have been chewing on the players on trips home after the defeat since the teams were still on trains and carriages. When things are going well, it’s a moment that is quickly forgotten that the outside world either never knows about or largely ignores if they do.

But when you’re losing, borrow a quote from a friend of mine who lives in a house full of teenage kids, everything comes true. Rumors of substitutions, rumors of NFL opportunities looming, rumors of rumors that someone has said could become rumors. Everything is one thing.

“The part we forget in these situations is how it affects the players, who are still children,” said Roman Harper, former Alabama All-American has played for 11 years in the NFL and is now an analyst with the SEC Network. “So when things get tough, how your coach handles that is everything.”

Harper should know. During his four years with Tide, he was recruited by head coach Mike DuBose, playing for Dennis Franchione until “Coach Fran” shocked the team by leaving Texas A&M after two seasons, recovering service for a few months under Mike Price, who was fired. for using his corporate credit card for adult purposes before he coached a single game, then finished two seasons under the guidance of Mike Shula, who was fired for one season after Harper left to play professionally.

The assistant coach’s mid-season scolding can come into play if handled correctly, but not if it pops up in the locker room as random, sentimental moves made that aren’t. There is no explanation to the players themselves – who are employed by those assistants and also work with them in positions of the rooms every day. It was a much closer relationship than they ever had with the head coach.

Harper continued: “It was as a teenager working 24 hours a day that they started asking, ‘What position am I really right for here?’ It’s hard to play to your full potential on that guy if you don’t feel like you’re all really together. Like a real team.”

In other words, it’s been a great way to go from almost stopping at #1 Alabama at home in Week 3 to being an unstoppable hot mess. South Carolina or Samford less than two months later. Or from a 4-1 team coming in the knockout round then-No. 6 Oklahoma in Dallas on October 9 for a team that hasn’t won a game since.

Only the people in the locker rooms in Gainesville and Austin know what that atmosphere really is like. It’s all about the air being blown in and out of that room.

“Trainers in that situation will tell you that outside noise isn’t a factor. If they tell you that, they’re not being honest with you,” said Lou Holtz, who has served as a guarantor. 7 head coach jobs, 6 people at the university explained. “The best advice I can give them is to talk to other head coaches who have been with them, who have had top jobs, who have lose that job and the people who managed to keep it even after they’ve had a bleak situation. You don’t know what you don’t know, and unless you’ve been there, you wouldn’t know.”

Mullen and Sarkisian look no further for those who know how to lose and survive. They can start right here with us, us who have long lived in the Bottom 10 multiverse. They don’t even need to ask for directions on how to get here. Sorry, they’ve already knocked on the door.


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