Sports

Gators listed in ESPN’s Bottom 10


Florida had one of its most uninspiring performances all season in Saturday’s win over Samford, needing to outscore the FCS Bulldogs 42-10 down the stretch to come back and win by 18. A loss would have been disaster for the program and likely would have spelled the end of the Dan Mullen era in Gainesville.

But even avoiding complete embarrassment didn’t save Florida from criticism, and its worst defensive performance of the entire season coming against a 4-5 team from the Southern Conference didn’t help anything.

As a result, ESPN listed Florida among its Bottom 10 teams in college football this week, a remarkable fall for a team that began the season with hopes of repeating as SEC East Division champions, at the least. The Gators tied with Texas for the No. 5 spot in the Bottom 10.

5. Flexas (or Torida?)

It is rare to have two teams sharing the Coveted Fifth Spot. (Does that make it the Coveted 2.5 spot?) But here we are. Texas lost to then-Bottom 10 No. 1-ranked Kansas in Austin, the first Big 12 road victory for the Nayhawks in 4,788 days. The last time KU won a conference game on the road was Oct. 4, 2008. The No. 1 film at the box office that week was Leo DiCaprio’s “Body of Lies.” Speaking of, how about Florida head coach Dan Mullen getting mad at people for referring to a 70-52 win over Samford as “disappointing” despite the fact that the Bulldogs are an FCS team with a losing record and racked up 42 first-half points, a record for any Swamp visitor in 115 years of Gators football? Who knew that the emperor’s new clothes included custom-made Jordans?

The game was certainly a bad look for the program, and Mullen’s postgame comments that calling a win disappointing was “disrespectful to the game” didn’t make it any better.

Times are tough in Gainesville right now, and with remaining games on the road against a Missouri team with the best running back in the SEC in Tyler Badie and at home against a Florida State team that, while 4-6, seems to be trending in the opposite direction as the Gators.

Mullen may not be able to afford a loss in either of those games, but this team still has the chance to close out the year 7-5 and make it to a bowl game. That starts on the road against a Tigers team that’s coming off a win over South Carolina, who demolished UF in Columbia two weeks ago.

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