How hungry are the fans? Zach Goodall, publisher of AllGators.com, answers: “Napier has tried his hardest to temper fans’ appetites. Since his introductory press conference, Napier has emphasized the need to restructure every aspect of Florida football, and athletic director Scott Stricklin has given him the resources—a largely-expanded budget and what feels like a 500-member support staff—to make it happen. … Post-Urban Meyer, every Gators’ coach has overachieved to begin their tenure only to uniquely crash and burn by the end, providing the fanbase with false hope right out of the gate before the coaches ran out of water bottles in attempts to put out their house fires. It may be in the best interest of fans to endure a true rebuilding year before reaping the benefits of a drastic change in approach, and that very well could be the case in 2022.”
Expectations for the season: “From my perspective, winning eight or more games considering the shape of this roster and the schedule ahead of the Gators would be a success,” Goodall says. “With success on the recruiting trail providing hope for the future, fans would probably accept an 8-4-ish, third-place-or-better finish in the SEC East. But that begs several questions: Will prospects remain committed to the vision of the program if Florida doesn’t play up to its standards in Napier’s first campaign? What would maintaining those commitments require? Are close losses to the likes of Utah, LSU, Georgia and Texas A&M acceptable from a recruit’s perspective? How about losing to both Kentucky and Tennessee, which can’t be considered outside the realm? Of course, perhaps Florida could overachieve and, unlike Mullen, Jim McElwain and Will Muschamp, Napier can continue to elevate as a result of that momentum.”
On The Deck To Get Desperate
Auburn (9)At the most abnormal football school in America, anything is possible at any time.
Last national championship: 2010.
Last conference championship: 2013.
Last appearance in a conference championship game: 2017.
Comeback moves: In classic Auburn fashion, the booster cabal ousted Gus Malzahn, tried to promote defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, failed in the attempt, then tried to force out coach Bryan Harsin after one season. That was unsuccessful, but they did push out athletic director Allen Greene last week.
Winning percentage in the 1980s: .733
Winning percentage in the 1990s: .639
Winning percentage in the 2000s: .693
Winning percentage in the 2010s: .659
Winning percentage in the 2020s: .500
Virginia Tech (10) There is a way back, and a formula to follow. But it isn’t easy. What Frank Beamer accomplished looks better and better in the rearview mirror.
Last national championship: None.
Last conference championship: 2010.
Last appearance in a conference championship game: 2016.
Comeback moves: Fired Justin Fuente and replaced him with Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry. Have otherwise remained rather sane and stable for the time being.
Winning percentage in the 1980s: .584
Winning percentage in the 1990s: .662
Winning percentage in the 2000s: .756
Winning percentage in the 2010s: .632
Winning percentage in the 2020s: .458
More College Football Coverage: