The last time the Florida Gators football team won anything of significance was in 2008. That was the year that reigning Heisman winner Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer led the Gators to a 13-1 record and their second National Championship victory in three years.
Since 2008, the University of Florida has won sixteen other national championships in various sports ranging from Indoor Track & Field to Swimming & Diving to Gymnastics. The Women’s Tennis and Men’s Outdoor Track & Field teams added to the list of championships already this athletic year, furthering the national success in Gainesville.
On top of those two championship teams at UF this year, the women’s softball and men’s baseball teams have gone deep in their respective tournaments summer. The Softball team made it all the way to the final round of the Softball World Series and lost in the championship best of three to Oklahoma. The Baseball team (above) is currently rolling, and after their Tuesday night win, is one of the final six teams left in the bracket in Omaha. They have a great chance to play in the eventual best of three series this weekend for the College World Series title.
So, with success not being as anywhere close to that in the football realm, it is puzzling to see second year head coach Jim McElwain already receiving a second new contract that will keep him at UF through the 2022 season. While, McElwain has brought the Gators to two straight SEC Championship Games in a tremendously weak SEC East division, he failed to capitalize on either opportunity. The program has improved over these last two seasons from the disastrous state Will Muschamp left it in, but there is still lots of room for growth.
After the Gators hired Scott Stricklin as the new Athletic Director in late September, it is evident that he is bringing back the spirit of winning and expectations, too. In addition to McElwain’s contract extension, Stricklin also gave Men’s Basketball Head Coach Mike White a contract extension as well. The big difference? His extension comes after the Gators made it to the Elite Eight round of the March Madness tournament.
No one is saying it’s easy to win football games in the SEC, and McElwain has done a solid job with recruiting some of the top players in the nation to play at UF. Earning a 19-8 record in the past two seasons shows that he has them moving in the right direction.
But, this upcoming 2017 season will need to show further improvement not only in the SEC, but in bringing Florida back into College Football Playoff contention.
Everywhere else you look, the other Gator programs are there.