Florida college football teams hit rock bottom

Forty names, games, teams and minutiae that make the news of college football, where athletic directors know you’re tracking their planes and can afford to cheat you:

MORE DASHBOARD: Florida Malfunction | Eight potential title teams | Rivalry week preview


What happens when the former college football capital becomes a giant swamp of underperforming programs, throwaway coaches and administrative angst? This is Florida, where every fanbase is unhappy and every two-game losing streak is seen as the beginning of the end. The state’s seven FBS programs are combined 31-46, 7-14 in November.

If you thought it was just a Florida Gators thing, no. From Boca to Tally, the entire state is a lame mess.

It’s bad enough that the only two coaches who have more than 35 games under their belt in their current schools have left or are leaving. It’s Dan Mullen in Florida (gone) and Butch Davis (31) at Florida International (ongoing).

Davis went 1 to 10 in his fifth season, beating Long Island in Game 1 and losing every game since as he made his way to his swan song south of the Mississippi. The CRF’s latest victory over an FBS program was a stunning upheaval of none other than Miami in November 2019.

Davis has sprayed criticism at school on the way to anyone who wants to listen to him. CRF sporting director Pete Garcia resigned on November 10. The search for the next Panthers coach should therefore start well.

University of Miami coach Manny Diaz may soon join the ranks of Sunshine State coaches who have been fired this season.

The next guy in the seniority line is the one from Miami Manny Diaz (32)– and he’s generally expected to be fired after the Hurricanes face Duke on Saturday. It would be a late end to the latest round of hiring and firing, but the Hurricanes are in the same situation as the CRF – without a sporting director after sacking their guy last week.

The Atlantic Coast Conference office could be a landing point for ousted AD Blake James. And among those interested in replacing him in Miami, the school could do worse than the old Louisville AD Tom Jurich (33). He was fired in Louisville and deserved to be, following successive basketball and football scandals. But after paying a four-year penance out of the industry, Jurich’s football know-how and know-how could be what the Hurricanes need to get out of their long-lasting malaise.

Who will still be here in 2022? Start with Willie Taggart (34), who is 10-10 in two seasons at Florida Atlantic. It’s the same Taggart who got fired after 21 games at Florida State, of course.

Taggart was canned in Tallahassee after being 9-12. As bad as it is in a power program, it’s still a better game (so far) than the current coach Mike Norvell (35). He’s 8-12 in his second season heading into the game against Florida this weekend. Norvell is at least the only coach in the state on anything more than a winning streak, having won his last two. If he hits three and FSU returns to meager bowl eligibility levels, the Seminoles can actually boast of having some semblance of momentum.

The other guy who has 20 games in his current tenure is Jeff Scott (36) south of Florida. He’s a 3-17 villain and there are a lot of Bulls fans out there who would love to see him go too, but he can probably at least start a third season.

The state’s oasis of relative calm is Orlando, where Gus Malzahn (37) is 7-4 in his first season at UCF – not great by recent program standards, but not so great considering star quarterback Dillon Gabriel’s absence of injury since Game 3 of the season. The Knights also have upward mobility on their side, heading to the Big 12 at a later date.

A state with a total of 10 national championships – five for Miami, three for Florida, two for the State of Florida – has collectively not been so terrible in over 40 years. Anything wrong there should be reversible, given the amount of talent in the state and the general love of the sport. But it will take quality work and leadership.


Chip Kelly (38), UCLA. Construction has been painfully slow, but after three losing seasons, a moderate gain is within reach. After beating USC on Saturday, the Bruins are 7-4 and could well claim their eighth victory over California this week. This is UCLA’s best season since 2015, when Josh Rosen was a high-ranking quarterback. If USC backs off coaching this offseason, the Kelly Bruins may be able to lead the Pac-12 South alongside Utah for the foreseeable future.


Geoff Collins (39), Georgia Tech. That 55-0 emasculation at the hands of Notre Dame brought Collins down to 9-24 in his third season at Tech, heading for another inevitable loss this weekend against Georgia. Collins was supposed to have a long rebuilding job after reshuffling Paul Johnson’s options-based program, but patience is starting to wear down. Georgia Tech seems further removed from the competition now than it was much earlier in Collins’ tenure.


When you’re thirsty in the underrated town of Greensboro, North Carolina, The Dash recommends a visit to Oden Brewery (40), a cool place with a large backyard populated with picnic tables, a stage, heaters, children and pets. Try Oden’s Rye IPA and thank The Dash later.

MORE DASHBOARD: Florida Malfunction | Eight potential title teams | Rivalry week preview

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