The turmoil is no more. The agony of waiting is a thing of the past. It’s finished.
Dan Mullen is the new face of Florida football.
Less than one decade after helping Florida win two national championships over a three-year span, Dan Mullen is coming back to Gainesville.
Exciting stuff, right? The guy who made Tim Tebow and Dak Prescott icons at their schools now takes over a program in desperate need of a strong impact player under center.
It doesn’t get more exciting than that! Now, who’s the first Gator opponent ready to get Mull-ified?
Oh yeah. The season doesn’t start for another 277 days.
It’s amazing to see that a large portion of the Florida fan base is still centered around football, despite the egg the team laid this season and the nine-plus months remaining before the 2018 campaign begins.
Meanwhile, other sports aren’t receiving enough attention despite being way more impressive right now.
At the beginning of the fall semester, I wrote that people should be more hyped for Gator volleyball.
Well, I don’t want to say ‘I told you so’ because I hate when people do that, but… I told you so.
Mary Wise led the team to a 25-1 regular season, going 17-1 in conference play.
The only team that managed a win against No. 3 Florida was Kentucky, and the Gators traveled to Lexington two weeks later and destroyed the Wildcats in a three-set sweep.
UF holds a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and enters the opening round with its head held high.
But how many people on campus do we hear talking about volleyball? Not nearly enough.
Meanwhile, Florida’s men’s and women’s basketball teams both carry tons of intrigue as their seasons are now in full swing.
The men’s team looks like a completely different beast compared to last year’s low-scoring, grind-it-out squad. Newcomers Jalen Hudson, Egor Koulechov and a slew of freshmen complement a veteran core that’s helped earn the team the No. 6 ranking in the AP Poll.
If you question the Gators’ legitimacy, just go back and watch their recent contest with top-ranked Duke. Florida outplayed the No. 1 Blue Devils in nearly every category until Duke’s size took over down the stretch.
And the Gators still lack their biggest defender – John Egbunu – who is set to return in January from a torn ACL.
This is a top-tier squad. Look for them to make another push back to the Elite Eight, or possibly even deeper. That’s how good this group is.
Meanwhile, new women’s basketball coach Cam Newbauer is adding an attitude of excitement around the program that’s been lacking for a while.
While the team is only 3-3, there are reasons to be optimistic, like guard Delicia Washington’s triple-double against Savannah State. It was just the third triple-double in the program’s history.
Give Newbauer a couple recruiting classes and more time to build the program, and Florida could capture its first conference championship in the only sport that’s never been able to obtain one.
Now when I walk around campus, there’s some chatter about the men’s team, but still not nearly as much as the abysmal football season that just transpired.
And the women’s team? I haven’t heard more than a peep. And peeps are quiet, so I had to listen really hard just to find anything.
It’s just crazy to me that there are “Gator fanatics” that know how the recruiting class of 2021 is shaping up, but don’t know three players on the women’s basketball team or even one on the volleyball team.
Football season is over. Do a little sobbing, take a deep breath, and check out some of these other great sports that don’t get nearly enough love.
You can follow Skyler Lebron on Twitter @SkylerLebron, and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.