Is your favorite college football team headed into a rivalry game against a stronger than expected opponent who’s given you a host of things to worry about? You could probably use a drink. I can help with that.
It’s not that I don’t like Dan Mullen. I don’t even know the guy. But he has two strikes against him in my book. For one, he is the head coach of the Florida Gators. He could, in the words of that great sage Leann Womack, spend his winters bringing the homeless blankets and dinner and I’d still hate him.
Second, I am continually annoyed by the weird and mathematically untenable notion that Mullen is some sort of coaching genius. The argument usually begins with me pointing out that Mullen was a putrid 33-39 in SEC play in his nine seasons in Starkville. And that he lost fewer than four games just once during that time.
“But you don’t understand how hard it is to win at Mississippi State!!!” replies Bubba Bulldog fan. In reality, it’s probably harder than winning at Auburn, Alabama, and LSU. That doesn’t explain how the Bizarro Bulldogs finished 5th in the SEC West five of nine seasons under his leadership. I’ll give you that a coaching super-genius could lose to Nick Saban annually. But when you finish behind Brett Bielema’s Arkansas two out of the past three seasons (2015 and 2017), you ain’t Vince Lombardi
Now Mullen has moved to Gainesville, lost to Kentucky, come from 18 points behind to escape against Vanderbilt, and Florida fans are talking playoffs.
Florida is ranked #9 in the country at this point and, I have to be honest, it all feels a little familiar. This Florida team strikes me as good, even very good. But not great. In that respect they remind me of any number of Georgia teams who entered Jacksonville over the past twenty years with big dreams only to leave with those dreams crushed.
And what’s the drink for the game in which you want to send Dan Mullen back to Gainesville to contemplate how far the Gators have to go?
The Sullen Mullen. Start with one and a half ounces of Tanqueray gin. Don’t use cheap gin. Ever. But especially not now.
But I digress. Mix that good gin with an ounce of green Chartreuse an ounce of amaretto, and an ounce each of orange juice, lime juice, and lemon juice.
Shake all ingredients over ice then strain into a high ball glass and enjoy. Even if the Gators won’t. Until later...