SEC Media Days kicked off Monday with a bang. One of the reasons they’re popular among media and fans alike is because you never know what any coach or player will say.
That was proven Monday when Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen threw a little shade at rival Georgia about being favorites in the SEC East again, which probably didn’t sit well with Kirby Smart and Bulldawg Nation.
Georgia is the favorite again
The Georgia Bulldogs are once again favorites to not only take the SEC East but perhaps to win the SEC title and make a serious run at the national championship, and it’s with good reason.
The Bulldogs ended the season on a positive note, winning four straight and finishing at 8-2, only losing to SEC and national champion Alabama and rival Florida, who won the SEC East.
This probably explains why Mullen took a swipe at the Bulldogs, who were also favorites to win the East last year. When asked about Georgia being picked to win the East again, Mullen said, “Didn’t they say that last year?”
Mullen thinks the media has forgotten that his team is the defending SEC East champs, not Georgia.
Clearly, Mullen was annoyed that his team hasn’t really been talked about this year despite what happened last season.
No love lost between Georgia and Florida
Until last year, the Bulldogs had dominated the recent series between the two clubs, winning by an average of 20.3 points per game from 2017-19, according to Sports Illustrated.
But the Gators finally got the upper hand in 2020, defeating the Bulldogs 44-28.
As the season continued beyond that Nov. 7 meeting, the Bulldogs got better. The Gators, on the other hand, lost three straight, including the SEC Championship Game to Alabama.
Their play down the stretch may explain why they aren’t picked to win their own division this year
The Gators had several losses on defense and offense, including Heisman candidate Kyle Trask, who was a second-team All-SEC quarterback in 2020.
Finding a replacement for Trask and a few other key losses on defense (they lost five defensive players to the NFL), may determine whether the Gators can repeat as East champs.
Mullen got a few more things off his chest
Mullen wasn’t finished speaking his mind on Monday. He also thought the SEC should get rid of the permanent crossover rivalries like Georgia versus Auburn and Alabama versus Tennessee.
“I think for the players, for the fan bases, I really think it’s exciting to see some more of maybe mixing up the teams from the West (division) and playing two different teams each year instead of a permanent crossover,” Mullen said, per AL.com. “I think that would be really exciting so you get this matchup.
For the first time in decades, Alabama will be visiting the Gators in Gainesville. If the SEC went with what Mullen is saying, it would eliminate two of the biggest rivalry games in the country but may also create new rivalries within the conference.
Florida has one of the toughest schedules in the SEC, facing Alabama, LSU, and Georgia this year.