As ex-Gators coach Jim McElwain returns to the state to play Miami, Florida fans have a reason to thank him.
His awkward exit happened early.
Their Oct. 29 separation allowed UF to begin its formal search weeks before other schools like Florida State and Tennessee. Because 2017 was the inaugural early signing period, that early start was more important than ever; scrambling coaches needed every moment they could to assemble their staffs while salvaging their recruiting classes on a crunched timeline.
Banner Society writer Bud Elliott points out that hires from that coaching carousel started this year 6-19 against the spread, probably because they’re still trying to catch up from their late start. More evidence: Power Five coaches hired before Dec. 1 in that carousel are 40-38; coaches hired after Dec. 1 are 39-52.
If McElwain’s fate had lingered, maybe UF would have found itself in Group 2 like the Seminoles and Volunteers. Instead, his quick departure and the hire of Dan Mullen have the Gators at 13-3 — the best record of second-year Power Five coaches.