Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp is not one to shy away from competition, and he made that stance official on Friday by accepting the task of facing Alabama in 2014 – the third time in a five-year span (2010-2014) that the schools will square off during the regular season – without batting an eye.
Muschamp said whether it is the Crimson Tide once again being the Gators’ rotational cross-division game, Florida being the first-ever Southeastern Conference league opponent to face Texas A&M in 2012, playing LSU every year as a permanent cross-division rival or kicking off season openers in ungodly heat around noon in Gainesville, FL, he and his football program are game for it all.
“At the University of Florida, we embrace whoever we play and whatever happens,” he said. “A season ago, we were asked to go to College Station. We embraced it and welcomed the Ags to the SEC. We’re asked to kick off at noon on August 31st, September 1st every year, we embrace it. We’ve been asked to play a cross-division opponent with LSU. We don’t gripe and complain about it, we embrace it.
“We embrace things at Florida, and whatever our league asks us to do, certainly we’ll do that and look forward to it.”
While fans are up in arms about Florida being tasked with facing the back-to-back national champions in Alabama – especially considering UF will have played UA and LSU in the regular season a combined 15 times in 10 seasons (2005-14) compared to SEC East rival Georgia facing those opponents a combined four times in the same time frame – Muschamp understands why the game was scheduled yet again.
“At the end of the day, no one wants to say it, it comes down to match-ups. People want to see the Gators play. They want to see Florida and Alabama play,” he said. “And I know that’s not the company line but that’s the bottom line. And we look forward to it.”
Jokingly asked by a reporter if he would indeed embrace any challenge, such as facing the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, Muschamp half-heartedly brushed off the question in order to offer up a quip of his own.
“There’s a rumor going around they’re going to ask us to play nine conference games and the rest of the league just play eight. And if they do, we’ll embrace it. What a wonderful opportunity.”