Marc Daniels Friday Notes: Mullen's Mess, Expansion Plans And Billy Joel

Florida v Tennessee

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It was just five months when Florida AD Scott Stricklin announced Dan Mullen had received a contract extension through 2027:

“Dan has done a tremendous job in his three seasons at Florida, and we are fortunate to have someone with his obvious talents and head coaching experience leading our football program,” athletics director Scott Stricklin said. “I look forward to working alongside him to support his vision for Gators football and our student-athletes for many years.”

The deal added three additional seasons to Mullen's original contract and bumped his pay $1.5M per season to $7.6M per year. That figure put Mullen ahead of Jimbo Fisher and Kirby Smart and just behind Nick Saban and Ed Orgeron. What did Mullen say then:

“We are very excited about the future of the Florida football program, and this agreement allows us to continue to build on the success we have enjoyed on and off the field,” Mullen said. “We want to thank the UAA Board, President Fuchs, Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin, and the entire University of Florida community for their support.”

And here we are now. You want to know so I will tell you. If Mullen leaves on his own for another job he owes Florida $2M. If Florida chooses to move on from Mullen they owe him $12.5M or the remainder of his contract, whichever is the lesser amount. So it would be $12.5M. That figure, to Florida, is no big deal. But is that really where we are headed? Whispers of Florida wanting Dan to have pursued the NFL last season. Unrest in Gainesville these days of recruiting comparisons and on-field performance to Georgia has brought to a 4-4 coach that has lost his media control and appears to have lost support among the majority of fans. That's a bad spot to be in. It just looks like the two sides are headed to a divorce. Does Mullen want to stay at a place that he may never win over his critics? Does Florida think things can change or have they moved into that place of no turning back where everyone starts asking: "who can we get?"...

We are no closer to expanding the college football playoff. Two days of meetings outside of Dallas and the powers can't seem to agree on whether four needs to be eight or 12. It's always about the money and it is here again. But there are too many agendas right now to get a consensus. G5 conferences (or what's left of it) want 12 teams. The SEC could care less how many teams. The Big Ten, ACC and Pac 12 seem to think eight is best. Do we guarantee the P5 champs a spot? Will there be a P5 or a P4? And what does that mean for the Big XII? There is a push to get more media partners and right now ESPN has no interest since they have exclusive rights on the current deal. The group meets again next month and time is running out to get a new format in place for 2024. After we all celebrated a 12-team concept, the current deal staying in place until it expires might be realistic...

Notes: UCF's Dillon Gabriel is at practice. He is doing more but not yet there. Gabriel wants to play again this season and UCF is not opposed to that. Whether it's next Saturday at SMU or home against UCONN, time will tell. But he wants to play and play this season...If Ohio State is blowing out Nebraska in the fourth quarter Saturday afternoon in Lincoln it may signal the end of the Scott Frost era. I don't think Frost will be fired before the season ends. But if the game is out of control, the FOX broadcast will begin to focus on Frost's future and cameras will show thousands of fans leaving before the game ends. It's a $20M buyout but it has that feeling that it's over for Frost. The state didn't like when Frost left the state to go to Stanford. When he transferred back home to Nebraska he had to win fans over with his performance on the field. Then he returned home a hero after two seasons at UCF. Now Frost may be exiting his state again with a fan base not sorry to see him go...I am not a donut guy, but a warm glazed donut is not bad...ESPN's investigative report on Phoenix Suns' owner Robert Sarver is not good for Sarver. His alleged history of racist comments and a toxic environment may lead to him losing his team as the NBA has opened an investigation. Sarver may be a really bad guy and deserves to be forced to sell. But don't think for a second the NBA had no idea of the culture in Phoenix. There is no way someone owns a team for 17 seasons and no one knows what kind of a guy an owner is. The league got rid of Donald Sterling not because he was racist and a really bad person. They knew all those things for years. They got rid of Sterling because the media exposed it and the NBA had no choice but to get rid of him. Sarver will likely face the same fate but it's not because the league just learned of his behavior...I like Essential Quality in the Breeder's Cup Classic tomorrow...Can the Braves really not resign Freddie Freeman after winning a World Series?...Does anyone buy a can of sweet potatoes outside of November and December?...The fact the Texans and Dolphins are playing this week after the trade deadline and no move of DeShaun Watson is remarkable...Billy Joel is coming to Camping World Stadium in March. Billy Joel is 72 and started playing the piano at the age of four. He hated the idea of taking lessons but his mom insisted. Joel wanted to play outside with his friends on those afternoons of lessons. Instead of becoming the shortstop for the New York Yankees, we got one of music's greatest performers...

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