SEC football Misery Index: Florida and Dan Mullen need a break. He'll have to settle for the couch

Nick Gray
Nashville Tennessean

Sitting in the South Carolina end zone as wide open as Todd Grantham will allow, the SEC Misery Index is here to catch you up on Week 10.

Let's start in Gainesville, shall we?

Most miserable: Florida and Dan Mullen are not good for each other

The Florida Gators and Dan Mullen are in a really tough spot.

Mullen and Florida need a break from each other, but college football doesn't work that way. From the Misery Index's point of view, Mullen checked out sometime after the Gators' loss at Kentucky. Even that game included some curious game management at the end of the first half and a lack of self-awareness about what the Gators do well.

Speaking of what they do well, it's not a long list at the moment. Florida's offense has turned the ball over at least once in every game and has turned the ball over multiple times each of the last four games. Turnovers, including a fumble returned for a touchdown, defeated the effectiveness of the 6.1 yards per play the Gators had in Saturday's 40-17 loss to South Carolina.

Defensively, the Gators have allowed 42, 34 and 40 points in the last three games and have given up their worst yards per play performances of the season. 

Florida head coach Dan Mullen disputes a call in the second quarter against South Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium Columbia, South Carolina on Saturday, Nov. 6. (Jeff Blake, USA TODAY Sports)

The on-field output is bad. Off the field, Mullen has had some curious answers to things as simple as singing the school alma mater after games and recruiting. Mullen is apparently attempting to shake things up, with The Athletic reporting late Sunday that defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and offensive line coach John Hevesy have been fired.

Unfortunately, a major college football program and its head coach can't separate for a couple weeks or a month to try and get things right. Mullen is sleeping on the couch, but he can't leave for a hotel and come back. He's the coach of the Florida Gators, and they have three more regular season games. Nothing can be guaranteed, but things aren't likely to get better. 

Pretty miserable: Kentucky's defense spoils the day in Lexington

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops and defensive coordinator Brad White had a rude awakening out of the open week.

Mississippi State QB Will Rogers was 36-for-39 for 344 yards two weeks ago, then Tennessee's  Hendon Hooker averaged 15.6 yards per attempt and threw for four touchdowns in Saturday's 45-42 UT victory in Lexington.

The Vols had a 75-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the game and never looked back. The three kneeldowns at the end of the game prevented the Vols from having at least 10 yards per play.

It's a shame for the Kentucky offense and Will Levis, who responded to a poor game in Starkville with a 374-yard effort and five total TDs. Kentucky fans wish the defense would have responded similarly.

Kentucky's "best season in 70 years" storyline has turned into 9-3 at best and a chance at 10 wins at the bowl game. Someone needs to remind Wildcats fans that 10-3 would still be one of the three best seasons since Bear Bryant.

Miserable, but can deal with it:  Alabama's running game

LSU isn't consistently bad at stopping the run, but it can be. It certainly wasn't bad on Saturday night.

Alabama rushed for 6 yards against the Tigers on Saturday. Six! Paper airplanes cover more acreage. 

Brian Robinson had 18 yards on 13 carries. That is not good. Only McNeese State and Central Michigan have not run for at least 115 yards against the Tigers this season.

Nov 6, 2021; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama running back Brian Robinson Jr. (4) carries the ball against LSU at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien and offensive line coach Doug Marrone are former NFL head coaches, and both had to spend several seasons trying to stop former Alabama RB Derrick Henry in the AFC South. The Crimson Tide do not have a Derrick Henry-type back, but it's better than 6-yard performances. Georgia, which routinely allows scant yardage on the ground, will take notice.

BLAKE TOPPMEYER:Nick Saban seems to know what ails Alabama football. It boils down to one word

Not everyone is miserable....

  • The Tennessee Vols have done it again in Lexington, overcoming a gaudy box score and winning the game at Kentucky. In reality, the Vols were ultra-efficient on offense, scoring 38 of its 45 points with 13:45 of possession time. Only one of Tennessee's six offensive scoring drives were longer than a minute. 
  • Georgia is good. Missouri is not. Next.
  • Arkansas got back to its winning ways with a 31-28 squeaker against Mississippi State. There were no second-half punts; the Hogs missed one field goal, and the Bulldogs missed three. That was the difference. 
  • Ole Miss took care of business in 27-14 victory against former coach Hugh Freeze and Liberty. After the game, Ole Miss football's Twitter had fun with a couple of Freeze-era memes, and someone's feelings got hurt. Whose, we'll never know.
  • The Misery Index (and the rest of non-Palmetto State media) will continue to talk about Dan Mullen and Florida, but it should be noted that South Carolina is 5-4 in Year 1 of Shane Beamer. Williams-Brice Stadium could be fired up on the final Saturday of November when a not-superhuman Clemson comes to town.