Georgia football lives rent free in Dan Mullen’s head regardless of where he coaches

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 30: head coach Kirby Smart of the Georgia Bulldogs meets with head coach Dan Mullen of the Florida Gators after a game at TIAA Bank Field on October 30, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 30: head coach Kirby Smart of the Georgia Bulldogs meets with head coach Dan Mullen of the Florida Gators after a game at TIAA Bank Field on October 30, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

Since head coach Kirby Smart took over, Georgia football has become the SEC East bully who owns the East and their rivals. Florida is the closest to Georgia in the East, but it’s evident the gap is wide after Saturday’s game.

The 34-7 win was just the second time since 2017 that a Dan Mullen-led team scored under 10 points — remember that flea-flicker dominating 31-3 win over Mississippi State, yeah, that’s the other one.

There is something about Georgia and Smart that Mullen cannot mentally get past. Yes, he beat the Dawgs last year, but he is 2-6 when one of his teams plays Georgia and 1-5 against Kirby Smart as a head coach.

Even though there are people who believe Mullen is a better coach, there is only one coach to hold his potent offenses to fewer than 10 points, and we know who that is.

Georgia football officially lives rent-free in Dan Mullen’s head after the Gators coach moves to 2-6 against the Dawgs.

After getting his fifth loss to Smart on Saturday, there have been a few quotes from his postgame and his Monday press conference that raised some eyebrows.

First, in the postgame interview, he refused to discuss the talent gap and instead bragged about last year’s win over the Dawgs.

When you’re 2-6 against Georgia, it’s understandable to brag about your first win in 10 years over the program. That statement isn’t even out of character for Mullen because there have been plenty of wild things.

However, it’s an odd flex when the one team he cannot seem to overcome is the one he refuses to acknowledge.

Georgia football keeps him up at night because even though he has beaten them, Mullen hasn’t been able to consistently.

Recruiting is a primary reason the talent gap is so large between these two schools, which caused the media to ask them both about it after the game.

Mullen came to Florida to close the gap with Georgia and keep recruits in-state, but that hasn’t been the easiest thing to do for the Gator coach midway through his fourth season.

Remember the ‘even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while’ quote from Mullen? It seems ironic now because he wasn’t talking about his team, but Georgia finished with the No.1  recruiting class that year.

Recruiting isn’t on the same level as Georgia. It’s not even really that close.

Since getting to Florida, the Gators finished No. 14 in 2018, No.9 in 2019, No. 9 in 2020 and No. 12 in 2021 in the 247Sports team rankings. As for the Dawgs, they finished the last five years No. 3, No.1, No.2, No.1 and No. 4.

Mullen cannot keep up with the same pace as Smart and the Bulldogs.

Before the 100th edition of this rivalry game, the Gators lost their two highest-ranked kids in the 2022 class. Now both of those players are heavy Georgia favorites.

On Monday, one of the Gators reporters addressed recruiting again because it is a question that one would think warrants an answer, and well, Mullen gave another zinger.

This kind of quote adds fuel to the fire of Georgia fans trolling Mullen because recruiting is a year-round job.

Mullen seems to want this program to be at the same level, but that takes a lot of work, and so far, it isn’t correlating to the field.

It’s not like Mullen doesn’t deserve the trolling. Since last season, Florida fans have bragged about how Florida is closing the gap and will be competing for the SEC East. Now we’re in the first week of November, and the Gators are 4-4 on the season.

In the SEC East, there is one program with Mullen’s number, and it’s Georgia.

Monday afternoon came with even more Florida news as the Gators canceled media availability for the rest of the week after the recruiting tweet caught some traction.

Georgia football is a weak spot for Mullen, and the Dawgs live rent-free in his head because any chance he gets, there is a dig. It’s not like Georgia is out there giving him stuff. Nope, he does this himself.

Even after a tail whipping to give them their fourth loss on the season, the head coach beat around the bush, and he made it very clear they won last year and not this year. Not sure why last year’s game matters when you’re 1-5 against your biggest recruiting competitor.

Despite trying to figure out Mullen’s analogies and read between the lines of his recruiting comments, one thing is evident ‚— Smart is the better recruiter and coach.

Smart doesn’t worry about what Mullen says or does. He is recruiting and coaching the Dawgs, trying to win a national title. Mullen had a great squad last year, but there is something about having a humble coach that knows when to make snide remarks and when to give credit.

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The gap is no closer to closing than it was when the Gators hired Mullen.  Smart is still doing his thing, and Mullen is still behind him, trying to match his level.

The debate of whether Mullen is a better coach than Smart is no longer a relevant topic after Saturday, at least for Georgia fans, it isn’t.