With a chance to secure a bowl berth with three games against ranked opponents left on the schedule, Florida football coach Billy Napier knew he had to win on Saturday.
The Gators were hosting an unranked Arkansas team that was 2-6 on the season and in the middle of a six-game losing streak. The Razorbacks were reeling and had a number of excruciating losses over the past couple of months. This had to be a win for Florida.
But the score was 14-0 in favor of Arkansas before Florida fought back and tied things up.
The game was back-and-forth throughout until a missed field goal led to overtime and then the Razorbacks won on a walk-off touchdown after the Gators kicked a field goal on the opening possession. Sam Pittman and Arkansas pulled off the unthinkable road win.
The Swamp fell silent.
Billy Napier could be on the hot seat with Florida football
It’s just year two of Napier so it’s really tough to judge a head coach already, but little to no progress has been made from last year to this season.
Florida was 6-7 a year ago with a 3-5 record in conference play and there’s a good chance the Gators go 5-7 or 6-6 this year. It would actually be more realistic for Florida to lose out against the likes of LSU, Missouri, and Florida State. That wouldn’t be a shock.
And then everyone could look back on this Arkansas loss as the “if they had won” game which prevents the Gators from heading to a bowl game.
So is Napier on the hot seat if that happens? Absolutely.
If Florida cannot make a bowl game this season, Napier’s future should be very much in question. Do I think he’ll be fired this season? It’d be both surprising and unsurprising. The expectations are sky-high at Florida. Not making a bowl game is an embarrassment. That cannot happen, especially considering he’s been recruiting some elite talent.
Saturday’s loss was inexcusable and puts Napier in a tough spot for the rest of the year. He’s going to have to steal a win against one of the three remaining ranked opponents.
If not, he could be out sooner rather than later.