The Opening Kickoff: No. 7 Gators vs. No. 6 Oklahoma (Goodyear Cotton Bowl)

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DALLAS – In his 152 games as a college football head coach, the last 37 of them at Florida, Dan Mullen has certainly faced improbable circumstances during his career.

Mullen knows about being the underdog. He was head coach at Mississippi State for nine seasons. During that span, the Southeastern Conference West Division in which the Bulldogs call home produced six national champions, five for Alabama and one for Auburn.

Somehow, led by quarterback Dak Prescott, who now calls AT&T Stadium home, Mississippi State climbed to No. 1 in the polls in 2014. It remains perhaps Mullen’s most impressive accomplishment on the sideline.
 

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Fast forward six years and Mullen, in his third season at Florida, had the Gators in contention for the program’s first College Football Playoff berth until a last-minute home loss to LSU in the regular-season finale. And then the following week in the SEC Championship Game against No. 1-ranked Alabama, the Gators put up a valiant effort but fell short in a 52-46 shootout.

That leads us to

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