The last time Florida dropped consecutive homecoming games was 1946 and 1947.
If it happens again, Will Muschamp will likely need a local real estate agent.
The Gators, which lost to Vanderbilt on homecoming last season, plays host to Missouri (7 p.m., ESPN2) in a must-win for Muschamp.
Florida (3-2, 2-2 SEC) needs to win out to keep its faint hopes alive of reaching Atlanta.
The Gators’ remaining schedule — Missouri (4-2, 1-1 SEC), No. 10 Georgia, Vanderbilt and South Carolina — is favorable, especially compared to division foes UGA and Kentucky.
Still, UF hasn’t won four straight games since September 2012, and for three straight seasons the team has cried wolf on controlling its own destiny up Interstate 75 to the SEC title game.
“We have everything in front of us,” junior tailback Matt Jones said. “We have next up Missouri, Georgia, Vanderbilt. We've got to win like four games straight. They're all beatable teams.”
Only so is UF.
The Gators have failed in put up or shut up moments in recent years (at South Carolina in 2011, vs. Georgia in 2012), and a loss to a reeling Tigers team — fresh off a 34-0 steel-clubbing at home to Georgia — could be the official nail in Muschamp’s coffin.
“We've got it right in our hands,” Jones continued. “It's just like taking candy from a baby. We've got to go get it.”
UF devastatingly lost to LSU last weekend, but Muschamp met with the seniors to reaffirm the team’s goals, outlining UF’s position to win the East.
“He told us we have four games to get us to the SEC championship,” senior center Max Garcia said. “Four very winnable games if we go out there and do what we’re supposed to do and what we’re capable of doing. He just put that in perspective for us. We have what we want right in front of us. So if we go out there and approach it one game at a time, we’ll be where we want to be.”
The Gators have lost 11 of their last 18 games, and although many preseason prognosticators predicted defeats to Alabama and LSU, the manor of Florida’s play hasn’t helped Muschamp’s case for another season in Gainesville.
Muschamp touted this year’s group as his most-talented team at Florida. The results haven’t changed, but worse, cosmetically the Gators look no different than the 2013 group that was decimated by injuries and lost seven straight.
Florida continues to play hard.
Execution, not effort, remains the critical issue. The Gators will utilize a two-quarterback system against Mizzou, with struggling starter Jeff Driskel and true freshman Treon Harris splitting snaps.
With no margin for error, it could be too little, too late.
“Our issues are always something fixable,” senior linebacker Mike Taylor said, exasperatingly. “It’s not effort. If you’re not playing hard, you’re not going to be in situations like [a close loss to LSU] anyways. Execution is something we can fix. Doing the right thing at the right time. It’s something we’ve got to work on and will help us win those games we’ve lost in the past.”