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Will Muschamp is gone

The Florida Gators declared the end of a four-year era. The primary emotion, maybe even for the outgoing coach himself, is relief.

1. Getting a coach fired is taking your socks off after a long day. It is warm sunshine on a bare ass. It is the eggs, bacon, and coffee heralding the beginning of the end of a skull-shattering hangover, and possibly the cinnamon bun you eat on the way out the door in a desperate attempt to feel anything good at all. It is a peasant's delight, a mobgoer's holiday, and a vandal's Christmas. I was powerless, the fan says; then, when given the chance, I threw you off a cliff, and took all your stuff. Because, at long last, I could. It's better than peeing after drinking a 144-oz. Coke and waiting out the end of a movie. It's as much of a relief as a swift death a day before getting indicted.

2. The reason for that special day: Florida announced Sunday that head coach Will Muschamp will leave after four years of haphazard, uneven, dumb, frustrating, mind-numbing, incoherent, spasmodically successful, errant, physical, bullheaded, cantankerous, minimalist, stupid, ugly, inedible, mismanaged, horrendous, helpless, brutish, nasty, janked-up, spluttering, sloppy, undisciplined, possibly cursed, flustered, doomed, hamfisted, courageous, brainless, antediluvian, Cro-Magnon, hard-hitting, misguided, bedeviled, hard-lucked, injury-prone, and inevitably unsuccessful football.

3. There is no limit to the variations of failure here. Muschamp was blown out at home on Homecoming by Mizzou, 42-13, and sniped by a late field goal, completing a 30-27 home collapse against LSU. Alabama could have scored 60 on the Gators, but got bored and politely declined the option in a 42-21 road humiliation. When Florida lined up for a late punt against South Carolina after the Gamecocks had already blocked a game-clinching field goal, the kick was blocked before the ball was ever snapped. Don't ever tell anyone you can't block a ball with your mind; Florida did it, and then handed it to South Carolina with a smile. The confidence in delivering losses was the only constant Florida had left, something it got down to some time after the worst loss in program history: a home defeat by Georgia Southern in 2013.

Did you forget that happened, the low point of lows for an entire era? He did that. Will Muschamp's signature loss of signature losses is him misspelling the word "fart" in spray paint across "The Birth of Venus."  It's an atrocity almost admirable in its accidental, perfect malice. For the record, I think Will would spell it "p-h-a-r-t," because that's the funniest possible misspelling of the word.

4. Muschamp himself seemed lost for answers.

"Why has it happened like this? I can't sit here and give you a reason. I can't put my finger on it," he said in an October interview, in which he all but acknowledged that without a win over Georgia, he was done, and that even beyond that, there were no guarantees. Even yesterday, after his mostly reliable special teams kicked the last nails into his coffin, he remained flummoxed. "I don't know what else to say, other than that," was his refrain in the press conference following the game. He looked as he always did after losses: disheveled, blinking less than a person should, and looking 45 degrees to the floor as he spoke.

5. A lot of coaches look bad after losses, but Muschamp was the only one I knew who concerned other coaches. I'm worried for him. People around him said his hands would be noticeably colder after a loss. When he passed me following a 2013 loss at Miami, his skin was a bloodless color like the belly of a recently gigged frog. A lot of coaches have obvious physiological reactions to losses, but Muschamp changed color after losses like a chameleon seeking cover against the whitest blank wall he could find.

His anger during games, spectacular as it was, was nothing compared to the terror of looking at him and thinking: are we going to have to call an ambulance for a coach? Again? You have to believe he had no answers for how his teams kept losing, and also that the first person he took it out on was himself. If anyone felt hopelessly confused by the Muschamp experiment, it was Muschamp himself.

6. It'd be pitiable if Muschamp hadn't done all that without tying every heavy stone he could find to his neck before diving into the deep waters of the Florida job. He let someone talk him into taking Charlie Weis on as offensive coordinator. He recruited poorly on the offensive side of the ball and watched haplessly as the Dalvin Cooks of the world ended up in Tallahassee. He shuffled the offensive staff randomly and lost on almost every gamble he took. He started Jeff Driskel long after it became clear that Driskel was a shattered prospect and turnover slot machine. His teams committed flagrant personal fouls at the worst imaginable times.

He doubled down on extreme offensive conservatism and winning one-score games a full decade after the rest of college football gave up on the concept. Muschamp did all of this at a school where, stylistically, no one wanted it.

7. That all sounds like it makes sense, but there are still some things about the past four years of Florida football no one can explain. No one will be able to explain how, even in the midst of an 11-win season, Muschamp nearly lost to Louisiana-Lafayette and needed a punt block to prevent another disaster at home, or managed to win so many games with fewer than 100 yards passing. The stat lines from Florida's wins defied all reason and precedent; so did the box scores from its losses.

In the end, there were more of the math-breaking losses than wins. Muschamp's teams went 9-12 over the last two years, the worst stretch in Gainesville since the Charley Pell era. Somehow, despite fielding some of the best defenses in school history and hiring the man Texas wanted to replace Mack Brown, this all failed.

8. Muschamp was the Franz Reichelt of coaching. He built that parachute himself. He risked his own life on it working. That ended with similar results, but you have to admire the commitment to a bad idea either way.

9. With his firing, there has to be relief. Relief that the people in charge no longer have to go to work knowing they're going to have to fire someone they really like, relief that you can ask Muschamp to stop doing this thing he clearly doesn't know how to do, relief that no one has to watch his teams play devolved football anymore, and relief that he can go rebuild his career somewhere else. Muschamp has to be relieved. Watching this football team play seemed to be as stressful to him as it was to fans wondering when, not if, it would come flying off the rails and into the nearest elementary school.

10. You'll read a lot of things about how the mob won. Muschamp was a nice guy. He restored the program to stability following the departure of Urban Meyer. That's half-true. Muschamp did reduce the number of player arrests, kept a generally clean house, and was well-liked around the program. He also drove attendance into a well over the past two years, pissed off the younger boosters who onboarded during the Meyer years, and made an embarrassment of the program on the field.

In the end, it was a relief, but don't forget what this was in its lifespan: a dumb, misbegotten idea created with the best of intentions and the worst of results. There are four people who still believe he can be a head coach at the University of Florida. I suggest you swindle them out of every last dime they have, because they deserve nothing less.

11. In conclusion: RIP, Big Dumb Will Muschamp Football. In the end, you were too dumb to live and too ugly to mourn.