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ESPN analyst: Gators will win national title before ‘Noles or ‘Canes

Dan Mullen introductory news conference

Which coach in Florida has the best chance to lift a national championship trophy soon? One national analyst has his answer, and he’s picking Dan Mullen.

ESPN’s Tom Luginbill said he expects Florida to be the state’s next national champion during his Wednesday appearance on “The Frangie Show” on 1010XL Jax Sports Radio in Jacksonville.

The biggest reason for Luginbill’s confidence? Dan Mullen.

“I just believe that he has proven himself to be an unbelievable evaluator of personnel and a developer of personnel,” Luginbill said. “It’s not just about collecting talent. It’s about putting together the right team.

“He seems to have a real strong feel for who’s a talented guy but also who’s the right guy, who to maybe stay away from, who should we take a chance on. And when he’s done that, he’s been right more often than not.”

RELATED: Dan Mullen has a lot more to work with at Florida than he did at Mississippi State

Luginbill believes Mullen’s long track record of developing quarterbacks makes him an ideal choice to resolve the Gators’ longstanding quarterback issues.

“I could make the argument that there has been no greater developer of quarterbacks in college football over the last five to 10 years than Dan Mullen,” Luginbill said. “I don’t even think it’s close. To take the guys that he’s recruited, that he’s brought along and developed into really, really good football players, that it becomes the face and continues to change the face of a program like Dak Prescott and Nick Fitzgerald have at Mississippi State — that’s exactly what this Florida program is needing.”

Once the quarterback situation is resolved, Luginbill feels the Gators already have enough other pieces lined up, particularly on defense, that they can quickly get back into the conference race.

“They have so many of the other elements already in play,” he said. “They get that part of it fixed up, they’re right in the mix again, and it’s at a time when Georgia is taking the lead in the SEC East but everybody else is up for grabs.”

Florida has won national championships in 1996, under Steve Spurrier, and in 2006 and ’08, both under Urban Meyer.

Florida State’s titles have come in 1993 and ’99, both coached by Bobby Bowden, and in 2013 under Jimbo Fisher, who left the Seminoles last week. Miami has the most national championships in the state with five, under Howard Schnellenberger (1983), Jimmy Johnson (1987), Dennis Erickson (1989 and ’91) and Larry Coker (2001).

Here is the link to the full program.

(You can follow Frank Frangie on Twitter @Frank_Frangie)

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