Mullen hopes Gators make big leap in Year 2

Dan Mullen made a big leap in his second season at Mississippi State, but his Florida program doesn't have quite so much room to grow.

Unless, of course, the Gators can jump to national contender status. That's what another four-win improvement would mean.

The Bulldogs won five games after Mullen took over in 2009 and nine the following season. The Gators went 10-3 in his debut season and finished with a  No. 7 ranking, a spot shared with Georgia.

As Mullen says, going from 10 wins to 14 "would be pretty good." After all, his players are more familiar with the programs and coaching staff and quarterback Feleipe Franks returns.

All that raises expectations for this season when Florida hopes to challenge defending Eastern Division champion Georgia.

Florida gets a big early test, opening the season Aug. 24 against Miami in Orlando.

The Gators finished last season with two emphatic wins. They beat Florida State 41-14 and then routed Michigan 41-15 in the Peach Bowl.