The Florida Gators host the LSU Tigers on Oct. 17, one week after both teams lost in stunning upsets. Florida head coach Dan Mullen wants his team to secure victory and believes that fans could provide an advantage. He told reporters that he wants to see 90,000 fans in attendance for the rivalry game.
Mullen made the comment to reporters following a last-second loss to the Texas A&M Aggies. He said that the loud fans were a factor in Saturday's loss — although he didn't say that it was the sole reason for the upset. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently moved the state into Phase 3 of the reopening plans and removed the limitations surrounding fan attendance at sporting events. If the university gives the go-ahead, the Florida fans could pack the stands.
"I know our governor passed that rule, so certainly, hopefully, the university administration decides to let us pack the Swamp against LSU," Mullen said, per the Tampa Bay Times. "I certainly hope our university administration follows the governor. The governor has passed a rule that we're allowed to pack the Swamp and have 90,000 in the Swamp to give us the home-field advantage Texas A&M had today."
Prior to the football season, the Gators announced that they would allow an estimated 20% — roughly 17,000 fans — at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium during the season. Oct. 3's home opener against South Carolina featured an announced 15,120 fans. Saturday's loss to Texas A&M, on the other hand, had an announced crowd of 24,709.
In order for fans to attend the LSU game, the administration will have to make the decision after weighing the various concerns about health and safety. They will also have to consider how the general public will react to the sight of a packed stadium during a football game. Critical comments surfaced on Twitter after news that Mullen wants to see 90,000 fans, with many saying that the head coach wants to "kill his fans" after losing a winnable game.
Ultimately, Mullen doesn't know if the Gators will allow full fan attendance for the upcoming game against the Tigers. However, he would like to see this happen. The coach wants the Gators to have a home-field advantage when the Tigers come to town.
"Absolutely want to see 90,000 in the Swamp," Mullen continued. "Hopefully, that creates a home-field advantage for us next week because now we passed a law in our state that we can do that. We want our students out there cheering us on to give us that home-field advantage."