Toughest Months on the Schedule

The changes to the conference schedule make it a more difficult year for Florida. Instead of two smaller opponents to open the season, the Gators hit the road during the second and third weekends of the year in tough stadiums. The more difficult first half of the schedule does make the last month of the regular season easier than usual.

Toughest Months:

1. October- This is by far the toughest month on the schedule. It starts with what is likely the toughest game on the entire schedule when LSU makes a trip to Gainesville on October 6. Florida does have its bye during the last weekend of September and will come into the matchup with the Tigers with two weeks to prepare.

The next week is the only true road game of the month, but it's tougher than it has been in recent years. Florida will make the trip to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt during the second weekend of the month. The Commodores open the season at home against South Carolina on August 30, but they don't have another big home game until Florida comes to town. Head coach James Franklin has energized the Nashville crowd to make this game tougher than it appears on the schedule.

The home date with South Carolina on October 20 will be another tough matchup against a healthy Marcus Lattimore. The Gamecocks torched Florida in Gainesville two years ago with a berth in the SEC Championship on the line. South Carolina returns a stout defense and a horse at running back to carry the load.

The final weekend in October will feature the annual Florida-Georgia matchup in Jacksonville. The Bulldogs got weaker in recent weeks with the dismissal of running back Isaiah Crowell, but quarterback Aaron Murray returns with a talented group of receivers and a defense anchor by sack master Jarvis Jones.

There's a chance than October could feature three teams on Florida's schedule that are ranked in the preseason top ten.

2. September- After the season opener against Bowling Green, things get dicey in a hurry. Florida travels to Texas A&M during the second weekend for the Aggies first home game of the season and first conference game as a member of the SEC. Despite the drovers of offensive talent Texas A&M lost, first-year head coach Kevin Sumlin is one of the best offensive minds in college football. The atmosphere at Kyle Field will be electric.

From one tough road atmosphere to another, the Gators head to Knoxville for the third weekend of the season. Tennessee has plenty of offensive talent to score points with most teams in the country. The matchup to watch will be the Volunteers' offense against the Florida defense. It'll be a second straight week where the Gators walk into a charged atmosphere, but this one includes a head coach that desperately needs win.

Kentucky comes to Gainesville to close out the first month of the season. In back-to-back down years for the Florida program, the Gators haven't had an issue with Kentucky. It shouldn't be different in 2012.

3. November- Pushing the start of conference play to the second weekend of the season makes November an easier month for the Gators. Instead of finishing conference play two weeks before the Florida State game, Florida closes SEC play by hosting Missouri on November 3.

Florida then hosts Louisiana for the homecoming game on November 10 before Jacksonville State makes a trip to Gainesville on November 17. The benefit for Florida is that the two games against smaller schools in mid-November can allow for tweaks and extra preparation for the Florida State game on November 24.

While the Gators will play two smaller schools before the showdown in Tallahassee, the Seminoles have conference games at Virginia Tech and Maryland before returning home to host Florida.


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