Ranking the home games

The home schedule lacks the rivalry match ups against Florida State and Tennessee that it has in even numbered years, but there are still some exciting games to be played in The Swamp this year.

7. Eastern Kentucky (November 22): An Ohio Valley Conference member, the Colonels went 6-6 last season, including a 4-4 record against conference opponents. They made the trip to Louisville for the second week of the season and suffered a 44-7 loss to the Cardinals.

Senior quarterback Jared McClain returns after throwing for 1,535 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions last season, averaging 127.9 yards per game. He was also second on the team with 414 rushing yards on the season, leading the team with seven rushing touchdowns. Running back J.J. Jude returns after running for 637 yards and six touchdowns last year, averaging 57.9 yards per game.

6. Eastern Michigan (September 6): The Eagles haven't had a winning season since 1995 and went 2-10 last season, bringing coaching changes. First-year head coach Chris Creighton, who took the job after six seasons at Drake, has a lot to rebuild. The Eagles struggled against marquee opponents last year, falling 45-7 at Penn State and 59-20 at Northern Illinois.

Brogan Roback returns at quarterback after supplanting Tyler Benz as the starter last season. Roback ended up throwing for 640 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions while completing 42.2 percent of his passes. Running back Bronson Hill is the team's best offensive weapon after rushing for 1,101 yards and five touchdowns last season. Receiver Dustin Creel (593 yards, five touchdowns) and tight end Tyreese Russell (594 yards, three touchdowns) will be the top targets in Creighton's passing offense.

5. Idaho (August 30): Second-year coach Paul Petrino leads his team in the 2014 season, knowing it will face a bowl ban because of low APR scores. The Vandals dropped a game in Tallahassee to eventual national champion Florida State last season 80-14. The Idaho defense allowed 59 or more points four times last season. If there was a perfect opponent for a Florida offense that needs to get off to a fast start, it's the Vandals.

Last year's leading tackler Marc Millan (91 tackles) returns, but there isn't much sign of improvement for this defense, especially in the season opener during a night game in The Swamp. There are just as many questions on the offensive side of the ball.

4. Kentucky (September 13): The Wildcats return eight starters on both sides of the ball heading into the second year under Mark Stoops. After trying to reshape the image of the program, Stoops brought in the heavily recruited Drew Barker at quarterback, and he could challenge to see snaps right away. However, the trip to The Swamp is the team's first road game and would be a challenge for the freshman if he wins the job. The returning receivers don't have much experience, but running backs JoJo Kemp (482 yards, three touchdowns) and Josh Clemons can anchor the running game.

The Kentucky defense will be led by its pair of two defensive ends Alvin Dupree and Za'Darius Smith, who combined for 13 sacks last season.

3. Missouri (October 18): The Tigers will make their second trip to Gainesville since joining the Southeastern Conference. After making the conference title game last season, Missouri plugs Maty Mauk into the full time quarterback spot. The Gators saw him up close last season, as he led the Tigers to a win over Florida in Columbia. Mauk loves to throw the deep ball, and even with the loss of Dorial Green-Beckham, he still has talented receivers like Jimmie Hunt and Bud Sasser that could emerge.

Defensive ends Kony Ealy and Michael Sam terrorized teams off the edge last season, but both have moved on to the NFL. Markus Golden and Shane Ray will take over the spots after totaling 11 sacks as reserves last year. The linebackers and secondary have unanswered questions that need to get filled by the start of the season.

2. South Carolina (November 15): The Gamecocks have to replace Connor Shaw at quarterback, but that's a lot easier to do with a star running back like Mike Davis. Senior Dylan Thompson is expected to play quarterback after serving as the backup last season. Davis rushed for 1,183 yards last season while battling injuries during the second half of the season.

South Carolina also lost Jadeveon Clowney and Kelcy Quarles on the defensive line. The pieces are there, but the experience isn't. Sophomore linebacker Skai Moore, a Florida high school product, led the team in tackles last season as a freshman.

1. LSU (October 11): The Tigers got cleaned out on the offensive side of the ball, losing quarterback Zach Mettenberger, running back Jeremy Hill, and receivers Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry. The quarterback battle between Brandon Harris and Anthony Jennings is yet to be settled, and the running back battle could be solved by freshman Leonard Fournette.

The pass rush will be anchored by Danielle Hunter and Jermauria Rasco while Kwon Alexander and Kendell Beckwith will help the linebacker play this year. The secondary has some question marks, but sophomore cornerback Rashard Robinson isn't one and could be primed for a breakout year.


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