Blasphemy in the eyes of most Gator fans I know, but it is time to be realistic toward the season ahead. The Gators have talent on both sides of the ball. The defense has experience and a wealth of talent that can be special. But, the issues with inexperience on the offensive line, combined with questions at quarterback, and everyone learning a new system means Florida is going to have to perform some miracles with the SEC schedule that is in front of them in order to win eight games in 2015.
Sept. 5 vs. New Mexico State in Gainesville
Sept. 12 vs. East Carolina in Gainesville
Sept. 19 vs. Kentucky in Lexington
Sept. 26 vs. Tennessee in Gainesville
Oct. 3 vs. Ole Miss in Gainesville
Oct. 10 vs. Missouri in Columbia
Oct. 17 vs. LSU in Baton Rouge
Oct. 31 vs. Georgia in Jacksonville
Nov. 7 vs. Vanderbilt in Gainesville
Nov. 14 vs. South Carolina in Columbia
Nov. 21 vs. Florida Atlantic in Gainesville
Nov. 28 vs. Florida State in Gainesville
The Gators will be preseason favorites to win against NMSU in the opener, against East Carolina in game two, maybe Ole Miss (home game), against Vandy, and against FAU. That is five wins that they will be picked to earn before the season.
We could argue the East Carolina and Ole Miss games for sure. They are not going to be layups. East Carolina will come in with a high flying offense regardless of who they lost from last years’ team. Ole Miss has more top end talent than Florida. I like Florida’s chances to win that game in Gainesville given the parts they have to replace from last year.
Kentucky does have to replace a lot, but they have recruited well and now have established the offense and defense they want to run. The game is the third week in the season and the Wildcat faithful are going to be in a frenzy to end the 28 game winning streak by the Gators. Of the games that Florida won’t be favored, this one may be the most winnable, but this one is not easy and I think the Gators won’t be favored.
Tennessee has their own demons to exorcise with the Gators. Florida owns a 10 game winning streak on the Vols at this moment. That can work both ways as motivation and as a psychological disadvantage as well. However, the Vols have really increased the talent level and now have gained experience on offense that they didn’t have in the 10-9 loss to Florida a year ago. If Florida can show up undefeated at this point, the Florida crowd could be a huge factor. They might be anyway given the rivalry with the Vols.
I will say that every game on the schedule is winnable, at least at this point in time. But, the remaining five games will have to be coached up and the talent gap / inexperience will have to be coached around. In this man’s opinion we aren’t talking about monumental tasks, but I also thinkg winning three of those seven games aren’t probable either.
That is why I hope for the best and wish for eight wins from this staff in year one of the program under Jim McElwain and company.
We'll go into more detail with these wishes as we get closer to the season.