The strength of schedule component will weaken in the weeks ahead, so the Gators performances must improve. Not one of Florida's five remaining opponents is in the BCS top 25 and that's bound to hurt.
Several Things to Root For
As the second phase of the season gets underway, Florida partisans might want to consider what matters most when it comes to games that don't involve the Gators. The easiest way to put it is this: root for every team on the schedule. From Kentucky and Western Carolina to Florida State and Vanderbilt everyone Florida plays needs to do well. I understand some of that cheering will be painful, but like visiting the dentist, it's something you gotta do.
Aside form the obvious rooting for upsets left and right there are certain other things that Florida will need to reach the top two. All of this obviously is built around the Gators running the table. Of course all of it makes watching other games more meaningful since you end up with a rooting interest in so many contests. Now let's evaluate some of the key situations.
Michigan/Ohio State ----- The winner of this game appears to be a lock for the national title game, but what of the loser? Michigan plays Iowa this week and both schools play Indiana which just shocked Iowa. If no upsets emerge there, the loser of the showdown at the horseshoe may well be getting a rematch.
Notre Dame/Southern Cal ----- The winner of this game is a very strong contender to reach the title game, especially the unbeaten Trojans. USC has a very tough finishing stretch that includes California, UCLA and Oregon in addition to the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame has a relatively weak schedule with UCLA and Navy the best teams other than Southern Cal.
Big East Champion ----- It's amazing this conference has three unbeaten teams and a one-loss Pittsburgh that can all be in the mix. They all play each other over the next several weeks and the only thing that matters is that the beat each other up.
Texas ----- Should the Longhorns run the table and Ohio State do so as well you can make a heckuva case for Texas whose only loss would be to the nation's top team. They have several challenging games, and you know Nebraska would love to knock them completely out of the picture, just as Texas eliminated the Cornhuskers back in '96.
I don't know if the Gators will run the table and win the next six games, but if they did it would be an incredible accomplishment. 12-and-1 against this schedule is like being unbeaten in most other leagues. And it just might be enough to get the Gators into their third national title game… if certain other things take place.