Gators Get a Do Over

While Florida's loss to Ole Miss is a bitter pill for fans to swallow, the repercussions from it are nowhere near as severe as one might have anticipated leaving Florida Field Saturday. As an examination of the facts shows, the Gators have almost the exact same opportunity of achieving every potential goal that they had prior to the loss.

Alabama's victory over Georgia was enormous for Florida. Without that, there would be no margin for error going into the LSU game. The defending BCS champs are the next team the Gators will see in The Swamp, and that game two weeks from now should be a brutal battle.

Thanks to Alabama's win, Florida will almost certainly control their own fate for a trip to the SEC championship game even if they should lose to LSU. South Carolina and Tennessee each already have two SEC losses. While Vanderbilt's 2-0 in conference this year and Kentucky has not played an SEC opponent yet, neither team is expected to win the rest of their games other than their matchups with Florida. As long as neither is able to do that, a loss to LSU would not keep the Gators out of Atlanta if they triumphed in their last four SEC games.

Florida did relinquish some control of its BCS Championship Game chances with their loss to the Rebels, but opportunity appears to be there for them to make up the little ground they've lost. As of this week, there are already no unbeaten teams in either the Pac-10 or ACC. Any one loss team from those disappointing leagues would be hampered against a one loss SEC team by a poor strength of schedule in the year end ratings. Five Big 12 teams are unbeaten, but only one at most can emerge from the conference that way. For UF's purposes it doesn't matter which one does.

Two teams are unbeaten in both the Big East and Big Ten, but none seem well set up to finish that way. Penn State is the best remaining team of the bunch, but has difficult road trips to face Wisconsin and Ohio State left on their schedule. Not many people anticipate Northwestern or Connecticut making it through the year without tripping up. USF has just three road games remaining, but Jim Leavitt's club didn't inspire much perfect season confidence when they had to struggle past FIU recently. Of teams outside the six automatic bid conferences, only BYU and Utah are conceivable BCS title game party crashers. Those two play each other, so one is guaranteed a loss.

Florida clearly has work to do if Urban Meyer's squad is going to reach the heights many believed this team was capable of before the season began. Speaking after the Ole Miss loss, Tim Tebow expressed disappointment in losing out on the goal of a perfect season. Tebow then said, "A lot of good will come out of this... you'll never see a team play harder the rest of the season." If he's right, the rest of the Gator objectives are still theirs for the taking.


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