2009 Gator Opponents: For Better Or Worse

When the Gators are annually ranked so high Gator fans typically worry ahead about the team's opponents. Here is a team-by-team look at the Gators' opponents and how they faired this week. We will give our assessment of their play related to how we think they should have done. With seven games left on the schedule, here is our take on how the Gators' 11 Bowl Subdivision opponents fared.

We won't include Charleston Southern as they will not count mathematically in the equation for the BCS standings moving forward.

Troy (3-2)
Last Game: Won 31-7 over Middle Tennessee State in Troy
Report: After an 0–2 start the Troy Trojans have come on strong and won three straight. MTSU was a decent win as they were 3-1 heading into the game with Troy with a win ofver Maryland at Maryland. The Troy offense is coming around scoring 27, 30, and 31 points in the last three games.
Next Game: This weekend at FIU.
Is the Perception Better or Worse?: Better (than a week ago)

Tennessee (3-3)
Last Game: Won 45-19 in Knoxville over Georgia.
Report: Tennessee made Georgia look foolish in the game. The Tennessee defense really only gave up three of Georgia's 19 points as the Dawgs scored on a safety, interception return for a touchdown, and a kick return for a touchdown. Peyton Manning showed up to play for the Vols in a Jonathan Crompton uniform and the senior quarterback had his biggest game of his career in the rout.
Next Game: Bye Week
Is the Perception Better or Worse?: Better (than a week ago)

Kentucky (2-3)
Last Game: Lost 28-26 at South Carolina
Report: Kentucky has had the hardest schedule in the SEC so far having to play Florida, Alabama,and South Carolina in consecutive weeks. Those are three of the four best teams in the conference right now. After getting it taken to them by the Gators, the Wildcats played Alabama pretty close and then should have beaten the Gamecocks on the road. Kentucky was leading in the third quarter when starting quarterback Mike Hartline left with a sprained knee.
Next Game: This weekend at Auburn.
Is the Perception Better or Worse?: About the Same(than a week ago)

LSU (5-1)
Last Game: Lost 13-3 at home vs. Florida
Report: We got about what we expected from LSU although they may have been a tad better on defense than first thought. They still haven't proven they can stop a real running game though. Offensively, they aren't good against power teams and showed that once again.
Next Game: Bye Week
Is the Perception Better or Worse?: About the Same (than a week ago)

Arkansas (3-2)
Last Game: Won 44-23 vs. Auburn at home.
Report: Arkansas screamed out to a 34-3 lead and gave up some points in the third quarter, but this game was worse than the score indicated. The Razorbacks appear to have one of the best offenses in the conference, if not the best. They shut down the high poweree Auburn offense for most of the game.
Next Game: This week vs. Florida in Gainesville.
Is the Perception Better or Worse?: Better (than a week ago)

Mississippi State (2-4)
Last Game: Lost 31-24 at home to Houston.
Report: The Bulldogs are scoring some points but are also allowing way too many to win games. Houston had 434 yards passing and 31 points in the win over MSU. They have to find a defense. MSU ran for 330 yards in the loss.
Next Game: This weekend at Middle Tennessee State.
Is the Perception Better or Worse?: Slightly Worse (than a week ago)

Georgia (3-3)
Last Game: Lost 45-19 at Tennessee.
Report: The Dawgs looked pathetic. They lost in all phases of the game and made Tennessee's offense look like a juggernaut.
Next Game: This weekend at Vanderbilt.
Is the Perception Better or Worse?: Worse (than a week ago)

Vanderbilt (2-4)
Last Game: Lost 16-13 (OT) at Army.
Report: Army controlled the clock and had 222 rushing yards on the Commodores in the Vandy loss. Three turnovers and 6-for-15 on third down conversions were key for the Commodores in the loss.
Next Game: This weekend vs, Georgia at home.
Is the Perception Better or Worse?: Worse (than a week ago)

South Carolina (5-1)
Last Game: Won 28-26 at home Kentucky.
Report: Stephen Garcia continues to improve his game and scored on a game winning leap into the end zone. He also threw for three touchdowns and only one interception in the game. The South Carolina defense gave up a huge 205 yards rushing in the contest, definitely something for them to worry about moving forward.
Next Game: This week at Alabama.
Is the Perception Better or Worse?: About the Same (than a week ago)

FIU (1-4)
Last Game: Won 37-20 at Western Kentucky..
Report: FIU used a balanced attack to come up with 486 total yards in the game and their first win of the season. FIU quarterback Paul McCall had 280 yards passing with two touchdowns and no interceptions to lead the way.
Next Game: at home vs. Troy.
Is the Perception Better or Worse?: About the Same (than a week ago)

Florida State (2-4)
Last Game: Lost 49-44 at home vs. Georgia Tech..
Report: Again, this may be Bobby Bowden's worst defense of his career at FSU. Giving up 401 yards rushing is pretty unbelievable at this level of play.
Next Game: Bye this weekend.
Is the Perception Better or Worse?: Worse (than a week ago)

Round Up: The Gators seem to have faced the two toughest defense they will see the entire regular season in Tennessee and LSU. Arkansas appears to be the only team left ion the schedule that looked better this past weekend than previously thought.

South Carolina's 5-1 record could be 6-0 or could be 3-3, so we will find out more this week when they play against Bama. Them giving up 205 yards rushing to Kentucky doesn't bode well when playing the Bama rushing attack, but the gamecocks still seem to be the toughest game left on the schedule.

Arkansas could be that team and their offense is really rolling now and becoming more consistent. Their defense still should get riddled by the gators.

Georgia and FSU appear to be the only other teams with enough talent to beat Florida on a bad day, but they would have to be on their best and the Gators at their worst to pull the game out in my opinion.

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