College Football Preseason Top 25: #23 Florida

Al Dannity | Updated Oct 04, 2017

Last season wasn’t fun for Gators fans. Don’t expect a massive step forward in the first year under Will Muschamp but the former Texas defensive coordinator should bring confidence back to Florida.

The schedule Much like 2010, the start of the schedule isn’t the problem for Florida. The Gators should be at 4-0 when they face Alabama at the Swamp on October 1. The trouble starts with the Tide and continues with road trips to LSU and Auburn before finishing the month with a big SEC East game against Georgia in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.

The tail end of the schedule includes home dates with Vanderbilt and Furman but it isn’t all good news. The Gators must travel to Columbia for a date with South Carolina and then close the season with a tough challenge against Florida State.

The players College Football betting fans know that Florida’s woes at quarterback caused most of their problems in 2010. John Brantley has been declared the starter but after an ugly performance in the spring game he will be on a short leash. In 2010 there was at least some argument that the Gators needed time to adjust their system to suit Brantley. That excuse only goes so far and with 8 returning starters on offense, including a better looking Chris Rainey, a step up will be expected in September.

Defensively this wasn’t the unit that thrilled in 2008 and 2009 but the defensive line looks capable of a breakout year. Despite returning just 4 starters from last season’s defense, the presence of Sheriff Floyd, Dominique Easley, and Ronald Powell provides plenty of cause for confidence. Kicker Caleb Sturgis is an asset that could make a big difference in tight games while punter Kyle Christy promises much.

The forecast Much like Texas, who we featured yesterday, a lot of Florida’s fortunes will depend on how well the quarterback situation is resolved. There are six games on the slate where it’s flat-out impossible to see the Gators losing unless they are in total freefall. It’s the other six that Florida fans need to worry about. It’s not unreasonable to think Florida can go 2-4 with the rest of their schedule. That would mean an 8-4 finish, a decent return. I was tempted to go 9-3 but I just can’t see them going 3-3 against the tougher part of the schedule. Too many of the winnable games are on the road and that counts against them.