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College Football Preview: #25 Florida Gators

The Florida Gators are not a team accustomed to such low expectations. But coming off back to back mediocre seasons is

not something they are accustomed to either. This could work to the Gators’ advantage. Florida is still loaded with talent. If you check the recruiting rankings of the past few years, the Gators finish well above where they are ranked.

Florida has a ton of returning talent, especially on defense, which was not necessarily their biggest problem a year ago. Repeatedly the offense turned the ball over and put them in terrible field position. When the defense had a decent chunk of field to work with, they played well. One area they will need to improve upon is takeaways. Last year they did not do well in that department. 

Jelani Kenkins and Matt Elam have star potential as wells as Shariff Floyd. One negative is the injury to Ronald Powell during the annual Orange and Blue Debut in the spring. His ACL will keep him out for the first half of the season.

On offense, there is an intense battle for the starting quarterback position between Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett, Head Coach Will Muschamp says “we can win with either of them”. Running back Mike Gillislee and Mack Brown will get a chance to run the ball at opposing defenses as new offensive coordinator Brent Pease is installing a new pro-style attack.

The schedule makers did the Gators no favors when they gave them one tune-up game against Bowling Green to prepare for back to back road games at Texas A&M and Tennessee. Both teams have the Gators circled on their calendars, and have since they played their last game of last season. The Aggies will be especially amped up as this is their first game in the SEC. Florida will also face South Carolina and Georgia on back to back weekends in October and then will face another team making its first appearance in the SEC this season, Missouri. And then they have LSU and Florida State to contend with.

If the Gators can improve on offense (and they would just about have to) and hang on to the ball, this team could surprise a lot of people. Teams taking them lightly because of the last two years may want to re-think that. Early reports out of Gainesville are that the guys on the O-Line have really been pumping some iron during the off-season. The linemen in the spread offense relied on quickness. In Muschamp’s offense, they got pushed around last season. The opposition may find that a bit more difficult this year.

Betting prospectus: I would bet the under on them to start the season. That defense will be stellar. The offense will be a work in progress. Wait until we see them against A&M before making a decision on picking them against the spread.

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Wednesday, August 1st, 2012 College Football 2012

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