Once again, the Florida Gator football team enters a new season with renewed optimism.
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In regards to how the 2015 season will pan out for Florida, I am predicting at worst an 8-4 regular season record.
I think the Gators will run into trouble in a four-game stretch that includes Tennessee, Ole Miss, LSU, and Missouri.
Now I know McElwain has assured Gator Nation that it will take some time before the Gators are competing for SEC and National Championships year-in and year-out.
What Coach Mac says is very true, however, I always love to carry some type of optimism into a new season. Predicting a 7-5 season I feel like is discrediting the talent that Florida has while 12-0 is just plain unrealistic.
I am also excited to see an entertaining offense this season. The conservative, run-dominated offenses of Will Muschamp and his various offensive coordinators lulled me to sleep and made the Gators difficult to watch.
I am still a very big proponent of running the ball. I will especially be happy to see junior running back Kelvin Taylor finally get the carries he deserves after Muschamp wrongfully cheated him out of a good amount of playing time his first two seasons.
We all saw how good Kelvin can be after his game against Georgia where he rushed for two touchdowns and 197 yards– all he has needed is an actual chance to prove himself.
As for the air attack, I am not asking Grier or Treon to be like Danny Wuerffel in the 90’s.
All I want is for Florida to be able to pick up chunks of yards through the air. I want playmaking receivers like Demarcus Robinson and Ahmad Fulwood to be legitimate threats for defenses to worry about in addition to the ground game.Nov 22, 2014; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators wide receiver Demarcus Robinson (11) is congratulated after he caught the ball for a touchdown against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels during the second quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
My three games to watch this year are all in The Swamp and are against:
- Tennessee (Sept. 28)
- Florida has owned Tennessee in recent years as the Gators currently hold a 10-game win streak in the series. In fact, the Vols have not beaten the Gators in Gainesville since 2003. That being said, Tennesse is on the rise and is going to be a good team real soon. Losing to Florida by a heartbreaking score of 10-9 last year in Knoxville, the Vols are going to give the Gators their money’s worth in the Swamp this year.
- Ole Miss (Oct. 3)
- The last time Ole Miss came to The Swamp, they left with a 31-30 upset victory over Tim Tebow and the #3 Florida Gators in 2008. In 23 meetings, the Rebels hold a 12-10-1 series advantage over Florida. This is honestly the home game that I am the most excited about as Ole Miss will most likely be the favorite and could potentially be in the Top-5. This will be a great defensive battle.
- Florida State (Nov. 28)
- The Seminoles have been unstoppable in recent years, beating Florida four times in the last five meetings. In 2015, the losing will finally stop. The Florida Gators will end their two-game losing streak and defeat FSU at home for the first time since 2009. With Florida hopefully having a capable offense after 11 games along with a still vicious defense, FSU will be Gator Bait in the Swamp.
As for my thoughts on the SEC East, I think that despite potentially dropping games to Tennessee and Missouri, Florida will still come out on top and win the division for the first time since Tebow’s senior year in 2009.
My final SEC East standings are:
- South Carolina
With the competition in the SEC East being a cakewalk compared to the goliaths of the SEC West, Florida has a good chance to still win the division with a few losses on their resume. As positive as I am on the season, I expect bumps in the road.
There will be interceptions, fumbles, blown coverages, missed blocks and many other mistakes that naturally come with the game of football. Gator fans everywhere need to remember that this is a process.
Not every school can be like 2013 Auburn and go 12-2 with a National Championship appearance in the first year under a new head coach.
It is all about patience.
Regardless of how Coach Mac does in his first year, we gotta give him some slack. Keep in mind that he is trying to rebuild a team that plays in the SEC, by far the toughest conference in all of college football.
As cliche as it is, Rome wasn’t built in a day. In my opinion, nothing that could happen in the McElwain era will come even close to the dark times we all experienced under Muschamp.
Whether my prediction for the season holds up or the Gators do better or worse, remember this Gator fans: In all kinds of weather we all stick together.