Florida Football: 5 Pivotal games for Gators in 2017

Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images
Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images /
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Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images /

The Florida football season schedule is loaded with tough teams, but here are five games which could have a huge impact during the season.

Florida football head coach Jim McElwain enters his third season in Gainesville with high expectations after winning the SEC East division in his first two years.

The Gators have a unique schedule set up this football season, and a favorable one at that. With only 3 true road games this year, the Gators could potentially find themselves back in Atlanta and in the midst the College Football Playoff conversation.

But as with any football schedule, there are some games which will mean just a little bit more, and could be pivotal depending on what has transpired beforehand.

Here are the Gators five most important games this season.

Florida vs Tennessee – September 19, 2017

Some could argue Tennessee deserves to be higher on this list. Especially, after Tennessee resurrected from a 21-point first half deficit and defeated the Gators 38-28 a season ago, ending their 11 game win streak over the Vols.

However, the Volunteers are replacing 3 of their top weapons from a year ago on offense in Alvin Kamara, Jalen Hurd, and signal caller Josh Dobbs. The three combined for 92% of Tennessee’s total offense last year, and facing a potential top-ten defense in Florida, it will be tough to escape Gainesville with a win.

The Gators had success on the offensive side of the ball in the first half of the 2016 matchup, scoring three first half offensive touchdowns, something they only did twice last year (Week 3 vs Kentucky). With a majority of their offensive contributors returning and a new face at quarterback, the Gators aren’t looking for the same drop off this year in Gainesville.

DB Marcell Harris got to talk about the collapse in Knoxville at SEC Media Day’s, “Honestly, It is just another aspect for us in our head that we have to finish the game. We can’t start out strong and not finish the game against SEC caliber teams, or any team that we play. Just for us, it’s always about finishing.”

This is still a significant game between the two teams and fan bases, but this is each school’s first conference game of the season, and as we saw a year ago, this game doesn’t entirely decide the SEC East race.