NFL schedules were released this past Wednesday and with it came all of the experts and fans predicting where their favorite team will finish. Seeing all these predictions and win-loss projections got me itching for the Florida football season. Even though we know each NCAA teams’ schedule years in advance, it gave me the urge to dissect the 2021 Florida Gators schedule.
Unlike last year, Florida will have four non-conference games on the schedule. Florida opens up against two in-state, out-of-conference opponents. They will open their season in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium against the Florida Atlantic Owls before going on the road to take on South Florida University. I see Florida having no trouble winning both games as both teams were a combined 6-12 last year.
The first big advantage I see in Florida’s schedule is getting Alabama at home after playing two teams that shouldn’t be on the same field as Florida. Granted, Alabama plays Mercer University the game before, but being at home in The Swamp with an inexperienced Alabama offense in their first big game of the season is better than playing them later in the season.
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If the Gators can beat Alabama, they can go on a run as they play Tennessee at home, Vanderbilt on the road, and Kentucky on the road. I see the Gator’s chances of being, at worst, 5-1 to be excellent.
The 2nd half of Florida’s schedule will come down to October 30th against Georgia, as it usually does. Florida travel’s to LSU the week before, which I expect is a game the Gators will win as LSU had a down year last year. Florida will be looking for revenge after the classic game the previous year, which was Marco Wilson’s cleat toss.
Both Georgia and Florida will have two weeks to prepare for their matchup together in Jacksonville. Again, if the Gators can avoid looking ahead to Georgia against LSU and then take care of business again against the Bulldogs, Florida’s schedule gets very light after that. They finish with South Carolina, Samford, Missouri, and end the year with another in-state rival, Florida St.
Realistically, with Emory Jones at quarterback and Florida’s stout defense, I can see a scenario where the Gators go into their final game at home against Florida St. at 10-1 and having College Football Playoff implications.
Florida’s schedule obviously has two games circled, the Alabama and Georgia games. If Florida can win even just one of those games, look for them to be in Atlanta in December with a trip to the CFP on the line.