Throughout the season, we have expressed our confidence that Florida football can knock off South Carolina. Patrick Toney couldn’t solve anyone last season, and even he solved Spencer Rattler inside The Swamp last season.
We noted all offseason that the hype surrounding South Carolina never felt legit, considering it is the same squad that got smacked by Florida the week before, and Desmond Watson did his best Heisman pose.
But here we are the week of the game, and Vegas doesn’t seem to feel Florida’s chances. ESPN’s FPI is in South Carolina’s corner. Advanced metrics favor Florida, but not by much.
Either way, even if this is a coin-flip game, it is a coin-flip Florida has to win to keep the 2023 season afloat.
Florida Football: Don’t look ahead
Win or lose, Florida goes on its bye week after this game.
Coming out of the bye week is the part of the schedule everyone referenced when it was noted coming into the season that Florida football had one of the hardest schedules in the country:
- Arkansas (coming off their bye week)
- @ LSU
- @ Missouri
Of those five games, ESPN only has Florida favored against Arkansas. Even Missouri, which we thought was one of the must-win games coming into the season, is starting to look like a tough task for Florida.
Currently at four wins on the season, Florida needs two more to beat Vegas preseason projections, three more to feel like the season was acceptable, and four more to begin to feel like this season was a success.
This Saturday is massive because if Florida can’t knock off 2-3 South Carolina, where can one confidently find two more wins on the remaining slate of games?
The Gators showcased against Tennessee that they can play high-level football. The same Tennessee squad that smacked South Carolina by 21 points. But as the Gators showcased against Kentucky, maintaining that level of consistency has been an issue under Billy Napier.
Beating South Carolina won’t make the season, and the Gamecocks are not the bar that Florida strives to clear. But losing and failing to clear this height puts the Gators in a place they don’t want to be heading into the bye week.