Coming into the season, most people knew the Florida football schedule would be difficult. The Gators only had two true cupcakes on the schedule, with two of their four non-SEC games being FSU and Utah.
So, while Florida’s strength of schedule to this point of the season wouldn’t be considered murderer’s row, the five games Florida has to close out 2023 are a reminder of why preseason projections said the schedule was difficult.
Florida Football: Iron sharpens iron
Depending on the computer model you want to look at, Florida’s strength of schedule to this point is somewhere around 50th in the country. It’s far more difficult than what Georgia has faced, ranked close to 100th, but it has been manageable enough.
Heading into its bye week, the five games Florida has to close out the season are somehow even more difficult than we thought heading into the season.
- Georgia – The injury to Brock Bowers will slow down the Bulldogs. And yes, Georgia has looked vulnerable at times. But this is kind of what Georgia does every year, and they still have a roster with far greater talent than Florida.
- Arkansas – This is Florida’s most winnable game left, which should say something about the strength of the schedule coming home. The Razorbacks haven’t taken the leap this season many hoped they would, but they have played the 10th hardest schedule in the country and will be coming off their bye week when they play the Gators.
- LSU – Playing in Baton Rouge is brutal, and while the defense for the Tigers is vulnerable, the defense for the Gators just got torn up by Spencer Rattler. Jaydon Daniels has to like his matchup.
- Missouri – Coming into the season, Missouri was one of the four must-win games for the Gators to achieve a seven-win season. The Tigers have been much better than expected, and at best, this will be a coin-flip game.
- FSU – Despite being 6-0, computer models do not love the Seminoles as an elite team. And while Seminole fans are wizards at mind games for saying Gator fans shouldn’t be excited about beating South Carolina while simultaneously acting like their two-point win over Boston College was great, FSU is still a solid squad that will be favored over Florida.
The pathway to seven wins is beating Arkansas at home and pulling off an “upset” over one of the other four teams, with Missouri being the most vulnerable.
Florida can finish 7-5 or even 8-4, but it will need to be at the top of its game and avoid the collapse it had to close out 2022.