One of the things that prevented Florida football from making a bowl game in 2023 was its schedule. Not knowing how to put 11 players on the field contributed too, but if the Gators had one extra cupcake on their schedule like everyone else in America, it would have finished 6-6 and would be going to a bowl game.
But alas the Gators were 5-7 and if fans were hoping to tone down the difficulty in 2024, well...
Florida Football: Playing On Expert Mode
The full schedule for everyone in the SEC was released yesterday. The opponents themselves were known and fans knew that Florida football was going to have another difficult campaign in 2024. What wasn't known was the order of the games and much like 2023, November is going to be a doozy in 2024.
The opening four games against Miami, Samford, Texas A&M, and Mississippi State all feel winnable if things go correct, but outside of Samford are all far from locks.
The Gators then get a bye week before a three-game slate that might determine Billy Napier's fate. Florida will host UCF, travel to Tennessee, then host Kentucky. Again, all of these have pathways to victory, but we know UCF will make it a statement game for their program, Tennessee can't be counted as a gimmie, and Kentucky is Florida's kryptonite.
At worst, if Florida isn't at least 5-2 heading into their second bye week it might be curtains for Napier, because coming out of the second bye week might be the most insane slate of games a team has ever had to stare down.
Florida will play Georgia in Jacksonville, travel to Texas, host LSU and Ole Miss, and close the regular season at FSU.
You know how FSU fans held onto LSU as their golden goose win that should have vaulted them into playoffs this season? Based on current rankings, LSU is the easiest opponent the Gators will face in November.
Is now a great time to point out that Napier is 2-6 in November during his two seasons in Gainesville?
Yes, there are reasons to believe that LSU and FSU will take steps backwards given they will be with new QBs next season, Ole Miss feel like the gatekeeps of the SEC, and Texas has to prove it isn't just a one year wonder under Steve Sarkisian. Georgia is Georgia.
But the challenge for Napier is that no matter how much improvement the Gators show, the November 2024 slate of games would be taxing for even the best team in the country, let alone whatever Florida football will look like in one year.