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Steve’s Summer Size-Up: No. 5, Florida Gators

steve florida gators

Throughout the summer,we will be analyzing each of Ole Miss’ 12 opponents for the 2015 season and sizing up how difficult the game will be in relationship to the strength of schedule.

We will take the teams in order of meeting date in an attempt to better inform our fanbase what to realistically anticipate going into this new season.

Opponent No. 5 : Florida Gators, October 3

  • Southeastern Conference, Eastern Division
  • 2014 record: 7-5; 4-4 in SEC (won Birmingham Bowl)
  • Difficulty Ranking: 3rd
  • Head Coach: Jim McElwain (first season, CO State/AL prior)
  • Colors: orange, blue
  • Ben Hill Griffin Stadium capacity: 88,548
  • Last SEC Game in 2014: L to SC in OT 23-20


Forecast: Make no mistake that this trip to the “Swamp” will not be any freestyle lap around the pool! One thing going for the Rebs is the fact the Gators must face Eastern rival Tennessee Vols the week before. That game will have a great impact on the final standing in the east. New coach Jim McElwain is known for his offense and passing is his preference. The Gators have a dual threat quarterback in Treon Harris and a gifted passer in Will Grier. Both should see action early in the season. The offense, however, is the weakness of the Florida team with only 4 starters returning whereas the defense has 7. The Gators have been among the top ten defenses in the nation the previous four seasons. Their new defensive coordinator, Geoff Collins, has a secondary that rivals Ole Miss. Running the ball against the Gators may be the smarter choice of routes as the defensive line and linebackers have serious holes to fill. The kicking game is only fair.

Conclusion: I predict the outcome of this game will ultimately determine if Ole Miss is invited to a major bowl following the season or one of the others. It’s that important! Florida has only won 11 games the past two seasons, but played very well down the stretch as 2014 ended. The Gators are a top thirty team nationally entering 2015 with much to prove to the new head coach and fans. And we all know how difficult winning on the road in the SEC is. Despite a Homecoming loss many years ago to a Spurrier-led Gator squad ( which I had the misfortune to attend here in Oxford), Ole Miss has had Florida’s number more often than not. Following this one, we should be 5-0 and 3-0 in the SEC with a top 4 ranking all but certain.

Our Score Prediction: Ole Miss 31, Florida 14

Next Week: New Mexico State

Previous Weeks:

Steve Vassallo

Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

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