Florida is a toss up this season, as experts have them all over the place in the SEC East standings. Florida has bounced around looking for a quarterback this offseason with the battle being between Will Grier and Treon Harris.
I am leaning toward Grier becoming the starting quarterback. The running game should not be an issue with Kelvin Taylor in the backfield. Florida did go out and grab a new defensive coordinator in Geoff Collins, and that is the strength of this football team.
Let’s see if Florida has struggles with a head coach being offensive minded compared to a defensive-minded Will Muschamp last season. That is an unknown, and I do not think that Florida will turn out on the side they want to this season.
For the teams playing them, it will be a good year to play the Gators, but give them a year or two and they will be an eight- or nine-win football team. Here’s my prediction:
September 5 vs. New Mexico State, W 41-12: Last season, the Gators season opener was postponed and never finished. This season, Florida will need every win that they can get. They will most likely let both quarterbacks get snaps, but I think Grier will have the start. This is a good opportunity for the guys to get experience, seeing how the Gators start the season.
September 12 vs. East Carolina, W 31-21: These two teams met last season in the Birmingham Bowl with the Gators grabbing the win under an interim coach. It was a close game, and I think it will be no different this year. Grier should have a big game with the Pirates’ defense and expect the Florida secondary to have a big game with the absence of Justin Hardy out wide.
September 19 @ Kentucky, L 30-31: Triple overtime football was the way this game ended last year between these two teams. Florida took the edge winning 36-30, but Wildcat fans have been upset because of a questionable call in that game, which lost it for them. Florida will enter Commonwealth Stadium facing a team looking for revenge.
September 26 vs. Tennessee, L 20-24: Florida is on a 10-season winning streak over the Volunteers.
That will come to a close. Tennessee has already started the journey to become relevant again, and Florida is just now beginning that journey.
October 3 vs. Ole Miss, L 20-28: This is a potential upset in some people’s minds, but I don’t see the Gators getting the win here. The big question is whether or not the Gators’ secondary slows down Laquon Treadwell. I think they will have Vernon Hargreaves and another defender who will double team him and slow him down, but that will open up opportunities for Evan Engram or Damore’ea Stringfellow.
October 10 @ Missouri, W 34-27: After three straight losses for the Gators, I think they they will steal one here and fire on all cylinders for the upset. In the games that Missouri lost last season, teams can ram the football well on them. Florida should respond to this and just hand it to Kelvin Taylor and pull the upset.
October 17 @ LSU, L 19-27: Last season, this ballgame came down to a late field goal in the Swamp that gave the Tigers the win. Florida won’t be helped much as this game switches over to Baton Rouge and will more than likely be an evening game.
October 31 vs. Georgia (Jacksonville), L 28-31: Last season, the Gators got a huge win in Jacksonville against Georgia. This year Georgia will be looking for revenge and a lot more will be at stake for the Bulldogs.
November 7 vs. Vanderbilt, W 34-10: This should be an easy win at home for the Gators as they will use the second half just to rest their players up for the conference finale next week.
November 14 @ South Carolina, L 24-28: This is a debatable football game because of the deficits in South Carolina’s defense last season. Even though I don’t believe the Gamecocks defense will improve significantly, I am giving Florida the loss. It will be tough to contain Pharoh Cooper.
November 21 vs. Florida Atlantic, W 52-6: Just walk through this one and get ready for the big rivalry next week.
November 28 vs. Florida State, L 14-31: There will be a lot riding on this game for the Gators as I have them entering this one at 5-6. With a win they will be bowl eligible, and I just do not think that they are at that stage yet. As much as I want to say they can pull the upset, I just do not see it.
2015 Projection: Florida: 5-7, 2-6 SEC; 6th SEC East
Grant Daniels, a student at Oxford High School, is sports correspondent for HottyToddy.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org