No one said this would be easy. The Gator renovation is still underway. But to say this team belongs to Will Muschamp would be a lie. This team, this offense belongs to Kurt Roper. Can Roper do what he did at Duke – change the offense into a high-powered machine – in Gainesville, where the offense has not been on fire since some guy named Tebow?
The schedule is easy at the beginning, wicked in the middle and daunting at the end. Here is how I predict the season will unravel for the Florida Gators.
Sat, Aug 30 vs. IDAHO
The Vandals come to town to kick off the 2014 season. After being abused last season as one of the worst in the land, can this team recover from traveling across country to beat a hungry Florida team? Not likely. Gators roll, 54-10.
Sat, Sept 6 vs. EASTERN MICHIGAN
Another cream puff on the Gators schedule. The offense and defense dominate and prepare for their SEC schedule. Gators easily, 43-6.
Sat, Sept 13 vs. KENTUCKY
The start of the SEC schedule has the Gators facing Kentucky in a game usually set for the end of the season. Florida has Alabama on the horizon, but remains focused on the game this week and wins, but not as easily as you would think. Florida, 31-20.
Sat, Sept 20 @ ALABAMA
We aren’t even going to sugar coat this one. Alabama is the better team. The Gators must travel and the defense puts up a good fight for one half. In the end, the running game of TJ Yeldon and Derrick Henry proves to be too much. Roll Tide, 28-17.
Sat, Oct 4 @ TENNESSEE
This is one of those games that will either make or break the Gators’ season. Tennessee is considered one of the rising teams in the SEC, so it would not surprise me if they win. It also will not surprise me if they lose. Overall, I think Florida has more talent. Florida, 18-14.
Sat, Oct 11 vs. LSU
The great thing about this game will have played more than half a season and everyone is raving about Leonard Fournette. The Gators passing game torches the Tigers’ defense, but in the end, the running game for the Tigers is better. LSU, 20-17.
Sat, Oct 18 vs. MISSOURI
There is something about this game that leaves me a little on edge. Maty Mauck and the Tigers come to town in a HUGE SEC game. Florida has two losses – both to SEC teams. I give the Gators the edge this time at home in SEC play. Gators, 24-14.
Sat, Nov 1 vs. GEORGIA* (In Jacksonville)
Believe it or not, this is the game that could cost Will Muschamp his job. Nothing is more important to the alumni than beating Georgia and FSU. The Bulldogs are better than last season and will challenge for an SEC title, but I like the upset special. Florida, 31-30.
Sat, Nov 8 @ VANDERBILT
Revenge game! Last year, the Gators lost to Vanderbilt. YES, lost. This season will be different. No James Franklin and a confident Jeff Driskel running on all cylinders. Florida and Muschamp run the score up a bit for good measure. Gators, 45-3.
Sat, Nov 15 vs. SOUTH CAROLINA
No Jadeveon Clowney. No Connor Shaw. But there is Steve Spurrier, Mike Davis and Dylan Thompson. Funny how the fates take a turn. South Carolina is in Gainesville and can spoil the Gators dreams. This time, he comes crashing down on the Florida faithful. Gamecocks, 19-17.
Sat, Nov 22 vs. EASTERN KENTUCKY
Seriously? The Gators will be mad as hell, just losing their third SEC game of the season and looking at the Music City Bowl. Eastern Kentucky is just the right elixir for a loss to a rival like Spurrier. Gators pile it on for three quarters, then let the scout team play. Florida wins, 56-7.
Sat, Nov 29 @ FLORIDA STATE
This is a huge game, but in reality, the Gator Nation knows playing in Tallahassee with the best team in the country is a tough task to handle. Every time these teams get together, it gets ugly. This year, FSU is just a bit prettier, winning at home Florida turns a 4-8 season last year into 8-4 this season. FSU, 34-28.