The Game: Florida vs. Mississippi State
Date: October 16
The Setup: Florida at Alabama, October 2; Florida vs. LSU, October 9
Thanks to the rotation of the SEC West schedule, Florida has a very tough back-to-back to start October. First comes the Armageddon game at Alabama (where Urban Meyer somehow got waxed 31-3 by Mike Shula in '05), followed by LSU's biannual trip to the Swamp. Both games will be about as intense as they come. I don't need to tell you why the Bama game is big, and Florida's coaches always make a big deal of LSU.
Standing in between those games and the Gators' bye week is Mississippi State. Normally the Bulldogs play their tough games against Florida in Starkville, not Gainesville. They've had a lot less luck on the road. Even so, UF will be pretty beat up after the two previous weeks, a time period in which MSU takes on Alcorn State and Houston. The Cougars will be tough to defeat, but they don't exactly play a punishing style.
Despite the fact that Florida's offense will have changed a bit under the guidance of Steve Addazio and Scot Loeffler, it will still be very much an Urban Meyer offense that the Gators run this fall. If anyone outside of Gainesville knows that kind of offense well, it's State head coach Dan Mullen. His defense gave Florida some fits in last year's contest, even if it didn't have the personnel to shut it down entirely. That defense should be a bit stronger this year.
The game will probably be a noon hour contest on the SEC Network, and we all know what happened the last time a team from Mississippi played under such circumstances. If the Gators are looking to get an early start on their bye week and overlook the visitors on this day, they'll greatly regret it.