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Bold Predictions: Florida? I Don't Know


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I mean, I don't know. Florida's season could be not terrible; it could be terrible. The East as a whole isn't the worst assemblage of teams, but there's still nary a squad in the division that qualifies as scary, or even complete — as has been the case for some time now. Here's the thing about UF: it has just enough talent on defense, and the division it plays in is weak enough, where the Gators could conceivably go to Atlanta. But, this has also been the case for a few years now; and the Gators still haven't been to the conference ‘ship since '09, so a season when it's breaking in a new coaching staff doesn't seem like the best time to predict that UF will finally get over the hump. But because I'm running out of bold things to say, we're going to predict here that the Gators will finish third in the East; a minor miracle considering UF's lack of proven talent on both lines, and at quarterback.

If we're insistent on continuity within this series — so far I've boldly predicted UF to fall to Kentucky, Carolina and LSU — then predicting the above theoretically means wins over Ole Miss, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri and Vanderbilt. LOL, wow — not the Vandy part, but all the others. Absolutely no one, not even the most die-hard of Gators fans thinks Jim McElwain's team can emerge through that stretch unscathed. (It won't.) But a bronze finish could mean five conference wins at worst this year for whoever winds up in that spot; and those wins now have to come from somewhere, and those are the only SEC games left to choose from for UF, so yeah. (Unless we're agreeing that I can make these picks outside of this series' vacuum, which would change some things here and elsewhere.)

Anyways, let's talk personnel. Florida had zero offensive players selected to the Pre-Season All-SEC Team, and rightfully so. However, that won't be the case come season's end; and if being bold is the objective, then let's say Florida will have as many players on offense selected to the postseason team as the defense. And if the defense will see 2015 Thorpe Award Winner, Vernon Hargreaves; linemen Jonathan Bullard and Alex McCalister; and linebacker Antonio Morrison and defensive back Jalen Tabor on the postseason All-SEC team, that means the offense will have to match the output with five players of its own: we'll go with breakout-receiver to-be C.J. Worton, fellow wide outs Demarcus Robinson and Brandon Powell, tight end Jake McGee, and the team's breakout freshman, Jordan Cronkrite, littered across the All-SEC team's several tiers.

Assuming Florida loses to Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl, the Gators will finish at 8-5, which is hardly anything to celebrate; but for a program as down on its luck as Florida lately, some may view such a finish as respectable.