Year two for Dan Mullen and the Florida Gators will get underway at later this fall, and there’s obviously anticipation that they can build on a 10-win season that included a Peach Bowl victory over Michigan a year ago.
And of course this time of year, opinions are flying everywhere about what teams will or won’t do before the season begins. To that end, CBSSports.com had a discussion on Thursday night about whether the Gators will be a 10-win team again?
Appearing on the “Sportsline” show, college football insiders Barton Simmons and Barrett Sallee both made arguments against the Gators being able to take those next steps:
— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) June 28, 2019
Simmons went with the “under 10 wins” for the Gators season, sighting in particular the inexperienced Florida offensive line and the tough out of conference games with Miami and Florida State book-ending the schedule. Florida must also play against Auburn and at LSU in back to back weeks in the SEC West rotation this season.
Sallee then agreed with Simmons that he believes it will be 9 or less wins in the regular season in Gainesville. He pointed directly to the Auburn and LSU strength on defense in general, but specifically with their defensive line, that will be problems for the Orange and Blue O-Line.
Obviously, Florida does return starting quarterback Feleipe Franks and despite having players like Jachai Polite and Vosean Joseph head to the NFL, they still boast defensive end Jabari Zuniga, linebacker David Reese and safety Jeawan Taylor who are all senior leaders.
And, the good news on the Gators schedule is they will get a bit of a breather after the Miami game 8/24 by playing Tennessee-Martin before their revenge game at Kentucky on September 14th. Florida also has a game with Towson at home on September 28th before the tough stretch of playing Auburn, at LSU, at South Carolina and Georgia in four games.
If the Gators get through that stretch unscathed, they are likely going to be in Atlanta as the SEC East representative in the championship game. However, there are obviously detractors, like the CBS analysts, that don’t believe they will end up unscathed and may take two or three SEC losses this year.
The one thing we know is: Florida overachieved a year ago and got better as the season went on. And Mullen’s hope is they can build on that right out of the gate this season.
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