Everyone knows that the SEC is the best conference for college football and has been for the better part of 20 years.
Everyone also knows that the Florida Gators were once proud rulers of the SEC East Division, but now that has changed over the course of the last few seasons.
And now, with first-year Coach Dan Mullen, who was previously part of to Gator National Championships under Urban Meyer in 2006 and 08, ready to guide them through this 2018 season, there’s plenty of optimism in Gainesville.
Well, there’s optimism, and then there’s what SEC on CBS football analyst Brian Jones put out there on CBS Sports Network on Wednesday night.
.@JonesN4mo's College Football Playoff predictions:
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) August 16, 2018
Yes, you saw that correctly, Jones not only has the Gators winning the East, but obviously winning the SEC Championship Game, and being part of the College Football Playoff come January.
First, a little background on Jones: he’s a former all Southwest Conference linebacker at Texas in the early 1990s and has been with CBS since 2005. And, he replaced Spencer Tillman as the longtime Studio analyst on CBS’ SEC coverage three seasons ago.
So there’s no doubt, he’s qualified to have opinions about SEC football. However, there’s going out on a limb, and then there’s walking out on a tightrope in between skyscrapers like one of the “Flying Wallendas.”
In the brief clip from the “Inside College Football” show on Wednesday night, Jones says of the Gators making the CFP,
“Florida has everyone coming back and now they have the “Quarterback Whisperer” in Dan Mullen.
The Gators do return 19 starters and that includes welcoming back running back Jordan Scarlett, who was suspended last year during the credit card fraud investigation.
Yes they have options at quarterback including last year’s most of the time starter Feleipe Franks and that is Mullen specialty.
Earlier in the episode, Jones had elaborated on Mullen and the impact he would have on Franks’ development in particular:
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) August 15, 2018
The Gators do you have a favorable schedule in conference play as they only travel to Tennessee, Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt.
This is because of the scheduling quirk from 2016 with the postponement of the LSU game due to Hurricane Matthew. LSU got to play Florida at home for a second consecutive year that season, and so now, Florida is getting to play LSU at home for a second straight year this year.
Still the neutral-site game with the Georgia Bulldogs and returning All SEC QB Jake Fromm will be a tall task. And add in that Missouri and South Carolina are both improved, even if they are playing in Gainesville, and it will be tough for the Gators to win the East.
Again, Jones has his reasons for his August outlandish prediction, but it’s much more likely that Florida has some growing pains in 2018. And, is a bigger national contender next year,
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