The overarching question for the Florida Gators over the last few seasons revolves around the quarterback position. Head coach Jim McElwain has had a solid defense during his first two seasons in Gainesville, but the team has been limited because of their struggles on the offensive side of the ball. Ever since Will Grier was suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs midway through the 2015 season, the Gators have been unable to find any consistency from the quarterback position. Finding a signal caller is paramount for the Gators to break through.
2016 Record: 9-4 SU, 5-7-1 ATS, 4-9 O/U
2017 Regular Season Win Total: 8 Over -145
National Championship Odds: +4300
Odds To Win SEC: +1225
Neither Austin Appleby nor Luke Del Rio was able to inspire much confidence last season. Both quarterbacks had struggles in SEC play and the Gators could only muster 216 passing yards per game in 2016. That was the school’s highest total so far this decade though and it highlights how far the school has fallen since the days of Urban Meyer.
The defense was once again fantastic, particularly in the secondary. Florida allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete just 45.1 percent of their passes and gave up 16.8 points per game. Power running teams were able to have success on them though as Tennessee, Arkansas, and Alabama combined to score 123 points on the Gators in three losses.
For the first time in a quarter-century, the Gators will play a regular season non-conference game outside the state of Florida. The opener against Michigan provides the team the opportunity to get an early win against a name opponent that is in rebuilding mode.
The Gators have one of the most favorable schedules in the country with only three true road games as a result of their game against LSU being moved to Baton Rouge because of Hurricane Matthew. They will face all of their toughest opponents either at a neutral site or in The Swamp and that’s huge for a young offense.
Once again, quarterback is the main position holding this team back. Luke Del Rio, Malik Zaire, and Feleipe Franks are all vying for the starting job but Zaire and Franks are seen as the favorites to win the job. Zaire is a stop-gap solution with just one season of eligibility as a graduate transfer from Notre Dame, while Franks is a freshman that needs time to develop.
Florida should again be one of the best on the defensive side of the ball under new defensive coordinator Randy Shannon. The team lost some talented starters, but has recruited very well in recent years. Look for a big year from defensive end Cece Jefferson.
Saturday, September 2: Florida vs. Michigan (in Dallas)
Saturday, September 9: Florida vs. Northern Colorado
Saturday, September 16: Florida vs. Tennessee
Saturday, September 23: Florida at Kentucky
Saturday, September 30: Florida vs. Vanderbilt
Saturday, October 7: Florida vs. LSU
Saturday, October 14: Florida vs. Texas A&M
Saturday, October 28: Florida vs. Georgia (in Jacksonville)
Saturday, November 4: Florida at Missouri
Saturday, November 11: Florida at South Carolina
Saturday, November 18: Florida vs. UAB
Saturday, November 25: Florida vs. Florida State
|SEC Conference||Big 10 Conference|
|ACC Conference||Big 12 Conference|
|Pac 12 Conference||Big East Conference|
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