Florida Gators Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2012
Last year was a chance for a new head coach in Gainesville to shake the rust off the Florida football program and try to build a solid foundation moving forward.
Will Muschamp was able to get to a bowl by breaking even, then took out the Buckeyes in Jacksonville to finish his first campaign as a head coach with a winning record of 7-6.
2012 will be no cake walk, and with a ton of questions on the offensive side of the ball, it could be similar type of season at the Swamp.
Bowling Green (Sept. 1)
2011 Record: 5-7
In 2011 the Falcons only played one BCS opponent. That game ended in a 55-10 loss at the hands of West Virginia.
Bowling Green is a competent MAC opponent and is more capable of beating the Gators than an FCS team, but there's no reason Florida should lose this one.
Unless the Gators just completely implode, this should be a nice warm up for SEC play, which starts the very next week.
Prediction: Win (1-0)
At Texas A&M (Sept. 8)
2011 Record: 7-6
The Texas A&M Aggies will begin a new SEC era by taking on the University of Florida at home in College Station, and Kyle Field is sure to be a complete madhouse.
If the Gators are able to find their rhythm in the Bowling Green game a week before, and play SEC defense, then they could and should win this game, but the rowdy environment and an enthusiastic and anxious fanbase, make this a tough early road game.
Gators drop an early one away from home and give the Aggies their first SEC welcoming gift.
Prediction: Loss (1-1)
At Tennessee (Sept. 15)
2011 Record: 5-7
Last season Derek Dooley's Vols fell on their heads, and he found the hot seat.
Tennessee didn't manage to make a bowl, and the team's only SEC win came in overtime against in-state rival Vanderbilt, who did play in the post season.
There's not a whole lot of reason to believe that this year's game won't turn out a whole lot like the 2011 edition when the Gators won by 10.
Prediction: Win (2-1)
Kentucky (Sept. 22)
2011 Record: 5-7
In 2011 Florida went up to Lexington and beat Kentucky by almost 40 points on the road, and did in a season that was considered a struggle for the Gators and quite normal for the Wildcats.
Kentucky is an SEC opponent and "any given Saturday" any team can go down, but in 2012, as usual, it will be the Wildcats at the losing end in Gainesville.
Prediction: Win (3-1)
LSU (Oct. 6)
2011 Record: 13-1
Last year the Tigers of LSU ran through a tough slate of opponents and lost the only game that ended up mattering in a BCS rematch with Alabama.
Florida came out on the losing end of this matchup a year ago, losing by 30 on the road, and the Tigers are still an excellent football team.
This will be a tough one, and without a complete implosion by LSU mixed with a near perfect performance by the Gators, the results should be similar to last season.
Prediction: Loss (3-2)
At Vanderbilt (Oct. 13)
2011 Record: 6-7
Vanderbilt made it to a bowl in 2011. The Commodores lost four conference games by six points or less and became the surprise team of the SEC East.
This is not your mama's Dores, and is a bit of a toss-up to predict, at least until the we know more about the Gator offense, but at this point Florida has the benefit of the doubt.
Prediction: Win (4-2)
South Carolina (Oct. 20)
2011 Record: 11-2
The Gamecocks won the most games in program history last season, and seemed to find their man at quarterback in Connor Shaw.
South Carolina struggled against the Gators last year in a 17-12 victory that, on paper, looked like a good old fashioned SEC defensive struggle.
USC will be better, if healthy this season, and has everything it takes to beat Florida on both sides of the ball to this point.
Prediction: Loss (4-3)
Georgia (Oct. 27)
2011 Record: 10-4
In 2011, the Bulldogs went on a 10 game run after a slow start and the Gators got caught in the middle of the hot streak.
With quarterback Aaron Murray entering his Junior season, Georgia should be a force on the offensive side of the ball, and though the game was extremely close last season, it's still a wait-and-see situation with this matchup.
In a heated rivalry anything can happen, but the Gators will need a solid, all-around game to stop the deep ball.
Prediction: Loss (4-4)
Missouri (Nov. 3)
2011 Record: 8-5
Missouri was pretty good in 2011, but with quarterback James Franklin recovering from shoulder surgery, and missing the entire spring practice, the Tigers have some questions on offense.
By the time Mizzou faces the Gators late in the season, there will be no more questions for either team, and the true identities of both squads will be apparent, but at this point it's a tough call.
With Franklin healthy and the Tigers' offense in stride, this one goes to Missouri, but it's still a toss-up.
Prediction: Loss (4-5)
Louisiana–Lafayette (Nov. 10)
2011 Record: 9-4
Nine wins and a bowl victory was certainly a welcomed surprise to Ragin' Cajun football fans.
LA-Lafayette will continue to be among the top teams in the Sun Belt this next season along with Arkansas State, but the talent level between this league and the SEC is a world apart.
Prediction: Win (5-5)
Jacksonville State (Nov. 17)
2011 Record: 7-4
The Gamecocks of JSU are certainly a formidable FCS opponent, but this matchup doesn't deserve much chatter.
Gators get a chance to brush up their game plan before going on the road to Tallahassee.
Prediction: Win (6-5)
At Florida State (Nov. 24)
2011 Record: 9-4
When the Gators and the Noles play in late November, it's a national event.
As one of the great rivalries in the southeast, and the nation in general, this game always has so much passion.
The problem for the Gators is that the Seminoles are a few years ahead in the rebuilding process and Florida has some catching up to do.
There's no doubt that both programs will be back near the top in the years to come, but this season the edge goes to Florida State.
Prediction: Loss (6-6)