LSU vs. Florida: Why Jeff Driskel Will Lead Gators to Upset

Ryan DavenportContributor IOctober 6, 2012

COLLEGE STATION, TX - SEPTEMBER 08:  Jeff Driskel #6 of the Florida Gators at Kyle Field on September 8, 2012 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Florida Gators have come a long way in five weeks, and they're on the verge of doing the unthinkable.

Heading into the season, few thought that the Gators, ranked No. 23 in the preseason AP poll, had the talent to be a top-10 team.

However, entering Saturday's marquee game pitting the No. 10 Gators against No. 4 LSU, Florida is in a position to potentially move into the top five with a win over the Tigers.

A year ago, the Gators were in a similar position, as they entered their fifth game of the season 4-0 up against a higher-ranked opponent.

The result wasn't what Florida had hoped for, as the Gators got trounced by Alabama. However, this year could be different.

If Jeff Driskel plays the way he can, the Gators will do what they couldn't do a year ago.

That's because, as the Sporting News' Matt Hayes put it, "Driskel has become what Florida lacked the last two years at the most important position on the field: a strong, talented player thriving in an offense he trusts."

In his first season as a starter, Driskel has taken the college football world by surprise. Given his emergence as a dual-threat from behind center, the Gators have to feel good about their chances on Saturday.

Driskel has led them to victories in pressure-packed situations, such as the come-from-behind win against Texas A&M on September 8.

He's also put on inspiring performances in close games against quality opponents, as evidenced by his two-touchdown outing against No. 23 Tennessee, in which the Gators and Vols were tied at halftime.

With 698 passing yards and another 148 on the ground, Driskel has the Gators primed for an unexpected run towards a BCS Bowl appearance, but getting past the Tigers won't be easy.

LSU boasts the No. 9-ranked defense in the nation and has an impressive collection of threats in its running game, but the Gators' defense, just behind the Tigers at No. 10, are athletic enough to keep things close.

In a close game, Driskel has the potential to outplay LSU's Zach Mettenberger, which could be the difference on Saturday.

As CBS lead college football analyst Gary Danielson sees it, "Florida is getting better quarterback play than LSU entering their Saturday showdown."

On Saturday, with two elite teams lining up against one another, Driskel will lead the Gators to victory and continue his coming-out party of a season.