SEC Football: Toledo Rockets vs. Florida Gators Preview and Predictions

Dr. SECAnalyst IIAugust 30, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 02:  Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators yells to a referee during the Allstate Sugar Bowl against the Louisville Cardinals at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 2, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Will Muschamp and the Florida Gators are looking to build off their 2012 success as they finished the season with an 11-2 record and a birth to the Sugar Bowl.

After two years of frustration, the Florida Gator football team made significant strides in 2012. In the two season prior to 2012, the Gators had an unimpressive overall record of 15-11. However, Will Muschamp led Florida to an 11-2 record and Sugar Bowl invite.

The Gator nation is hopeful that Florida will be able to win their first SEC championship since 2008, but their first order of business will be trying to win their 24 straight season opener.

Are the Gators primed for a return back to the top of the eastern division or will they return back to mediocrity in 2013?


Why the Toledo Rockets Could Win 

The Rockets are coming off a 9-4 season and trip to the Idaho Potato Bowl. Moreover, they will return nine starters to their explosive offense. Toledo has a very balanced offense that have seen them throw for over 3,200 yards and also rush the ball for more than 2,500 yards last season.

Florida was one of the top defenses in college football last season, but it's important to note that the Gators defense will only return with four starters in 2013. Moreover, two projected defensive starters have been suspended for the Toledo game.

As a result, Florida will be very talented but also very inexperienced. If the Rockets can move the ball with any consistency, they will have a shot to win this game.

The Gators struggled for offensive consistency last season and that included against smaller schools like Bowling Green, Louisiana-Lafyette and Jacksonville State. In those three games the Gators only averaged 25.7 points per game.

That is even more troubling for Gator fans because the offense will take another step backwards this season.


Why the Gators Could Win 

Two words could decide this game: Talent and depth. The Gators are replacing a great deal of talent, but Muschamp has recruited in such a way that the Gators can reload, though, the depth will not be as strong as once thought because of injuries and suspensions. However, many of their third stringers would be starters at Toledo.

The Gators should be able to lineup and run the ball down the Rockets' throat with their massive offensive line. The Rockets' defensive line is made up of all first year starters. That combination will lead to an offense that does not put up huge passing numbers but should be effective.


Final Prediction:

The Gators will control the clock through the ground game. As a result, they will wear down the Toledo defense and keep the Rockets' dangerous offense on the sidelines.

This game will not have the viewer appeal that other games will have, but the Florida Gators should beat Toledo into submission.

Score prediction: Florida 30, Toledo 17

Stat line prediction: Florida 250 yards rushing