Five Florida Gators Football Games To Watch in '09
The Florida Gators are the defending national champions.
They return the entire two-deep defense from last season's squad, including Brandon Spikes, Joe Haden, Ahmad Black, Carlos Dunlap, Jermaine Cunningham, and Major Wright.
The Gators also return phenom Tim Tebow . The only major loss for Florida is WR Percy Harvin.
With the incredible team that the Gators have coming back, going undefeated should be no problem, right? Well, maybe not.
Despite the great team and the soft schedule, there are 5 games that could potentially give the Gators trouble in 2009. Of course, they could beat each of these teams by 30+ points. But still, these are five games that you should definitely tune in to.
So here you go: 5 Florida Football Games to Watch in '09.
Sep. 19 - Tennessee
The Gators should be heavy favorites in this one. But the reason you should watch this edition of the Third Saturday in September should be obvious.
Will Lane Kiffin get his words shoved down his throat, or will his words from last December turn out to be prophetic?
Plus, it is Kiffin's first SEC game, as well as his first road game as coach of the Vols. Also, how will new Tennessee defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin respond to the Gators' high-powered offense?
On the Florida side of things, Tennessee shouldn't be surprised if Urban Meyer elects to run up the score late in the 4th quarter to rub it in Kiffin's face. Meyer holds grudges. Just ask Georgia.
While we can't know exactly what to expect come September 19, one thing is for sure: Lane Kiffin and Tennessee certainly won't get a warm welcome.
Oct. 10 - @ LSU
Last year, the Gators demolished the Tigers in the Swamp, 51-21.
But again, that was last year.
This year will be a different story. The game will be in Baton Rouge, where Florida hasn't won since 2003.
And don't think that LSU won't want revenge after last season's embarrassment.
LSU will be improved from 2008, but the question is, will they be improved enough to beat the Gators?
The game is currently scheduled by CBS in a prime time slot, which gives the Tigers an advantage. LSU is widely known as having the best night-game home field advantage in the country.
Oct. 24 - @ Mississippi State
Don't laugh. I'm being serious.
Near the end of last season, the Mississippi State Bulldogs had a vacant head coaching position. The man who accepted that position was none other than then-Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen.
Now I know some of my fellow Gator fans will say, "Mississippi State? They won't give us any trouble!" You may be right. Then again, maybe you won't.
Think about this, guys: Dan Mullen knows every player on Florida's team. He also likely knows how to stop them.
The Gators should win this one, but don't sleep on the Bulldogs. With Mullen at the helm, State is more than capable of pulling an upset. If Florida pulls their annual upset loss, then I would expect MSU to be the team to do so.
Oct. 31 - Georgia
Ah yes, the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. One of the best rivalries in college sports.
While it hasn't really been much of a rivalry from a competitive standpoint the last 20 years (Georgia has only won four times since 1989), the Dawgs pumped a little life into the series in 2007 when they upset the Gators 42-30 in the infamous "Celebration" game.
However, whatever new life that had been added to the series in '07 was crushed in '08, when the Gators blew out the Dawgs 49-10.
And now, without their two biggest offensive players (Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno), it will be a little tougher for Georgia to win this time. Senior Georgia QB Joe Cox will make his first and only start in this rivalry against Florida 2009.
Will the Bulldogs get revenge, or will the Gators continue their dominance in Jacksonville?
November 28 - Florida State
The Florida-Florida State rivalry was once the best rivalry in college football.
While it has died down a little in the last 5 years, FSU seems to believe that its program is on the way back. If that turns out to be true, then we shall see a re-emergence of this once-great rivalry.
It will start this November in the Swamp. The Gators have outscored the Noles 79-19 in the last two meetings in Gainesville. If FSU can manage to stay close, then they could have a chance to win.
However, Urban Meyer is a combined 11-1 against Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida State, as well as 4-0 against the Noles. Those odds may be too much to overcome.
This game will show one of two things: Either FSU will show that they're ready to be competitive in this rivalry again, or Florida will show that they're still dominant the series.