Florida Gators Football: Early Game-by-Game Prediction for the 2014 Season
With the month of June right around the corner, we’re quickly approaching the college football season. Don’t worry, you only have to experience a few more weekends without football. Take advantage of them while you still can.
Spring football is in the books, and fall camp will be here before you know it, so it’s time to throw out some game predictions for the Florida Gators. It’s still early, but we have a good idea of how things are shaping up and what to expect when Florida puts the pads on for real this season.
The schedule isn’t easy, and the Gators offense has to make drastic improvements if this season is going to be remotely successful. However, after breaking the games down, you’ll notice the Gators do get some breaks here and there.
Here are the early game predictions for the Florida Gators.
vs. Idaho (Aug. 30)
The only way the Florida Gators lose to the Idaho Vandals is if Ben Hill Griffin Stadium blows up like a scene from The Dark Knight Rises.
Idaho finished last season with a 1-11 record and had a defense that allowed 46.8 points per game. Florida State beat the Vandals, 80-14, and Old Dominion managed to score 59 points in its lopsided victory.
We’ve seen crazy things before, such as Florida losing to Georgia Southern just last season. But the saying is that lightening never strikes in the same spot twice.
The Gators will win this game with ease.
Gators win 48-6 (1-0)
vs. Eastern Michigan (Sept. 6)
In the last two seasons, Eastern Michigan is a combined 4-20 and has gone four of its last five seasons with two or fewer victories. The only two wins for the Eagles last season came against Howard and Western Michigan.
Eastern Michigan does have a new head coach in Chris Creighton, who has been very successful with smaller programs and led Drake to a 42-22 record in six seasons. He should bring more success than Ron English ever did. But that will certainly take a while, and it won’t start by shocking the college football world with a win in The Swamp.
Unlike last season, the Gators get off to a fast 2-0 start.
Gators win 50-10 (2-0)
vs. Kentucky (Sept. 13)
Any true Florida fan should know the streak by now. The Gators have beaten Kentucky 27 straight times. Unless you were born before 1986, there’s a good chance you have never seen Florida lose to the Wildcats on the football field.
That streak isn’t ending this season.
While Mark Stoops is building the program and the team showed promise here and there, Kentucky is still, well, Kentucky. A program that was winless in the SEC last season and scored more than three touchdowns just five times.
The Wildcats have a long way to go before they can seriously compete with the big boys in the SEC. Six straight meetings have been decided by double digits, and there’s no indication of this year’s meeting being any different.
Gators win 35-7 (3-0)
at Alabama (Sept. 20)
It’s a shame that this game wasn’t saved for next season, as the Gators are probably a year away from being able to reenter the national championship spotlight. Despite Alabama losing AJ McCarron and a few other key guys, the Crimson Tide aren’t going anywhere.
Alabama still has an elite defense with most of its starters returning. The offense also remains loaded with T.J. Yeldon, Derrick Henry and Amari Cooper. Alabama is a well-built machine that has more than enough pieces in place to make another strong run at a crystal football.
While the Gators defense will do enough to make things interesting, I’m not sure the offense will be clicking the way it needs to in order to pull this out in Tuscaloosa.
Florida will lose its fourth straight meeting against the Crimson Tide.
Gators lose 28-17 (3-1)
at Tennessee (Oct. 4)
Butch Jones showed potential in his first season, as Tennessee won five games, beating South Carolina and taking Georgia to overtime. The Volunteers still lost to Florida, which extended their losing streak to nine straight seasons.
You can expect this streak to extend to double digits.
Winning in Neyland Stadium is never an easy task, and the crowd is certainly going to be jacked up. However, the Volunteers return the fewest starters of any team in the SEC (10), which includes losing most of their starting offensive line. With the talent on Florida’s defensive front, this game will get ugly for whoever is starting under center for Tennessee.
Tennessee’s offensive line was its strong point last season, allowing just 15 sacks all year. It won’t be a quick fix in replacing four starters.
Gators win 35-14 (4-1)
vs. LSU (Oct. 11)
LSU will enter the season as a little bit of a mystery, as replacing Zach Mettenberger, Odell Beckham, Jeremy Hill, Alfred Blue and Jarvis Landry isn’t going to be easy. We do know the Tigers return seven defensive starters, which will keep the identity of the team until the offense figures things out.
But, regardless, Florida lost last year’s meeting, 17-6, and that game was played in Baton Rouge. LSU was held to just one field goal in the second half, and Mettenberger completed only nine passes. If Florida’s offense could muster anything…wait, it seems like that was the story of last season.
Anyway, assuming the offense has improved and the defense is going to remain elite, there’s no reason the Gators shouldn’t be able to squeeze out a win with the help of the Florida crowd. After all, Florida has won three of the last four meetings against LSU in Gainesville.
Gators win 21-17 (5-1)
vs. Missouri (Oct. 18)
Florida was embarrassed in last year’s meeting against Missouri. The Tigers scored at least 10 points in three of the four quarters and racked up 500 total yards.
It’s tough imagining that happening again. Not only is Florida’s defense better than that and will be out for revenge, but the Tigers are also without James Franklin, Henry Josey, L’Damian Washington and Dorial Green-Beckham. The Gators also won’t have to deal with SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, Michael Sam, who had three sacks in Missouri’s upset win.
The Tigers proved last season that they have the athletes to compete with some of the better teams in this conference, but a lot of those players are gone. It will be tough for Missouri to repeat last year’s success, and with this game being played in Florida, the Gators should get their payback.
Gators win 38-21 (6-1)
vs. Georgia (in Jacksonville, Nov. 1)
Some of the most frustrating games for Florida fans have come against Georgia, as the Gators have suddenly lost three straight against their conference rival.
As usual, this year’s matchup is as close to a coin flip as you can get. But right this minute, I have no choice but to lean with the Bulldogs.
Georgia is a lot more balanced offensively with a two-headed monster at running back with Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. Defensively, Georgia returns 10 starters from a unit that finished second in the SEC with 33 sacks. This is a balanced football team that has somehow gotten all of the breaks in the last few meetings against Florida.
My thoughts on this game will probably change a million times leading up to kickoff. But if the game was being played tomorrow, Georgia would have the advantage.
Gators lose 24-21 (6-2)
at Vanderbilt (Nov. 8)
The Gators watched their 22-game winning streak against Vanderbilt come to an end, which was just one of many cringe-worthy moments last season. Vanderbilt hasn’t beaten Florida in back-to-back meetings since 1952 and 1955, and it’s going to remain that way.
Not only does Vandy lose eight starters on defense, the Commodores also lose their starting quarterback and best wide receiver in program history.
But the program also lost head coach James Franklin, the same guy who reminded you that Vanderbilt even had a football team. Coach Derek Mason will do a fine job as his replacement, but it’ll take time considering he’s not dealing with the same type of athletes that he had at Stanford.
This is just one of those games where the opponent is outmatched at nearly every position. The Gators aren’t going to get embarrassed for the second year in a row.
Gators win 42-14 (7-2)
vs. South Carolina (Nov. 15)
It’s always fun when Steve Spurrier returns to Florida as the opposing head coach. The fans always make sure to have the vocal cords nice and warm for that day.
I’m going to give the slight edge to Florida in this game for the same reasons I picked the Gators to knock off LSU.
Florida only lost 19-14 in last year’s meeting against South Carolina. With Jadeveon Clowney, Kelcy Quarles and Vic Hampton on defense for South Carolina, Florida rushed for 200 yards. All of those guys are no longer on the team. Quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg also completed nearly 77 percent of his passes in the close loss.
Keep in mind, this game was played in The Cock Pit.
Florida nearly beat one of the most talented South Carolina teams ever in its house, despite having an inept offense. With Florida improving on the offensive end and the game being played in Gainesville, I like the Gators to beat the Gamecocks for the sixth time in nine tries.
Gators win 19-14 (8-2)
vs. Eastern Kentucky (Nov. 22)
Last season, Eastern Kentucky lost to Coastal Carolina, Eastern Illinois and Murray State. That doesn’t even include a 68-10 blowout loss to Jacksonville State.
Need I say more?
The Colonels are simply making the trip for the paycheck and nothing more. This is one of those warmup games where the backups can get plenty of reps heading into rivalry weekend.
Hide your kids and hide your wife, this game will get ugly.
Gators win 62-3 (9-2)
at Florida State (Nov. 29)
Florida State has dominated Florida recently, winning three of the last four meetings. With the Seminoles coming off a national championship and having arguably the best college football player in quarterback Jameis Winston, the Gators will likely be in over their heads once again.
The Seminoles return four of their five starting offensive linemen and have an absolutely loaded defense that returns six starters. Florida State is deep at nearly every position, and Winston is a player who can take over a game at any moment. We all saw it during the championship game against Auburn.
Florida State is in a great position to possibly repeat as college football’s best team, while the Gators are just hoping to double their win total from a year ago and appear in a nice bowl game. A win would be sweet, but it’s very difficult to imagine in the month of May.
Gators lose 35-17 (9-3)