With one week to go before practice starts in earnest, the blogging manifesto dictates we provide a preview of the Dawg's upcoming season. We will give it a shot but must remind you, speculation is a fool's game.
The coaches and media agreed with the pre-pre-season magazines and predicted a second-place finish in the eastern division. Normally that would be a safe limb to go out on, however it is awfully crowded this year. As last year made evident, crowded limbs tend to snap. I have always believed following the masses creates a lot of Asses.
T Kyle points out the reasoning behind the consensus national ranking of about 15. He makes some excellent points as to the motivations for these prognostications.
I believe, despite all things Tebow, this will be a somewhat down year for the SEC and Gainesville will not repeat as MNC. The league is stacked with receiving talent but not so much with quarterbacks or running backs. Two traditional powers are breaking in new, unproven, head coaches. Defenses will dominate the league games and, if that is the case, things will be very unpredictable. This plays to the Dawg's advantage.
Florida will lose. Mark it down. When was the last time the media anointed someone champ before the season started and it came to be? Will the Dawg's take care of business in Jacksonville? I have no idea, but I like our chances. With Percy Harvin gone, it is not hard to envision Corch Meyers running Tebow into the ground leaving the reptile nation crying, "if only Tebow were healthy".
I really do not see many shootouts on our schedule. Florida is the only real offensive juggernaut on the conference schedule, with the possible exception of Fayettville. Last year's high scoring games were a product of giving the opponent a short field. We may not have many three play scoring drives this year, but I do not expect us to turn the ball over much either.
The Dawgs are deepest where it counts the most, on the line of scrimmage. Defensive end production is an area of concern, but with required double-teams against our tackles, look for a dramatic up-tick in their performance. As long as Rennie Curran is still a Dawg we are set at linebacker. The offensive line is loaded with talent; somebody will take advantage of the holes they create.
The questions for the Bulldawg faithful are at the skill positions on both sides of the ball. Aside from AJ Green and Joe Cox, everyone else's name will be penciled into the starting lineup initially. There is talent up and down the roster, but without significant game experience these pups remain the unknown.
I have Gainesville losing to Baton Rouge, the Dawgs, and Columbia due to the loss of Tebow. Add it all up and I see us earning a trip to Atlanta for a rematch with Baton Rouge to determine the Sugar Bowl entrant.