In the normal course of events, the first game or two of the Florida Gators' season have always been warm-ups, a collegiate preseason of sorts. It has been that way ever since the Spurrier era and is something both Ron Zook and Urban Meyer both have kept.
But could this year really be different? Could Charleston Southern University possibly present a threat to the nation's No. 1 team?
In a word: no.
Charleston Southern University comes into the game as a 73-point underdog. I'd say there's probably no chance Florida will even worry about covering the spread, so if I were in Vegas, I might bet against the Gators.
However, there is no way CSU will even come close to the Gators on the field, where the scoreboard will read 0-0 at the beginning of the game (but won't stay in that position for long). That being said, Florida has plenty to lose in this otherwise meaningless game.
Andre Debose, the highly-touted recruit out of Sanford, may be on the field, but he certainly won't be donning any pads after a hamstring injury that has some experts puzzled.
Whether he will play in the game is not a question. He will not. Whether he will play at all this year is the bigger issue.
He was Meyer's replacement for Percy Harvin. Apparently, the only thing he replaced was Harvin's injuries.
It won't matter in this game, of course. But injuries are a very real threat both in real games and in practice, and this one will hurt Florida down the road.
Yes, they still have Tim Tebow behind center. They still have great team speed, but they don't have that game-changing receiver that Harvin was. It puts pressure on everyone else to perform and perhaps do more than they would otherwise have to do.
Florida is still the top team in the nation until someone proves they can knock them off. But the loss of Debose certainly doesn't strengthen the team's position.