Moving Forward, the Florida Gators Have To Avoid the Letdown

Jay HendryCorrespondent IOctober 11, 2009

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 10:  The defense of Florida Gators celebrate a stop against the Louisiana State University Tigers at Tiger Stadium on October 10, 2009 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Instead of torching the Tigers, the Gators chose to beat them into submission, controlling the clock and dominating defensively in a 13–3 win that looked like it came out of the Steelers' archives, not the mind of high octane spread guru Urban Meyer. 

Regardless, the Gators won, remained undefeated, and widened the gap between themselves and the rest of the SEC East.  However, with seven games to go, this is not the time to get cocky.  While the LSU game was not touted as a must win game, the next seven are. 

Any loss hereafter will be viewed as a letdown loss similar to USC's annual no–show against a greatly overmatched Pac–10 opponent and will place the Gators' title hopes in jeopardy.  The human voters will not be too kind after a loss to high scoring, no defending Arkansas, three loss Georgia, or six loss FSU (calling it now). 

Then there's Mississippi State, a team who plays everyone tight in Starkville.  The Gators don't like going into that stadium to begin with, and their head coach has quite a bit of experience with our team.  If there is one game circled on Dan Mullen's calendar, it's the Oct. 24 match up against the Gators.

Don't sleep on the Ol' Ball Coach either.  His Gamecocks are 5–1, and may be 8–2 when the Gators face them in November.  On paper, they are the most legitimate threat to the Gators' undefeated regular season.  They finally have something that kind of resembles an offense under Spurrier, averaging nearly 28 points per game this season. 

Add to that the fact that Spurrier's probably a little tired of getting blown out by the Gators too.  In the last two years Florida has outscored South Carolina 107–37, and Spurrier needs a few quality wins to justify his salary.

The Gators may have won their toughest match up, but the season is still less than halfway over, and if they want to play in Pasadena they will have to play perfectly from here on out.