Now that I am one-third finished with my 2008 Florida Gators Season Preview, I have looked back on my predictions and read the feedback give by you, the readers.
Now, I'll reiterate some of my points, admit my mistakes, and give my final opinion on how Florida will fare in their first four games.
Game One, vs. Hawaii
Original Prediction: Florida 45 - Hawaii 17
Most of the feedback I received agreed with my analysis of the game. The major points mentioned included Hawaii's loss of Colt Brennan and Florida's offensive versatility, as well as the Gators' ability to put a lot of points on the board in the opener.
Many people concluded, as did I, that June Jones got out of Hawaii at the opportune time.
New Prediction: Florida 45 - Hawaii 17
Based on feedback from readers and further research on Hawaii, my opinion did not change. Hawaii will have a tough time repeating as WAC Champions with Boise State and Fresno State looking to steal the one of the coveted at-large BCS bids.
Game Two, vs. Miami
Original Prediction: Florida 42 - 24
I had mixed responses from this prediction. Some thought that Miami would make the game closer than I thought, others thought that I overestimated Miami's offense and that Hurricanes wouldn't score that many.
One reader even suggested the possibility of an upset in this heated rivalry game.
New Prediction: Florida 35 - Miami 14
Upon further review, I don't think that Miami will be able to put that many points on Florida in "the Swamp," considering that it will only be the second game of the season, with a first-time starting quarterback.
Game Three, vs. Tennessee
Original Prediction: Florida 34 - Tennessee 14
After publishing this story, I couldn't believe that I had made this game a 20-point victory for the Gators. I had underestimated the energy of Neyland Stadium, especially when the Gators come to town for their annual SEC opener.
New Prediction: Florida 31 - Tennessee 21
Despite the raucous home crowd, I still believe that Florida will spread out the field with their playmakers and give Tim Tebow a great selection of scoring options.
In addition, I still believe the major key to the game is containing Tennessee running back Arian Foster. I believe that the Florida defense will be able to contain to Foster and win their fourth straight matchup with SEC rival Tennessee.
Game Four, vs., Ole Miss
Original Prediction: Florida 42 - Ole Miss 10
This prediction, by far, was the most--what's a good word? I guess I would say "controversial."
Despite my prediction that Houston Nutt would have the Rebels back at the top in a few seasons, I was criticized for not giving a 3-9 team from a year ago a chance to defeat a legitimate contender for the national title in 2008.
One reader actually took a "shot" at me, pointing out that I lacked "credibility" as a journalist.
I thought that was a little harsh, but hey, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Great! Now I sound like Kanye West.
The main argument that I heard was that Ole Miss had lot of talent. The readers pointed out that the 2008 Rebels were a very talented team.
Well, let me quote Florida quarterback Tim Tebow from the SEC media days that occurred recently,
"If people say your team is talented, that means you haven't done anything yet."
Tebow, of course, was referring to the 2008 Gators, but I'd like to apply that to Jevan Snead and this season's Ole Miss football team.
Ole Miss is a talented football team, but I just do not see them playing in a bowl game when the 2008 season concludes. I'm sorry if that hurts your feelings, Rebels fans. You don't have to like me or agree with me.
I will admit that I was wrong in cutting down Ole Miss as much as I did. They have the looks of a very talented team and a future SEC contender, but I don't see them making it close in "the Swamp."
New Prediction: Florida 38 – Ole Miss 17
Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead has a lot of potential and he could open some eyes this year with his arm strength, but don’t expect him to put on an elaborate show against the Gators.
While Ole Miss has improved on offense, Florida has improved much more on the defensive side of the ball, and should put heavy pressure on Snead throughout the contest.
Emmanuel Moody should have a breakout game, but look for some good runs from freshman running back Chris Rainey as well. Urban Meyer has a tremendous two-headed monster at the running back position and he would be foolish to not give both of his running backs a lot of carries.
Well, there you have it. The new predictions that I have made in this article showcase my final picks for Florida’s first four games of the 2008 season.
Thank you very much for your feedback! It has opened my eyes to some of my mistakes, but it has also made me support my predictions. I love the discussion!
Stay tuned for my next prediction—Florida vs. defending 2007 BCS Champion LSU. Until then, thanks once again for the feedback! I look forward to the discussion on the Florida-LSU game.
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