Florida Gators 2008 Season Preview: Recap, Games 5-8

Joe MorganSenior Analyst IAugust 15, 2008

My Florida Gators 2008 Season Preview is now two-thirds complete and I have really enjoyed writing it so far. I just want to thank everyone for reading and for the comments.

I will now look back on my predictions from the previous four games, confirm what I have said before, admit where I was wrong, and make a new prediction, if I believe it is necessary based on new knowledge.

Game Five vs. Arkansas

Game Prediction: Florida 45, Arkansas 24

Based on the feedback I received on this prediction, many people were quick to point out Arkansas's depleted receiving corps, as well as the possibility of the Razorbacks struggling to learn Petrino's new offense.

However, as one reader pointed, Arkansas never really threw the ball that often under Houston Nutt, leaving Arkansas's wide receivers unproven and capable of putting up good numbers.

It was also pointed out that the Razorback defense has weaknesses in the linebacker corps and in the secondary.

New Prediction: Florida 45, Arkansas 21

My prediction really isn't that different. While many cited a sub-par passing game for Arkansas, no Bobby Petrino team should ever score fewer than three touchdowns in a game with that offense.

As for the Gators, they will be able to exploit Arkansas's weakness in the secondary and gain a lot of yardage through the air.

The key is for the offensive line to hold the Razorback pass rush. Arkansas boasts a solid defensive line, and a good pass rush by them could throw Tebow off his rhythm.

Game Six vs. LSU

Original Prediction: Florida 35, LSU 31

Although I believe this matchup will be Florida's toughest of the year before Georgia, one reader contested that Tennessee would be and rightfully so. The Gators will have to be wary of the Vols. Jonathan Crompton looks like he’ll have a good season as Tennessee's starting quarterback.

Back to LSU! Most people that commented on the article agreed with my analysis and thought my final score was reasonable and an accurate prediction.

However, I would like to thank Justin Goar for giving further insight and pointing out a couple of mistakes. First, Andrew Hatch is junior and Jarrett Lee is freshman. I regret the error.

Secondly, top recruit Patrick Johnson changed his last name to Peterson. Talk about a great trivia question a couple of years down the road!

And last, but not least, Justin informed me that Les Miles will likely give the ball to Charles Scott and Richard Murphy, along with Keiland Williams.

Trindon Holliday would probably only see spot action. So, thanks again Justin!

New Prediction: Florida 35, LSU 31

No change in this one. “The Swamp” will prove why it’s one of toughest places to play, aiding Tim Tebow in a late fourth-quarter comeback. The Gators will squeak out a close win before heading into a bye week and a homecoming matchup with Kentucky the following week.

Game Seven vs. Kentucky

Original Prediction: Florida 38, Kentucky 17

Not much differing feedback here. Most agreed I was right in my opinion that Urban Meyer would rest his starters for the Georgia game in the second half.

However, readers thought 38 points was too few for this Gator offense, even in limited action. I tend to agree with them now.

New Prediction: Florida 48, Kentucky 17

Kentucky gave Florida a run for its money in Lexington a year ago, but Kentucky lost several key players for that team, including starting quarterback Andre Woodson.

Look for Kentucky to be in this game in the first quarter, but Florida will pull away in the second quarter for their seventh win of the season.

Game Eight vs. Georgia

Original Prediction: Florida 42, Georgia 38

I knew I would receive a lot of feedback on this one, considering Florida-Georgia is a great rivalry and one of the top games to be played this season.

While some suggested that the score wouldn’t be as close as I anticipated, I had to disagree. With tempers flaring and the SEC (and possibly the BCS) Championship at stake, these two rivals will bring their best games of the year to this matchup.

Readers also pointed out that a Florida victory in the rivalry would heavily depend on how much Florida’s defense has improved. I think every Florida victory will depend on that this season. You can’t win without a defense.

I really believe that Florida’s defense has improved and will come into this season with a collective chip on its shoulder due to criticism it has received since the loss to Michigan in the Capital One Bowl.

One reader pointed out that my predicted score was too high and the two defenses were better than that score indicated. While I agree with that statement, you have to concede that the Florida and Georgia offenses are good enough to post that many points, even on a good defense.

New Prediction Florida 34, Georgia 28

In what I think will be a classic game in this long-running rivalry, the Gators will exact their revenge on Georgia in this season’s contest.

I am confident that Florida’s front four will be able to contain Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno and that the secondary has improved enough that Matthew Stafford will have to work harder to find the open receiver.

Percy Harvin and Knowshon Moreno should pace their respective offensive attacks in an exciting rivalry game. However, Florida will put together another crucial, late touchdown drive, courtesy of Tim Tebow.

Well, there you have it. The new predictions that I have made in this article showcase my final picks for Florida’s second 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!

Will the Gators remain undefeated?. Will the Gators win the SEC Championship? Stay tuned to find out!


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