John Brantley Injury: Florida Gators' SEC Title Hopes Dashed by QB's Injury

Luis BatlleContributor IOctober 2, 2011

GAINESVILLE, FL -  OCTOBER 1:  Quarterback John Brantley #12 of the Florida Gators warms up for play against the Alabama Crimson Tide October 1, 2011 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.  Brantley was injured and left the game in the second quarter. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The Florida Gators had won their first four games in convincing fashion, allowing just 36 points and looking like one of the top teams in the SEC. Now, after a 28-point loss to the No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide and quarterback John Brantley's health still a big question mark, these Gators have everything to worry about.

It may be all but over for the Gators this season if Brantley is unable to return to the lineup soon.

For one, the Gators are a team that rely on offensive production.

In the first four games of the season, the Gators put up 161 points and currently feature the No. 21 rushing offense in the nation. A solid offensive line has made this powerful running game possible, as running backs Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps have combined for 739 yards and six touchdowns on the season.

Yet arguably as important has been the play of John Brantley, a quarterback that seldom makes mistakes and has had complete control of one of the nation's best offenses this season. The senior has thrown for 942 yards and five touchdowns on the year. Not exactly Andrew Luck numbers, yet it is just enough to keep this offense going for the Gators, a team that relies much more heavily on the running game.

Now facing both LSU and Auburn in back-to-back weeks, expect loads of trouble if Brantley is unable to return for either contest. Losses to the nation's No. 1 and No. 15 teams will have the Gators at 4-3 for the season and 2-3 in conference play.

To start 2-3 in the SEC would completely destroy all hopes for this Gators teams to make any run at a conference title, as teams like LSU and Alabama will likely lose no more than one or two games all season. Not to mention South Carolina should lose no more than two to three games either.

The next two games for the Gators will be the most important of the season, as Brantley's health has to be the main concern for head coach Will Muschamp and company. No Brantley means definite problems for Florida, and will leave no hope for any run at an SEC title.