Florida vs. Charleston Southern: Killing a Gnat With a Sledgehammer

Michael OleszekAnalyst IAugust 31, 2009

TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 29:  Head coach Urban Meyer of the Florida Gators watches his team during a game against the Florida State Seminoles at Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 29, 2008 in Tallahassee, Florida. Florida defeated Florida State 45-15.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Game Preview

If you are a college football fan who enjoys a good mismatch, this is going to be one for the ages.

The defending national champion Florida Gators open their 2009 season with an overmatched FCS opponent from the Big South Conference: Charleston Southern.

The Buccaneers stand absolutely zero chance of winning this game, and quite frankly, they shouldn't even be on the Gators' schedule.

There were talks that Utah was going be the season opener for Florida, but the deal ultimately fell through, and college football fans were denied the chance to seen the top two finishers from the previous season.

Instead, football fans get to watch a team that has no chance go down to Gainesville, take a beating, and go back to Charleston with a nice check for $425,000.

What to Watch For

1. The Chip on Their Shoulder

Ever since the clocks ticked to zero in Miami, the Florida Gators have spent the majority of 2009 being hyped as one of the greatest teams of all timewithout playing a game.

It's pretty far-fetched to annoint a team as the greatest without stepping on to the field. But from all accounts, this has been the toughest offseason program under Urban Meyer, and every player from Tim Tebow and Brandon Spikes to the walk-ons have talked about not getting complacent.

Now, it's time to prove everybody right and come out of the gates with the throttle pushed to the floor.

It might not seem like a hard task with the quality of the Gators' first opponent, but if they don't have a huge chip on their shoulder the first week of the season, they sure aren't going to have one when it matters the most.

2. Urban Meyer

This season is all on Meyer's shoulders.

Every player on this team was recruited by Meyer and his coaching staff, so there's no more praise or blame to go around for the previous coaching staff.

Plus, it would be easy to rest on your laurels with two national championships and arguably the most talented team in America, so Meyer is going to have to coach more this year than he ever has.

The team cannot coast by on talent alone and allow itself to get sloppy and lose a game. Meyer is the one responsible for this, and the discipline of the season must start from the top and trickle all the way down the roster.

3. The Gator Defense

All 11 starters from a national championship winning defense return. All 11 backups return as well. Plus, the Gators recruited five players on the defensive side of the ball that could see playing time this season.

It won't be enough for the defense to merely stop teams. It needs to shut them down cold and get off the field so the offense can get the ball back and put the game out of reach.

4. The New Faces at Receiver 

If the Gators possess a weakness at any position this season, its at wide receiver.

Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy have taken their game to the NFL, and the Gators' returning leading receiver is actually tight end Aaron Hernandez.

That's the end of the bad news.

The good news is that most of the Gator receivers have significant game experience, including experience in the SEC and BCS Championship games.

The receivers will be led by sophomore Deonte Thompson and senior Riley Cooper, who decided to put pro baseball on hold and come back for one more year of football. Fellow senior David Nelson provides a solid third option and will take some pressure off of the younger receivers. 

The younger receivers have huge amounts of potential, and redshirt freshman Frankie Hammond, Jr. is the best of the bunch.

Two more receivers that could have an impact are senior Carl Moore and true freshman Andre Debose. How quickly they see the field will hinge on how quickly they return from injury.

Game Prediction

Florida 63, Charleston Southern 7


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