Our college football expert analyst reviews and previews the Florida Gators. Be sure to go inside and read this compelling article concluded with a college football futures pick.
Gators 2015 Season Review
With all things being considered, the Florida Gators are coming off a very successful 10-4 season. The pundits will retort in kind by pointing out they started 10-1, and were dominated in their last three games versus Florida State, Alabama (SEC Championship), and Michigan (Citrus Bowl). However, keep in mind, it was just the first season in Gainesville for head coach Jim McElwain. He was also taking over a Gators program which went just 11-13 during the prior two seasons under Will Muschamp, and failed to play in a bowl game on each occasion.
The Florida offense was a glaring weakness in 2015, and was a major contributor to its season ending three game losing streak. They ranked #100 nationally in scoring at 23.2 points per game, and #112 in total offense by amassing only 310.2 yards per contest.
The offensive line has nowhere to go but up in 2016 after allowing 45 sacks last year, and Florida's 126.9 yards rushing per contest ranked #113 out of 128 teams. In their defense, they were an extremely inexperience group which at times started three true freshmen.
One thing that can be rest assured, Florida will have a new starting quarterback in 2016. A couple of transfers will be vying for that role. Sophomore Lace Del Rio (Oregon State) who's the son of Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio, and former Purdue starter Austin Appelby (Senior) are presumed to be frontrunners. Whoever wins the job, it will denote the ninth different starter since Tim Tebow in 2009.
Jim McElwain made his reputation for his prowess on the offensive side of the ball. He's the former OC at Alabama, and worked magic in that regard while serving as Colorado State's head coach from 2012 to 2014. Although McElwain has only two recruiting classes under his belt at Florida, I fully expect to see a marked improvement in that area for this upcoming season.
The Florida defensive unit was outstanding last year. Granted, they faded down the stretch. However, that came as a direct result of them wearing down late in the year, and was a direct result of their offense's inability to sustain drives, subsequently forcing them to be on the field way too much. The Gators were 11th nationally in scoring defense (18.3 PPG), and 8th in total defense (310.2 YPG). They return six starters on the defensive side of the ball, and should once again be a formidable unit.
Florida will face three cream puffs in the non-conference portion of their schedule. #127 Massachusetts, #128 North Texas, and Presbyterian (FCS) barring something unforeseen should be sure wins. They also get some of the weaker SEC opponents Kentucky, Missouri, and South Carolina at home. Florida should have no excuse not come away victorious in a game at Vanderbilt. Conversely, they'll be hard pressed to win against #9 LSU (home), #7 Tennessee (away), #26 Arkansas (away), #17 Georgia (neutral site), and #2 Florida State (away). If they can somehow come away with two or possibly three wins in those five aforementioned contests, it will be another successful season in Gainesville.
Final Take and Futures Pick
Current college football odds at TheGreek has Florida's regular season win total at 8.0. Personally, I have the Gators projected to go 7-5 at this juncture. With that in mind, I'll have a slight lean toward under 8.0 (+100) for one of my early college football picks.
Free NCAAF Pick: Under 8 +100
Best Line Offered: at TheGreek