The Florida Gators are certainly capable of bouncing back from a nightmare season, but they’ll still have a hard time going over their 2014 regular-season win total.
Easing into the season
Florida has a great opportunity to enter its high-profile matchup with Alabama in Week 4 with a 3-0 record, which would leave it just a win shy of matching its four-win total for the entire 2013 campaign.
The Gators are 35-point home favorites against the Idaho Vandals in hopes of capturing their 25th consecutive season opener, while they match up with the Eastern Michigan Eagles the following week—a program that has produced a 4-20 combined record the last two years.
Some college football handicappers may be interested in going agains the Gators in their Southeastern Conference opener on Sept. 3, but they’ve proven victorious in their last 27 meetings versus the Kentucky Wildcats.
Keys to victory under Muschamp
In Will Muschamp’s first three seasons in Gainesville the formula for success has been to take care of the football, control both lines of scrimmage, play great special teams and be physical on defense.
Muschamp-coached teams rank fourth nationally in allowing just 17.4 points per game since 2002—trailing only the Alabama Crimson Tide, Ohio State Buckeyes, LSU Tigers and Virginia Tech Hokies in that all-important statistical category.
A new look on offense
Since Muschamp’s first recruiting class, the Gators have signed 12 ESPN 150 players at either quarterback, running back, receiver or tight end—but six have transferred out of the program.
Florida had three signal-callers start multiple games in 2013, but the return of former High School Player of the Year Jeff Driskel should provide stability, especially with new coordinator Kurt Roper coming over from Duke.
The Gators are hoping that Roper’s no-huddle, shotgun and spread offense attack will improve upon the team’s 113th ranking in scoring offense from a year ago.
Quite a schedule
The Gators have one of the toughest schedules in the country after their first three games, especially since they’ll play the Florida State Seminoles and Alabama Crimson Tide on the road, with those squads being ranked first and second nationally in the first AP Top 25 poll.
It’s still important to point out that nine of its 12 games will be played in the Sunshine State, including a neutral-site affair against the Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville on Nov. 1.
As part of your College Football picks, I’m going to recommend that you back the OVER in this proposition offering, but don’t utilize too much of your bankroll, as I’m expecting an 8-4 season from the Gators in 2014.
NCAAF Pick: Over 7.5 regular season wins at Pinnacle Sports