Next up on the Triple Option Attack is #4 Florida
Music to listen to: Suite Judy Blue Eyes by Crosby, Stills and Nash
Stephen Stills went to Florida and CSN is a great group. This was a simple choice.
The Story: A lot has happened to the Florida program since its last game, a Sugar Bowl victory over Cincinnati.
First was the graduation/leaving of major players such as quarterback Tim Tebow, middle linebacker Brandon Spikes, cornerback Joe Haden, tight end Aaron Hernandez and a variety of others.
Than former defensive coordinator Charlie Strong left to become head coach of Louisville.
Finally, there was the “retirement” and prompt return of head coach Urban Meyer which could have wrecked the entire state of the program.
However, through all of this, the Gators were still able to recruit arguably the top class of 2010 high school players in the nation and still returns a team that can be a top-five squad this season.
Last Season: The Gators finished the season with a 13-1 record with its lone loss coming to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. You know expectations are high for your program when that year is considered disappointing.
Offense: Tebow is gone but the key to the offense doing well will be on the offensive line. The good news for the Gators is that All-America candidates center Mike Pouncey and guard Carl Johnson do come back. The bad news is that the rest of the line has a bad spring and has been underwhelming in the fall according to Meyer.
The new starting quarterback is John Brantley, a highly touted prospect who has been with the Gators program for several years. He will work hard and may actually improve Florida’s passing game.
Brantley will have plenty of weapons to throw to including running back/receiver Chris Rainey. The Gators always have a variety of receivers and backs to use in its offense.
Defense: When the Gators have won the national title or been in contention for it, the defensive unit has been one of the best in the nation.
Florida does have to replace Haden, Spikes, defensive end Carlos Dunlap and several others from last years squad.
Florida does return a top-notch secondary with cornerback Janoris Jenkins, strong safety Ahmad Black and free safety Will Hill. All three are All-America candidates.
The Gators front seven must answer some major questions, especially on the line.
9-4-10 MIAMI OH
9-11-10 SOUTH FLORIDA
9-18-10 at Tennessee
10-2-10 at Alabama
10-9-10 LOUISIANA STATE
10-16-10 MISSISSIPPI STATE
10-30-10 Georgia @Jacksonville, FL
11-6-10 at Vanderbilt
11-13-10 SOUTH CAROLINA
11-20-10 APPALACHIAN STATE
11-27-10 at Florida State
Interesting schedule. At first glance it looks slightly tough but there are some tricky obstacles. The obvious one is the game at Alabama but I’m looking at the South Florida game being tougher than expected. Also, Georgia has high aspirations as well this season and the Bulldogs are more than capable of getting a win in Jacksonville. Finally, the season finale at Florida State should be a heated contest because the Seminoles are going to be hyped to finally get a win over the Gators at home with a new coach reinvigorating the program.
Most Famous Sports Alum: There are some alums who are famous in their own sports like Dara Torres and Ryan Lochte (swimming), Heather Mitts and Abby Wambach (women’s soccer), Emmitt Smith and Steve Spurrier (football) and a variety of others.
However, the answer to this one is Tebow. He has crossed over beyond the sports world.
Celebrity Alum “Crush:” A lot of options and I was going to be darned if I was going to pick either Jenn Brown or Erin Andrews, ESPN’s darlings. The Gators have also produced a lot of beauty pageant queens
Instead I’m picking Rachel Spenser. Home-improvement guru Bob Vila came in a close second, I’ve always dug the beard.
Prediction: 11-2 (two losses to Alabama)
I think that the Gators make it back to the SEC title game with its lone loss coming to its regular season match at Alabama. The talent is too good and the coaching staff too proven to believe that the Gators will suffer a major dropoff this season. However, I still think that Alabama is better this season and will prove it twice this year.
Sports Inquirer Top-25 Preseason College Football Poll: