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The first year of the Dan Mullen was a welcome sight for Gator fans, who had grown used to some hard to watch football under his predecessor, Jim McElwain. Florida put together an respectable season with a regular season record of 9-3, which included wins over ranked opponents Mississippi State and LSU. Although they fell short against rival Georgia, Florida finally took down their other hated rival Florida State in the regular season finale after a five season drought. The Gators capped off their season with a dominant win over 8th ranked Michigan in the Peach Bowl.
After years where their defense had to carry an anemic offensive attack, Florida made significant strides when it came to putting points on the board. After ranking 109th in the nation in points per game in 2017 (22.1), the Gators jumped up to 22nd, averaging 35.0 points per game.
LaMical Perine (@LP_deucedeuce) January 9, 2019
Although Feleipe Franks managed to be the first Gator quarterback to start every game in a season since Tim Tebow in 2008, coach Mullen has not decided on a starter yet. Whoever wins the job will have solid support from senior running back La’Mical Perine who should get plenty of carries. Florida’s top three receivers in Van Jefferson, Josh Hammond, and Trevon Grimes are also back in Gainesville, as are linemen Nick Buchanan and Stone Forsythe.
Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s unit will be well stocked with talent, as pass rusher Jabari Zuniga will make the most of his fifth year. Fellow senior and top returning tackler David Reese II will once again man the middle linebacker spot, while top corner C.J. Henderson will be joined by upperclassman safeties Brad Stewart and Jeawon Taylor in the secondary.
The biggest losses for the Gators came in the trenches, where Florida lost key guys on both sides to the draft and graduation. The offensive line lost three starters, in second round pick Jawaan Taylor, Fred Johnson, and Martez Ivey. Defensive ends Jachai Polite and Cece Jefferson are also gone, with the former getting drafted in the third round by the New York Jets. Defensive stalwarts Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Vosean Joseph, as well as running back Jordan Scarlett round out Florida’s draft defections.
K H R I S B O G L E ? (@khris_a1) May 13, 2019
The Gators became the second program after the Texas Longhorns to lose a 5 star commitment to USC, as corner back Chris Steele elected to transfer close to home in LA. Florida can still deal with that hit with the signing 9th ranked corner, Kaiir Elam, the nephew of former Florida Gator and Baltimore Raven safety Matt Elam. Other key signings include fourth ranked tight end Keon Zipperer, defensive ends Khris Bogle and Lloyd Summerall, and fourth ranked outside linebacker Tyron Hopper.
|August 24th||Miami (Neutral site game at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL)|
|September 14th||@ Kentucky|
|October 12th||@ LSU|
|October 19th||@ South Carolina|
|November 2nd||Georgia (Neutral site game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL)|
|November 16th||@ Missouri|
|November 30th||Florida State|
At a glance, the biggest games on Florida’s schedule are the visit to LSU, and of course their rivalry games against Georgia and Florida State. The season opener against Miami, however, could be the litmus test for the entire season with the Hurricanes a relatively unknown commodity with their coaching change. Another feature of the schedule that could factor into Florida’s success is their three straight games away from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, which include the LSU and Georgia games.
New Jersey residents can log on to 888Sport and make wagers on Florida’s SEC title odds as well as their win total. With an over/under of 9 wins, bettors will have some tough decisions given the schedule.
Regular season only. Conference championship games do not count.
|Sportsbook||Over 9||Under 9||Link|
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Andre has been writing for WSN since February 2019, covering college basketball and college football. A graduate of Florida State and UNC-Chapel Hill, he lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. When he is not writing, he enjoys playing sports and Magic: The Gathering.
Email: [email protected]More info on Andre Viljoen
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