Tougher UF football schedule – 2006 or 2011?

Florida head coach Will Muschamp before the start of the Orange and Blue Debut Saturday, April 9, 2011.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Monday, April 18, 2011 at 12:06 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, April 18, 2011 at 12:06 p.m.

In 2006, Florida faced a schedule so daunting the media dubbed one stretch “The Gauntlet.” The Gators survived it and won a national title. Five years have passed and “The Gauntlet” is back. Sun columnist Pat Dooley looks at the two schedules to determine the toughest one.

Game 1

2006: Florida played a solid Southern Miss team featuring tailback Damion Fletcher and led only 14-7 at the half. Southern Miss had 285 total yards in the game.

2011: The Gators open with Florida Atlantic, coached by Howard Schnellenberger. The Owls went 4-8 last year.

Edge: 2006.

Game 2

2006: Florida played a Central Florida team that George O'Leary had yet to build into a strong program. Florida rolled 42-0 and UCF finished 4-8.

2011: Then, it was UCF. This year it's UAB. Neil Calloway is on the hot seat in Birmingham after last year's 4-8 record.

Edge: Even.

Game 3

2006: Tennessee came into the game ranked 13th in the country. The game was at night in Knoxville, which is never easy. Florida won by a point.

2011: The Vols are in their second year under Derek Dooley and will not be ranked when they come to Gainesville.

Edge: 2006.

Game 4

2006: Kentucky wasn't bad at all. The Wildcats had Andre' Woodson at quarterback and made it interesting for awhile.

2011: Kentucky has become an annual bowl team and will be playing host to the Gators.

Edge: Slight one to 2011 because it's on the road.

Game 5

2006: Florida had revenge on its mind and Alabama had a young quarterback with boy bangs named John Parker Wilson. He threw three interceptions and Florida won.

2011: Alabama will have a young quarterback and Florida will be out for revenge again. Nick Saban's team is a national title contender.

Edge: 2011.

Game 6

2006: LSU came to Gainesville ranked No. 9 in the nation with a host of pros on the roster. Luckily, one of them was JaMarcus Russell, whose turnovers propelled UF to the win.

2011: This is getting eerie. Again, an excellent LSU team has a shaky quarterback. If the Tigers beat Oregon, they will probably be ranked higher than ninth.

Edge: 2011 because it's on the road.

Game 7

2006: Auburn played host to the Gators ranked 11th in the country. This wasn't the best Tigers team we've seen, but it was good enough to hand Florida its only loss of the season.

2011: Auburn lost a lot from last year's national title team, including quarterback Cam Newton, but the Tigers will be solid again.

Edge: 2006.

Game 8

2006: Georgia, ranked 25th, had a young quarterback named Matthew Stafford and the Gators took advantage.

2011: Georgia has a young quarterback named Aaron Murray. We'll know a lot more about the Bulldogs by the time this game comes around.

Edge: Even.

Game 9

2006: Vanderbilt gave Florida all the Gators could handle, but UF clinched the East in Nashville 25-19. Any team with Earl Bennettt (13 catches, 157 yards) is dangerous.

2011: Vandy won't have four wins coming into this game and doesn't have anyone named Earl Bennett.

Edge: 2006.

Game 10

2006: It was one of the most exciting moments ever in The Swamp when Jarvis Moss blocked the game-winning field goal.

2011: Steve Spurrier has had time to build the Gamecocks into the East favorite this season and the game is in Columbia.

Edge: 2011.

Game 11

2006: Western Carolina was one of the worst teams we've seen come into Gainesville.

2011: Furman used to be an FCS championship contender. But the Paladins were 5-6 a year ago.

Edge: 2011.

Game 12

2006: Florida State made it interesting late before Chris Leak hit Dallas Baker for the game winner. Not a great Seminole team.

2011: FSU is back. Haven't you heard? Good news for the Gators is they get them at home where they have won three in a row.

Edge: 2011.

So the 2011 schedule is tougher by a score of 6-4-2. Of course, it's always easier to look back than it is to look ahead.

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