Gators have plenty to prove

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Florida defensive lineman Kyree Campbell (55) sacks Towson quarterback Tom Flacco (14) in the first half last Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun]

There is not a lot we know for sure about what will happen today. We think we know, but we don’t really know. Or as I like to say, I know more than you think I know, but I know less than I think I know.

That’s why on a game that feels like a toss-up, I used a coin flip. The trouble was that every time it landed, it was on orange and blue. (Different shades I’m sure, but my eyes aren’t that good).

These games only come around every once in a while, Top-10 matchups that create a Monday buzz that lasts throughout the week and builds to a crescendo of white noise. Dan Mullen talked about it earlier this week, how it’s the kind of game to want to be in the stands for rather than watch on TV.

But I will save any more scheduling lectures for another time and tell you the one thing I do know 100 percent about today’s game.

The narrative is going to change for both teams by the time it gets dark today.

Because this is a Show Me Game for so many people involved. (Missouri indignancy notwithstanding).

We’ll see who shows the most. And that team will be propelled into the College Football Playoff discussion. The loser will be kicked to the curb by the national media. That’s just how cruel this game can be.

More than anything, it’s a Show Me Game for this Florida football team, a group of young men who have been impertinent enough to — tsk, tsk — win all of their games this season without being sexy enough.

It’s a big day for The Swamp as well, a place where only Gators USED TO get out alive. Florida has 12 losses in the previous six seasons prior to this one at home. In the 12 years of Steve Spurrier and six of Urban Meyer — when championships were won — the Gators lost only eight times at home.

“It’s going to be probably the most hostile environment we’ve been in,” said Auburn coach Gus Malzahn. “It’s going to be loud — we’ve been working crowd noise for six weeks so hopefully that will help prepare (quarterback Bo Nix) for this environment.”

We’ll see how much juice The Swamp can still generate and how much it will affect the freshman quarterback who has already shown a lot. Nix has already guided a comeback over Oregon and won in College Station, but this is a different animal today.

And he can always lean on his dad, who broke Florida hearts in 1994, for advice.

Certainly, this is a Show Me Game for the UF offensive line that has been dissected like an 11th-grade science class frog. The unit that came into this season as the biggest question mark on the team is on the verge of being labeled as a liability.

Now, the toughest defensive line it may face all season.

“They’ve got to know a sense of urgency,” Mullen said. “They’re not bad guys. They may work hard. They’re good guys. They try to put in the time. What they’ve got to understand is what putting in the time means.

“They need to make sure they understand what they need to do. What they’re currently doing is not enough.”

It’s a Show Me Game (you may prefer Prove It Saturday or Statement Saturday or Affirmation Day or even Sweaty Saturday, but we all get the point) for a Florida defense that has all of the statistics and none of the love.

It’s a Show Me Game for CJ Henderson, who has only five-plus quarters under his belt this season, and Kyle Trask, a grad student who somehow has fewer starts than his true freshman counterpart, and for two visor-wearing head coaches who know they will have to be creative with their offenses to budge the opposing defenses.

Let’s see what ya got, everybody.

Who flinches? Who stumbles? Who does something epic?

Who wins?

Show Us.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at pat.dooley@gvillesun.com. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.

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