Fact or Fiction: Gap between Florida and Georgia is not as wide as gap between Tennessee and Florida

Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (11 vs. Tennessee at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Sept. 21. The Gators beat the Volunteers 34-3. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Our Fact or Fiction segment continues as we get closer to the SEC schedule being released and maybe even games being played in late September. Maybe. Sun staffers Robbie Andreu and Pat Dooley continue to embrace the debate:

Item 1 

The gap between Florida and Georgia is not as wide as the gap between Tennessee and Florida.

Andreu: I’m not any good at math and I know better than to compare scores, but I’m going to do both in this instance. After last year’s game in Jacksonville, when Dan Mullen was asked how big the gap was between the Gators and the Bulldogs, he gave the perfect answer: seven points, because the score of the game was 24-17. So, based on the score, not much of a gap. Now, to last year’s Tennessee game. The Gators won 34-3, so a 31-point gap, which is considerable. The reality is the gap between the three schools isn’t all that wide, although the Gators have a bigger one on UT than UGA has on UF. FACT.

Dooley: This was debated by members of The Athletic staff the other day and a lot of it is based on that run the Vols had at the end of the season when they beat up on a lot of mediocrity and the recruiting class Tennessee is putting together. I would point to the first Coaches’/SID poll that came out this week. Florida and Georgia are both in the Top 10. Tennessee is unranked. I do believe Florida fans think the gap is tighter between Florida and Georgia than it actually is. That doesn’t mean Florida can’t beat Georgia, especially because of Dan Mullen. But Georgia has recruited better over the last three years and has better players. Tennessee, beat somebody and get back to me. FACT. 

Item 2

 Zachary Carter will have more sacks this season than highly rated and highly regarded Georgia transfer Brenton Cox.

Andreu: Everyone is jacked up to see what Cox does on the field this fall after sitting out last season. Not only was he a five-star recruit coming out of high school, he’s wearing No. 1 this season, which means the coaching staff thinks highly of him. Well, they think highly of Carter, too. Carter had a near-breakout season last year filling in for the injured Jabari Zuniga, recording 4.5 sacks and 7.0 tackles for losses. He’s primed to break out completely this fall. And he’s pretty much going to own that end spot, while Cox is going to have to battle senior Jeremiah Moon and several other promising young players for playing time at the rush-end spot. That position may produce more sacks than Carter, but Carter wins the sack count against Cox. FACT.

Dooley: This staff doesn’t give out that No. 1 jersey without giving it some thought and all indications are that Cox could have the kind of year that lands him on the All-SEC team. It didn’t hurt that Cox, even though he had to sit out last year, got a real understanding of the Florida defense under Todd Grantham and learned from Jon Greenard. If he plays as hard as Greenard did in 2019, Cox could be an All-American. Nothing against Carter, who was really coming on at times last season, and we always have to see about the health of players. But there is something about Cox that screams he will be an amazing player. FICTION.

Item 3

The UF offensive line gave up only 25 sacks last season. The number will be even lower in 2020.

Andreu: I’m basing this on the theory/assumption that the Gators are going to have a much more productive running game. It’s amazing that the big guys gave up only 25 sacks in 2019 with the Gators having almost zero running game and an almost all-pass offense. So, if the running game is better and more reliable, it takes pressure off the passing game — and off the quarterback — and brings the play-action passing game into the game plan. Plus, there are fewer games this season, so the number will drop below 25, maybe even 20. FACT.

Dooley: The biggest reason to believe this is a fact — Florida is only playing 10 games this season and may not even play that many. If the Gators were playing a 13-game schedule (or even 14), it could be a higher number than 25. Defenses are going to try to get after Kyle Trask because they saw some bad throws last year that somehow were not turned into interceptions. I expect Trask to be better, but the offensive line still has to show me that it has truly improved. That said, not all of those sacks occurred when Trask was playing. Anyway, the bottom line is fewer games mean fewer sacks. FACT.






  1. I’m no ”analyst” or ”an expert” (few really are today). However I know this, ‘IF’ Florida had shut down the U.G.A. passing offense as well as they shut down the run game that day in J’ville, the Florida Gators would’ve won.

    And I could make the argument (upsetting many Florida fans) that Mullen got out-coached that day in J’ville. The Dawgs knew U.F. was preparing for their run game, and the rest is history…

    However, UT is presently recruiting like Will Wade at LSU in basketball. I wonder if UT is ”paying the NFL minimum,” like Wade is at LSU Basketball?

    Florida has its best chance to make it back to the ATL this season, and what comes and hits our country? A damn pandemic sent to us by the CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY!

    Damn man! I am beginning to wonder ‘IF’ Florida will even play this season.
    Either way, Go Gators!

  2. The words “fact” and “fiction” are special words which don’t apply to predictions.

    Many people have been deluded into thinking a fact or a truth is what you “believe“ to be true, which is a terrible Desecration of our language.

    Couldn’t you guys come up with a more accurate choice of title words instead of fact or fiction?

    You are contributing to the destruction of our language by misusing the meaning of the word “fact.”

  3. IMO we never recovered in last year’s Georgia game from our inability to convert short yardage in the first series. This year looks like a better offensive line and running game, so I like our chances, if there is a game of course. Georgia will miss Jake Fromm I believe.
    The Vols have recruited well and they have good coaching, so they will improve IMO, but not enough to close the gap. The schedule just went from really favorable to challenging, so that’s why some teams in lesser conferences got ranked ahead of us IMO. I still think we have the QB, enough offensive line, and the pieces in general to get to the top, as does Clemson. We played LSU better than just about anyone else, and were as good as Georgia but didn’t make it happen, so i had us higher than the newspaper ranking last year.