Each day this week, Sun sports columnist Pat Dooley will give you five things having to do with this Florida college football season to help you get through the summer. Each day they will be posted at Gatorsports.com at 5 p.m. Therefore, “Five at Five.”
Today: Five bold predictions for the season.
- Florida will have a first-team selection on The Associated Press All-SEC team for the first time since 2012: Can you remember the last one? It was running back Mike Gillislee seven years ago. It has been a long time since Florida’s offense has been good enough to warrant a first-team selection (although Martez Ivey was second-team twice). If the offense takes another step forward with all of the talent at the skill positions, it will happen this year.
- The Gators will return multiple kicks for TDs: With the emphasis Dan Mullen puts on special teams and a couple of softies in the non-conference schedule, it is going to happen. UF only had one last year — Freddie Swain’s scintillating 85-yard punt return against Colorado State. That was the first punt return for a score since 2015 and Florida has had only one kickoff return for a score since 2013 (Antonio Callaway on an onside kick against Missouri in 2016). Paging Brandon James.
- UF will score a touchdown on a play Steve Spurrier gives Dan Mullen: The Ambassador was rebuffed by the previous coaching staff any time he made a suggestion, but his relationship with Mullen is 100-percent better. So what will it be? The double-reverse pass he used in his first game at Duke? The play where the tight end falls down and then drags quietly through the defense? Biddle down the middle? We’ll see.
- GameDay will be back in Gainesville: It has been since 2012 South Carolina that the GameDay boys and girls have set up camp outside The Swamp. We’ve seen them in Jacksonville and at some road games, but it’s been awhile since college football’s premier pregame show has been here. The best bet is the Auburn game.
- Florida’s season will come down to how the Gators handle three bye weeks: It’s a different animal dealing with three weeks off when you are used to only one. How Mullen and his staff work around the lost momentum of opening the season with a rivalry game and then taking a week off will be interesting. The Gators have Tennessee-Martin after the first bye week and then Georgia and FSU after the other two. Mullen is 0-1 so far at Florida, compared to a combined 6-3 by the previous two coaches. Urban Meyer was the king of bye weeks, going 8-0 during his Florida career.