Fact or Fiction: Florida will sweep its road games this season

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Tennessee running back Madre London tries to siff arm Florida safety Donovan Stiner during their game Sept. 22, 2018 in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

There are truths and untruths in the world of sports. And there are also opinions that are worth discussing. You may agree or disagree. Just do it with decorum. So continues this occasional feature as Pat Dooley and Robbie Andreu of the Gainesville Sun embrace the debate:

Item No. 1

Florida will sweep its road games this season (at Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and FSU).

Andreu: The road schedule is definitely doable for the Gators, with only three SEC road games and the regular season-ending clash with the Seminoles in Tallahassee. Heading into the season, you’d have to say the Gators would be favored in all their road games. But, because this is the SEC and FSU is FSU, there are going to be some difficult challenges. The first big one comes early in the season with a Sept. 26 trip to Knoxville where the Gators will face the surging Vols. What might help UF is UT has to play at Oklahoma on the road two weeks earlier, which could stall some of the momentum the Vols gained at the end of last season. Ole Miss will be tough with Lane Kiffin and Vanderbilt is never a gimme in Nashville, but the Gators should get by in both those games. Given UF’s past difficulties in Tallahassee, the sternest road test will be at the end of the season against FSU. FACT.

Dooley: You never know what can happen on the road, especially in the new world we’re living in. We don’t know how possible it is for a team to lose its starting offensive line because it has to be quarantined or have the virus sweep through the quarterback room. In a normal situation I would like Florida’s chances because I think the only real scary game is at Tennessee. But there are just too many variables heading into what is likely to be the most bizarre season we’ve ever witnessed. FICTION. 

Item No. 2

Brett Heggie will play more plays at guard than at center.

Andreu: Dan Mullen and John Hevesy consider center to be the most important position on the offensive line. This belief goes all the way back to when Mullen and Hevesy were on Urban Meyer’s staff at UF. First of all, Mullen wants a center who is smart and can make all the line calls and get everybody in the right protections. Then, he has to be physical and preferably experienced. Given that, when you look at the potential candidates, Heggie checks all the boxes. He’s been a very consistent player at guard and has a ton of experience. But I think he’s going to be the starting center. FICTION.

Dooley: The most important thing is that Heggie plays somewhere. He had those two injury-plagued seasons before getting through most of last season, missing one game with a concussion. Heggie could play anywhere and his versatility is what makes him an underrated player on this team. So much of it will have to do with the best five Florida can put on the field. And with the situation the way it is, you probably want your most experienced guy in the middle making line calls. FICTION.

Item No. 3

The SEC will expand in the next five years.

Andreu: There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about expansion, but I think the league is going to stand pat with 14 teams. If you add two more, that probably means expanding the SEC schedule to nine games, which many coaches likely would not be thrilled about. And, really, what two schools would you add? Maybe try and pull Texas and Oklahoma away from the Big 12? I just don’t see that happening. There could be dramatic changes to the college football landscape in the coming years, but the SEC seems comfortable and content with its current 14-team format. FICTION.

Dooley: There are reasons why ADs around the country are scheduling more Power Five teams and one of them is the real possibility of expanding the College Football Playoff once the current contract runs out. You also have a lot of schools in the Group of Five who are going to have tough bottom lines once this pandemic is over. So I think we are headed to 16-team Super Conferences. However, things move slowly in the world of college football so I don’t see it in five years. In 10? Probably. FICTION.

 

3 COMMENTS

  1. Tennessee is “surging” only when they prove that they are surging on the field, not because of media hype. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. Am I supposed to believe, though, that if they are OK or even good, the Gators are supposed to lose to them then? OK, I’ll bite……but somebody ought to tell Dan Mullen his team doesn’t stand a chance in Knoxville so he can just forfeit.