This is a different time, a new Florida team and a new coaching era in Gainesville. But it’s hard to ignore history going into the Florida-Mississippi game.
Yes, this should be a blowout. The Gators should have this game in hand by halftime. But, it won’t be. History says so.
Of all the tough places to play in the SEC, Florida’s biggest struggles over the past two decades have occurred in the state of Mississippi. In their last five trips to the Magnolia State, the Gators’ only victory came at Ole Miss in 1994. UF and Mississippi native Shane Matthews were trounced 31-6 in 1992. In UF’s last three trips to Mississippi (Mississippi State in 2000 and 2004 and Ole Miss in 2002), the Gators had the goalposts torn down on them.
There has been a lot of humiliation in Mississippi for the Gators. It shouldn’t be that way Saturday, but there’s a chance it could happen again.
If the Rebels control the ball on UF’s young defense and the Gators have a rash of turnovers, this could be another goalpost game.
I don’t think it will turn out that way. But I do think this game is going to be a lot tougher than most are predicting (Matthews, by the way, said earlier this week he thinks the Gators will win by 40 or 50 points). Don’t be surprised if the outcome of this game still hangs in the balance going into the fourth quarter.
Certainly, the Gators are going to face some adversity in this game. How the young guys (including sophomore quarterback Tim Tebow) handle it could determine the outcome.
If the Gators get off to a quick start and knock the crowd out early, this could be a Gator stomp in Mississippi.
If the Gators mess around and turn the ball over, the possibility of another Mississippi nightmare exists.
Prediction: Florida 41, Ole Miss 17