The preseason college football magazines have started to hit the newsstands and they’re giving the Gators lots of love. Maybe too much.
Seeing Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow on all these regional covers is expected. But having Florida at No. 1 seems a little odd considering all the problems the Gators had on defense last season, especially in that last game.
Two magazines have the Gators in the top spot ” Athlon and Phil Steele’s College Football Preview.
Had Florida played well and beaten Michigan in the Capital One Bowl, it would be a lot easier to justify putting the Gators at No. 1 heading into the 2008 season. But after the defensive meltdown in that loss to the Wolverines, UF certainly doesn’t have the look of a No. 1 team.
In its UF preview, Athlon devotes most of the space talking about Tebow, Percy Harvin and the Gators’ explosive offense. Now, on that side of the ball, the Gators definitely look like a No. 1 team.
As for the shaky UF defense, Athlon sort of brushes over any potential problems with this blanket statement: “The front four is well-stocked, and the back seven should be strong as well.”
The last time I checked (which was during spring practice), Florida’s young defensive line was still a huge question mark (and a concern of the coaches) and there were still some questions about a secondary that got shredded consistently last season.
I think Florida’s defense is going to be better this season (especially in the back end), but the Gators have to show it on the field before I start looking at the Gators as serious national championship contenders.
There seems to be a consensus out there that if UF is just solid on defense, the Gators will be unbeatable because the offense is so good. I’m not sure I buy that theory. Winning offensive shootouts isn’t the way to go in the SEC.