Sizing up the schedule

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To help bridge the gap between the long, hot summer and the start of two-a-days in August, we offer this glimpse at Florida’s 2009 football schedule:

* The sure thing: The Gators will score 60-plus points in their opener against a really bad, really out-manned Charleston Southern team. Quarterback Tim Tebow and most of the starters might be resting on the bench before halftime. UF will send a steady parade of fresh young athletes against a team that will be hopelessly overmatched. Boy, the stats are going to look really good after game one.

* Toughest game: This one’s easy – at LSU on Oct. 10. The Gators dismantled the Tigers in a big way last year in The Swamp and LSU will be out for revenge in what will be a tough nighttime environment for UF in Baton Rouge. Meyer is 0-2 at Tiger Stadium (who could forget Meyer being reduced to tears after the numbing loss in 2005), and Tebow suffered that heartbreaking loss there in 2007. The Tigers have an inexperienced quarterback and some holes to fill at key positions, but this team (as usual) is loaded with talent, thanks the consistent strong recruiting by Les Miles and his staff. One thing in UF’s favor is the fact the Gators have an open date before this game, and Meyer is almost impossible to beat when he has more than a week to prepare for an opponent.

* Upset alert: If there’s an Ole Miss on the schedule this season, it has to be Arkansas. The Rebels kind of came out of nowhere to upset the Gators in The Swamp last season. They were led by a high-profile quarterback transfer by the name of Jevan Snead, who helped the Rebels enjoy a dramatic turnaround in 2008. Former Michigan quarterback Ryan Mallet could have a similar impact on the Hogs in 2009. He has a big-time arm and is capable of making all the throws in Bobby Petrino’s intricate passing offense. This is an Arky team with a lot of talent (and speed on offense). This game comes the week after the huge game in Baton Rouge. So, the Gators will need to be on full upset alert (something they weren’t for Ole Miss a year ago).

* Potential bumps in the road: At Mississippi State on Oct. 24 and at South Carolina on Nov. 14. I know, I know, these two teams don’t have the overall talent or skill to match up with the Gators (wherever the games are played). But Meyer will be facing two head coaches with Florida ties who really want to beat him: Stever Spurrier and Dan Mullen, Meyer’s former offensive coordinator. These will be emotional games for the Bulldogs and Gamecocks – and as we have seen in the past, anything can happen on the road in the SEC. Watch out for these two.

* Keeping the streak alive: With arch-rival Florida State coming to The Swamp on Nov. 28, the Gators likely will be a heavy favorite to win their sixth consecutive game in this heated in-state grudge match. Unless some weird things happen along the way during the season, that streak should live.

22 COMMENTS

  1. I hate UGA, and I hate that they are being overlooked. As with Ole Miss last year, they have back their entire offensive and defensive fronts (two deep). Wideouts and Running Backs will be just fine for the mutts, and Joe Cox is no slouch at QB.

    Opposite of Ole Miss this year, not real sure Snead will get a lot of time to throw–Cox might have all day.

  2. While I can fully appreciate the Gators’ wanting to get their season off on the right foot with a less than challenging opponent, the scheduling of Charleston Southern is downright embarrassing for an elite, championship program like Florida’s. Embarrassing! As an alumnus who’s a fervent football fan, I am embarrassed. Come on Jeremy Foley…schedule an opponent that can at least field a competitive team to provide the Gators with a challenge. It doesn’t have to be Penn State, but one of the better MAC teams might be nice. Charleston Southern?! Who?!

  3. OK Robbie, I’m with you as far as you go but I don’t want anybody to overlook some other rivals that hate our guts. I just read the comment that even though Lane Kiffin has made his rude comments and shown his lack of expertise in the department of those pesky NCAA rules and all expect him to “get his fanny spanked” in The Swamp, UT will be an improved team. They would love to come to town and catch us off our game. And then there’s Georgia. I don’t care that they have no real team this year, they hate us. (The feeling is mutual so it’s a wash I guess.)

  4. yeah, if you remember, the last time we visited Mississippi State, we lost. Course it was uinder Zook and Mullen knows Tebow and our offence. But I have confidence in Meyer because he also knows Mullen.

  5. The gators will be good, that is a given. As defending national champions, they need to be aware of complacency. As well, they need to know that an opposing team will give its all when playing them, and most likely hold nothing back.

    Their schedule is light, so they cannot afford to loose a single game, less they find themselves in the position of USC last year. With but a single loss, USC could not get back into the title hunt based on the streingth of their up coming opponents. They managed to quite impressivly run the rest of their schudule without so much a blemish, but it was too late then.

    If they keep focused, and keep in mind these things, then I think they will repeat. Again they need to know there is a target on their backs and no room for off games.

  6. We have always had trouble in Starkeville. Does not matter how bad Miss.State is , we havent won there since before Spurrier. I truly hope Meyer realizes this and prepares the team so that this will change. But that should be the upset alert

  7. The Arkansas game is ireraly similar to the Ole Miss game last year. They have a big time transfer QB that has had a year to sit back and watch for a year also they have the speed in the backfield and at the WR to cause some problems if you underestimate them.

  8. Well,

    If Urban knows Dan and Dan knows Tim and Tim knows Dan and Tim babysat both Urban’s and Dan’s kids and Dan’s wife knows Urban’s wife and Urban’s and Dan’s children know each other and even Bo knows Urban and Dan in addition to Sonny Bono and Bo Diddly, who has the advantage here?

    Also, no mention of Mighty Vanderbilt?

    Those kids played a bowl game last year and beat the no. 2 team in the ACC. I look for them to spank Georgia!

    Lastly, it was so sweet to endure all of last year’s Georgia hype only to see them underachieve, lose their quarterback and have to watch us win the NC. Just beautiful.

    Just a good as watching Danny snatch the heisman from Peyton and them win the NC over Saint Bobby. God loves us.

    What a great time to be a Gator fan.

  9. Not looking too far a head, because anything on any given Saturday can happen in the mighty SEC, but a little sneak peek into the SEC Championship game, could be a derail er for the big prize. Ol’Miss will win the west, even though they loss to LSU, they will still win the West and rest assured they too want a “repeat” of 2008 of their own sorts. Ol’ Miss my friends is a very good football team. The Gators have everything in place to secure our 1st National Dynasty it simply comes down to execution and mental toughness to all. I am so excited about this year I just can’t stand myself, O’ that’s my underarms 🙂 GO GATORS!!

  10. I think the game that makes me the most nervous is the game in Starkeville, we DO play bad there for some reason. I also feel we have the talent to run the table as well. I think all of Gator fans can’t wait to knock the stuffing out of UT & UGA though, Lane has it comin and well UGA….we just love whippin ’em! Let’s go Gators…. we need an undefeated season.

  11. I can’t wait to see the look on Lane’s face after we kill them 49-12…just my prediction. UGA will be lucky to get on the scoreboard at all without Knowshown and Matthew agaist our returning Def.