At about the same time last season, a loss to Ole Miss seemed to unite the Gators and send them speeding off in the right direction after some early-season struggles. Will a near-loss to Arkansas on Saturday have a similar effect?
Will the Gators start opening things up and turning things on like they did during their national championship run a year ago?
It’s possible. But probably not likely. That’s not to say the Gators won’t run the table and reach the national title game. What I’m saying is don’t expect this UF team to become the offensive juggernaut that last year’s team did after the Ole Miss loss.
Six games into the season, it’s obvious the Gators are what they are. They’re a very good defensive team that can shut down opponents when they don’t have breakdowns and mental lapses like a week ago. They’re a struggling offensive team that doesn’t have the playmakers (especially in the passing game) they had a year ago to roll up all kinds of points.
Somehow the Gators won a game they probably should have lost Saturday. Like Tim Tebow said Monday, it took a lot of heart and character to somehow earn a victory with those four lost fumbles and six sacks.
Maybe the near-loss will take off some of the pressure and UF will start making some of those plays they’ve been just missing on offensive. Maybe that will lead to more relaxing games and a wider margin of victory.
But the thinking here is that was just the first of what could be several down-to-the-wire games for UF the rest of the way. The Gators know they can win those games, just like they did Saturday.
To win the national championship, the Gators probably will have to do it the way they did in 2006, when they managed games so well offensively and found a way to win each week.
Buckle your seatbelts, because it could be a thrilling (and scary) ride the rest of the way.