After the mess I made of things last season, some (well, actually many) have suggested that I leave the predictions to others who might be more qualified. It’s hard to disagree with that after my abysmal record I compiled last year picking Florida games. I had a worse year than the Gators, and that’s saying something (at least by UF standards).
But like the Gators, I’m refreshed and ready to start over and give it another try. It certainly is a new beginning for Florida football , and there’s all kinds of excitement over Will Muschamp, new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, and what John Brantley might be able to accomplish in Weis’ pro-style offense. I just have myself — which I’ve proven isn’t much.
Still, I’m excited about a new start and eager to move forward.
Here’s my first prediction for 2011: This Florida team is going to be a lot better than most think. I’ve heard some fellow writers suggest that 8-5 is probably the best the Gators can do, and they should be happy with that. I don’t agree with that. I don’t see this team winning every game, but if UF stays healthy the Gators are going to be in every game. With a few kind bounces at the end of games, the Gators will have a chance to reach Atlanta.
Here’s my second prediction: John Brantley is going to be a completely different quarterback than the one we saw last season. Weis is the great QB fixer, and I think he’s done that with Brantley, whose confidence may be at an all-time high. No one manages a quarterback (or an offense) better than Weis, and that’s what he will do this season, starting with the opener. Weis will give Brantley plays he can execute, the Gators will score on their first drive of the season, and from that point on, Weis will open the playbook more and more to Brantley as his confidence continues to grow.
Here’s my third prediction: There will be no fumbled or botched shotgun snaps tonight and the Gators will roll to an easy victory with impressive performances in all three phases — offense, defense, special teams. It will be a very promising start for the Muschamp era. Score: Florida 48, Florida Atlantic 10.