Gators will hang tough


It’s quite amazing how a victory — a dramatic, pulsating, overtime victory — can turn into such a negative. But that’s exactly what’s happened with the Gators’ 36-30 win over Kentucky last Saturday.

It’s become a huge negative.

Going into the game, the consensus among Gator Nation was that the Gators were greatly improved and would have a big bounce-back season that would return UF to its rightly status of contender in the SEC. But, they almost lost the game, so now the consensus out there seems to be the Gators aren’t a whole lot better than the 4-8 version from a year ago.

I certainly don’t agree with that.

The Gators are 2-0 and still have a chance to have a big season if Jeff Driskel and a lot of other players, including those young guys in the secondary, continue to show progress the more they play.

Can they beat Alabama? Of course. There have been much better upsets in college football, and if it happened, it would not rank up there with any of the all-time shockers. The Gators are good enough to compete with the Tide and stay in the game. I’m just not sure they’re going to have quite enough to win it in the end.

When I look at this Tide team, I see too many offensive weapons who are going to have a chance to exploit a UF defense that has some serious questions in the secondary. I see some big pass plays early for the Tide, which will open things up on the ground for those dominant tailbacks.

Offensively, I think the Gators are going to be able to move the ball some and sustain some drives. I know Kurt Roper said this week he wasn’t hiding anything in the first two games, but consider this: the Gators have not run any reverses or trick plays yet, and haven’t gone anywhere near as fast as they say there were going to go getting plays off heading into the season. So, I think you’ll see the real Roper offense Saturday, and it will have some success.

The Florida players and coaches are going to Tuscaloosa expecting to win the game, and they will have a chance. They’re not showing up hoping for a moral victory.

I think the Gators will compete hard and stay in the game for a long time, but. …

Prediction: Alabama 31, Florida 16.