Through preseason camp and the first two games of the season, I have to admit that I drank the Kool-Aid and was convinced this Florida team was much, much better than last season and would make a serious run at an SEC championship in 2014.
Well, after what I witnessed two weeks ago in Tuscaloosa, I’ve spit out the Kool-Aid and am now chugging a healthy drink of reality. And the reality is this team is not a whole lot better than last year’s.
The offense, with poor production at quarterback and wide receiver, is looking just like it did a year ago — inept and incapable of scoring many points. And the defense, which kept the Gators in most games in 2013, has collapsed around a broken secondary that can’t cover, can’t tackle, can’t make plays when it has to.
So, what next?
Well, probably another loss unless something dramatically changes on both sides of the ball (which is hard to imagine happening).
I look at Tennessee, and I see a team making great progress under Butch Jones, a team that is moving closer and closer to being very good. I look at Florida in Will Muschamp’s fourth season, and I see a team stuck in the muck, advancing nowhere.
Maybe that will all change in Knoxville on Saturday. Maybe Driskel will come out on fire in the passing game and the Gators will roll up and down the field. And maybe the defense will light up UT quarterback Justin Worley with a heavy pass rush and shut down the Vols.
Well, that’s the Kool-Aid version.
The reality is this is a bad matchup for the Gators. UF can’t defend the pass, and the Vols are very good passing the ball. UT has a sound defense, and the Gators don’t consistently move the ball against good defenses. One possible advantage for UF is the Vols’ young, inexperienced offensive line. But this is a UF defensive front that puts no pressure on the quarterback.
It all adds up to more road misery for the Gators.
Prediction: Tennessee 31, Florida 14.