Survival game is on

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Florida’s stunning win in Jacksonville last Saturday has given the Gators some rare momentum and given Will Muschamp real hope that he can save his job. What happens in the next two weeks will determine how this all plays out for Muschamp and this UF team.

If the Gators can build on this momentum and put together another impressive performance against Vanderbilt in Nashville on Saturday night, they could get on a streak that could carry them to a seven or eight-win season and secure Muschamp’s job heading into 2015.

When I say build on momentum, that means more than just winning. It means playing well and entertaining UF fans with some offense, especially in the passing game. In other words, it’s time to turn loose true freshman quarterback Treon Harris and let him make some things happen with his arm. It would boost the offense. It would excite fans, who are looking for a reason to feel good about the future. It would help recruiting, because a lot of top recruits will get excited if Harris starts to emerge as potential future star over the next month.

Muschamp, of course, is in that mode where you do what you have to do to win games. Last week, it was run the football. But if Muschamp tries to win games against Vanderbilt and South Carolina without taking any chances on offense, we’ll be right back to 2012, where the Gators won 11 games but were blander than bland on offense.

If the Gators revert back to that form where they win but look bad doing it, it’s not going to help Muschamp’s chances of surviving. He has to know that, so I think he’s going to open up the playbook more for Harris and let him throw the football. If Harris has success doing it and the offense goes up and down the field, UF’s momentum is going to continue to grow, fans are going to feel better about the future, and Muschamp might have a future at UF.

I have a feeling that that’s exactly what’s going to happen Saturday night. The offense is going to be more balanced, Harris is going to make some things happen in the passing game and the Gators are going to come away feeling even better about themselves heading into the final three games.

Prediction: Florida 38, Vanderbilt 10.