Not to brag or anything, but I was looking back on last season the other day and noticed that I was perfect with my picks in Florida games in 2015. I went 13-0 in the regular season, correctly predicting the upset of Ole Miss and the three losses to LSU, Florida State and Alabama.
But, of course, I went and lost some of my credibility with my bold bowl prediction. I actually believed the offense-less Gators were going to beat Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. So wrong on that one. Just like that, perfect season gone.
So, I’m like the Gators. I ended 2015 badly and now am looking for better things with a fresh start this season. I think we’ll both do fine with this opener against UMass. It’s rebound time.
No disrespect to the Minutemen, but this is going to play out like an NFL exhibition game for the Gators. Luke Del Rio and the offense will have some early success, the defense will dominate and the Gators will alternate all kinds of players in and out throughout the game, with many young players seeing their first playing time. So the score is not going to soar to a ridiculous height for UF.
One aspect that’s going to be intriguing to watch is how the Gators use their tailbacks. Five are expected to play, so those guys are going to be rotating in and out, with the coaches checking to see if one gets the hot hand. I’m also looking forward to seeing how good the passing game will be with Del Rio, who knows where to go with the football and has a quick release, and a receiving corps that should be much more dynamic with a healthy Brandon Powell and the addition of Dre Massey to go along with Antonio Callaway.
The defense, of course, will rattle first-time starting quarterback Ross Comis and stuff tailback Marquis Young, who rushed for 100 yards against Notre Dame last season, but will find things a lot more difficult in this one.
Coming off that three-game losing streak to end last season, this is the opportunity to bury the memory of that finish and start moving forward in what could be a good season in year two under Jim McElwain.
Prediction: Florida 44, UMass 14.