Jim McElwain surprised the media boys (and girls) with his news after Wednesday’s practice that Feleipe Franks had won the quarterback battle and will start Saturday’s game against Michigan. We all thought Mac was going to hold off and wait until Saturday to make the call based on his comments earlier in the week. But when you think about it, dropping the news was good timing, because it detracted (just a little bit) from the bigger story that broke earlier in the day — the suspension of starting running back Jordan Scarlett and backup wide receiver Rick Wells.
The problem is, that bigger news isn’t going away. And it might grow even bigger as the investigation into possible credit card fraud continues. Nine players have been caught in the net so far, and more could follow in the coming days (maybe even before Saturday’s game).
This mess is kind of spoiling the mood heading into the opener, casting a dark cloud over the program and sucking up some of the excitement of this intriguing opening-day matchup.
I’m sure the players that do play are excited and fired up about Saturday. But the harsh reality is all these suspensions could turn out to be a huge distraction that affects UF’s overall performance (especially if some bad stuff happens early in the game, and trust me, they will).
Naming Franks the starter certainly generates some excitement. He seems like the perfect fit in McElwain’s offense and I think you’re going to see the downfield passing game come to life in this game. On both sides of the ball, the Gators will play well enough to win, but it’s just not going to happen with the mood that has set in since Wednesday’s suspensions were announced.
Before the latest suspensions, I thought Florida was going to win and look pretty good doing it. Now, I’m seeing a dark day ahead in Texas for the Gators.
Prediction: Michigan 28, Florida 24.