SEC: Florida Gators
Dan Mullen was always that coach who seemed like he could be a next-level superstar at the right program with better talent and more advantages.
Of course, Mississippi State is more than fine, but in terms of all the perks and possibilities, it’s not Florida.
The Tebow Whisperer during his time as the Gator offensive coordinator, now it’s up to Mullen to make Florida a factor again after an off-year. But more than that, he and his Gators have to show that this isn’t going to be Georgia’s SEC East for the foreseeable future.
He’s got plenty of work to do with the offense that couldn’t seem to do anything consistently wonderful over the last few years under Jim McElwain, but he returns everyone on the line – even though this group has to be far better – and he has a decent backfield. He did more with less at times in Starkville.
But the real key will be the defensive talent across that board that he never enjoyed as MSU. Even in the Dak Prescott years, the D ranged from average to awful – and this Gator defense should be terrific.
A little more offense, one of the 15ish best defenses in the country, and look out SEC East.
The Gators have to play LSU – as always – from the West, but at least that’s in Gainesville. There’s no Alabama or Auburn from the other division, and going Mississippi State – while dangerous – can’t be the barrier to a great year.
The non-conference slate is Charleston Southern, Colorado State, Idaho and Florida State. The Noles game is on the road, but that’s going to be life at Florida for Mullen now.
There’s a week off before dealing with Georgia – but the Dawgs get time off, too – and a late run of home games against Missouri, South Carolina, and Idaho will be a big, big help before going to FSU.
The only SEC road games are against Tennessee, Miss State and Vanderbilt.
Beat Georgia, and then Florida might just make it three trips to the SEC title in four years.
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