(Note: This discussion occurred before the bar fight at LSU. Please take that into account)
Last time we got together, we talked about how we thought John Brantley and the rest of the offense would perform under new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. In this installment, we are going to talk about the October schedule the Gators will be facing this year.
During the month of October this year, the Gators have games at home against Alabama, on the road against LSU and Auburn, and against Georgia in Jacksonville. That's a brutal month: the defending champs, two teams ranked in the top five nationally, and one of Florida's hated rivals. The only break the Gators catch in the month of October is the bye week, which occurs between the Auburn and Georgia games.
Question No. 2: Much has been made of Florida's schedule in October. How do you think the Gators will fare?
skigator93: I'm thinking 2-2 for October. I predict the Gators will lose to Alabama and LSU and beat Auburn and UGA. I think all but the 'Bama game will be close.
BKGator: October is a brutal month, obviously. I say the Gators come out of the month 2-2, with a decent possibility of 3-1. Auburn lost a TON of talent, but the game is at Auburn and I don't think we've beaten Auburn in over a decade. The LSU game is a definite loss to me. Stacked team in Death Valley = no chance for the Gators. Alabama at home is an intriguing game. Alabama's just as stacked, but they have a new quarterback at the helm. I think Florida wins this game. Just a gut feeling. And finally, Georgia. The Gators win this game. They're more talented and it's almost a tradition now. That game might be the final straw for Richt in Athens. The Gators have a chance to make some noise in October and really shake up the SEC and BCS races. Hopefully they will.
swampchomp7: Much has indeed been made of the October gauntlet, but I think it's a result of this team presumably not being as good as previous ones. October 2006, though it featured only three games, was no cakewalk: LSU, at Auburn (aka Chris Leak in: DERP! The Movie), and the WLOCP, yet Florida went 2-1 en route to the national title. 2008 brought Arkansas in Fayetteville, LSU, and UK (WLOCP snuck onto Nov. 1, but c’mon, we’ll bring it in), and Florida ran the table in those games.
This year's slate has four games, though their difficulty is still TBD. It looks daunting now, but for two or three of the opponents (excluding Bama), actual difficulty won’t be known for some time. LSU could be excellent, or it could continue to be the greatest concentration of wasted talent in the country. Auburn is still very much an unknown: we know generally what their offense will look like, but how much it pales in comparison to last year’s version remains to be seen (to my knowledge, AU hasn’t even named a starting quarterback yet). Aw-buhn could go 7-5 or 10-2, or somewhere in between, if their young backs begin resembling another Cadillac Williams-Ronnie Brown tandem.
Most puzzling is Georgia. A number of publications (including His Excellency Phil Steele's magazine) are picking UGA to win the SEC East. Granted, many of these went to press before the Dawgs were reduced to only touted freshman Isaiah Crowell (who, like every UGA RB recruit, is the next Herschel), but I still am not sure if UGA will be a terribly difficult game. I'm not predicting a Gator stomping or anything, but like with Auburn, I believe that we can’t really know right now how tough the Cocktail Party will be.
All that said, I think a 2-2 split is reasonable, 3-1 possible — the one, of course, being 'Bama. That game is five outings into the installation of a new coach/offense for Florida, and that isn’t enough time for it to jell sufficiently). With the aforementioned caveats regarding difficulty, I see us beating Georgia and then beating either LSU or Auburn, potentially both. As usual, that week off before UGA will pay dividends.
Andy Hutchins: My hope is 2-2, with wins over Auburn and Georgia and a scare that puts the fear of God in Alabama. My head says Florida will go 1-3: as usual, we will find a way to succumb to the Auburn voodoo at Jordan-Hare, and Florida will get walloped by Alabama and LSU teams that are just older and deeper than this young Gators squad.
Hook85: If Brantley can live up to the hype of being a great pro-style QB, I think 2-2 for October is very reasonable, with wins over Auburn and Georgia. Although I still hold a little bit of hope that Charlie Weis will work his magic and turn Brantley into Tom Brady Jr. Imagine Tom Brady as the Gators' starting QB, utilizing all the weapons like Demps and Rainey or the million other blue chip players on offense.
In that case, October might see the Gators go 4-0. But that’s one huge if.
FlaGators: I think they'll go 2-2, with wins against Auburn and Georgia. Since I've been alive, the Gators have lost to UGA like seven times. It has almost (okay, it has) gotten to the point in which I pretty much write that game in as a win before the season even starts. I think they'll lose to 'Bama and LSU. LSU is tricky, though. I'm not as high on them as most people, but Les Miles seems to always have luck on his side. Must be something they're putting in the fertilizer down there in Baton Rouge. I think if everything goes right, and they catch a break or two (or three), the Gators could go 3-1. But that is if only good things happen.