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Florida Football 100 For 100, No. 94: Why 9-4 Should Be The Gators' Bar

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Last year, we tried 50 For 50, and got halfway done before things cropped up. This year, Alligator Army is coming back with 100 For 100, with 100 articles in the 100 days leading up to the first Florida Gators football game of the 2012 season, and will run down storylines, profile players, examine history, and make some predictions, possibly all haphazardly. The only thing we can promise is that each day's entry will bring us all one step closer to "Herrrrrrrrre ... come the Gators!"

And maybe that you'll get a couple of these a day for the next week or so.

Florida's last two seasons are the worst of Allie Gator's life, and also well below the expectations set out for the Gators at the beginning of every fall. Gator Nation is, as a whole, a fan base that expects and demands excellence, and thus it is that every year begins with dreams of 10-win seasons, SEC titles, and BCS appearances.

That's all well and good, but it's not exactly fair, and it's part of why this year's Florida team should be judged on whether it can get to 9-4.

9-4 probably doesn't even include an appearance in the SEC Championship Game, and it almost certainly doesn't imply a BCS bowl berth. But 9-4 means that Florida didn't lose to LSU, Florida State, Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina; 9-4 means that there was probably a really good moment in a really good game (whether dramatic win or blowout of favored team) to hold dear in the offseason.

And 9-4 isn't 7-6 again, nor is it 8-5. It would show worthwhile, possibly dramatic progress in a season that is going to be rough in new ways and many of the old ways. It's worth hoping for because it would give us hope for more, and because it would be a little less unrealistic than 10-3 or 13-1, and because it's not as dismaying as the scraping to be over .500 that 7-6 implies.

9-4 isn't a goal. It's a bar. But it's one I hope these Gators reach ... and one I think they definitely can.