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Florida vs. Vanderbilt, Game Thread: Just win, Gators

Florida needs a win in the worst way. And Vanderbilt's coming to town. The Gators are going to have to take advantage of that — or Will Muschamp's going to be in some trouble.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Florida hasn't lost to Vanderbilt in my lifetime, nor that of most of its players. Florida hasn't lost to Vanderbilt since Galen Hall was coaching in Gainesville. Florida hasn't lost to Vanderbilt since George H. W. Bush was in office — as Ronald Reagan's vice president, and not the president-elect.

And Florida hasn't lost to Vanderbilt in Gainesville since the first game ever between the two teams — in October 1945, barely two months after the end of World War II.

Florida beats Vanderbilt at home and away, in close games and in blowouts, in the cold and at night and with tight ends throwing passes and quarterbacks topping Tim Tebow. Florida beats Vanderbilt, because that's just how it is, and how it has been, and seemingly how it will be.

This year feels different, of course. Florida is banged-up and "inept" on offense, and banged-up and backing up on defense, and has schizophrenic special teams thanks to young and untested kickers. Vanderbilt is decent, and occasionally good — it did beat Georgia, though the 'Dores dodged Todd Gurley — though it has a young quarterback at the helm, one who couldn't do much against a Texas A&M defense far, far less imposing than the Gators of recent vintage.

If there was ever a year for Vandy to get a win in this game, this would be it. Then again, if there was ever a year for Kentucky to get a win over Florida, this would've been it, too — and that didn't happen.

With a win over Vanderbilt, Will Muschamp stays in good shape to get 2014 as a chance to redeem himself, his players, and his program.

With a loss to Vanderbilt, the sky comes crashing down.

And so I ask this: Just win, Gators. Please, just win.

Go Gators.


Andy Hutchins is Alligator Army's managing editor. Follow Alligator Army on Twitter and Facebook.