We're back yet again with our annual win shares here at Alligator Army, despite being more wrong than right the past couple of years. Way back in 2012, we were all under on our predictions by quite a few games and in 2013, well, the exact opposite occurred. What does this season hold? We'll begin to find out in about a month, but for now we can still have some fun.
In fairness though, nobody here or anywhere else for that matter could have predicted the struggles the Florida Gators were going to face in the 2013 season. So many injuries, including losing the heart and soul of the offense (Jeff Driskel) and defense (Dominique Easley) early on set the tone and the Gators were never really able to recover. And that isn't even really taking into account the fact that the Gators lost many back-ups and reserves to injuries and ended the season starting a quarterback who wouldn't have even sniffed a roster spot five years ago and a defense that could only rely on the secondary for any sort of good consistency.
Sub-par offensive line play, a disappointing pass rush, horrible tackling and poor skill position play that were all magnified by the aforementioned injuries sent the Gators on a path to a season that ended up being the worst season that many of us have ever seen.
But 2014 is a chance to begin anew.
As always though, the Gators' schedule is extremely difficult. After a relatively easy three homes games to begin the season, the Gators will head on the road for two straight difficult road games at Alabama and Tennessee. They are then back home for two tough home games before their annual tilt in Jacksonville with the Georgia Bulldogs. After that, games against Vanderbilt on the road and South Carolina at home should clear out the SEC East race before the usual match-up with an FCS team. In the final game of the season, it's all about the Florida State Seminoles led by Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jamies Winston.
So without further ado, here are my 2014 win shares:
So as you can see, I'm projecting the Gators to win six games, with seven wins very likely. That seems to be on par with other analysts around the country who all seem to have the Gators around seven wins as well.
With projected victories against Idaho, Eastern Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Eastern Kentucky, those six wins will be enough for the Gators to reach the postseason this year after missing out on it last year. Projected losses to Alabama, LSU, South Carolina and Florida State bring the record to 6-4 with toss-up games against Missouri and Georgia to decide the overall record.
My current win shares think the Gators will lose both of those toss-up games, but winning one of them is extremely more likely than losing both (and winning both, for that matter). So with rounding up, which helps out that whole peace of mind thing, I've got 7-5.
What do you have?