Again, I'm going to run the predictions for each game this year — yeah, they're back — in the Game Thread for each game.
Here are my 25 predictions for Florida's real opener against Eastern Michigan (4 p.m., SEC Network), many of which will seem familiar.
- Florida will receive the ball to begin the game.
- Florida will score in the first quarter.
- Florida will lead by double digits in the first quarter.
- Jeff Driskel will take every snap at QB for Florida in the first quarter.
- Treon Harris will take more than five snaps at QB for Florida in the second quarter.
- A Florida QB will throw at least one interception.
- Kelvin Taylor will be Florida's leading rusher.
- Taylor will not have Florida's longest run of the day.
- At least five Florida players will have carries for positive yardage.
- Quinton Dunbar will finally make a touchdown catch. (Yep. Still. Screw it.)
- Gators receivers will combine for more than 10 catches.
- A Florida tight end will make a catch. (A holdover, this one.)
- Florida will score more than 40 points.
- Florida's defense will allow under 4.2 yards per play.
- Florida's defensive line will have at least three sacks.
- Florida will allow fewer than five plays of more than 20 yards.
- Michael Taylor will lead Florida in tackles.
- Vernon Hargreaves III will not record an interception.
- Florida will force at least one fumble.
- Florida will make a big play on special teams.
- Florida will outgain Eastern Michigan by at least 200 yards.
- Florida will not win by shutout.
- Florida will win.
- There will be at least one weather delay.
- We'll still have a few things to complain about.
Just like last week, though, this game leaves me verklempt.
There's one important similarity, however, to what I wrote last week:
But: It's Idaho. And Idaho might just be the worst team Florida plays in 2014, even worse than fellow FBS cellar-dweller Eastern Michigan, and FCS team Eastern Kentucky, which will at least have three months to find an identity before coming to Gainesville. And Idaho doesn't have an option as massively troublesome as Georgia Southern's triple-option — which nearly tripped up N.C. State today — to flummox Florida's defense, nor is Florida's defense nearly as battered as it was late last year.
With Idaho off Florida's schedule, Eastern Michigan could very well be the worst team the Gators see.
EMU's been worse in recent history than Idaho. The Eagles went 11-46 under former coach Ron English, a staggering display of sustained incompetence, and though new head coach Chris Creighton got a win in his Eagles' first game of 2014 against Morgan State last Saturday, it was a win by a single touchdown over a MEAC representative, and the Eagles needed a lot of help from their special teams to get it.
This team shouldn't trouble Florida, either, because Florida at full strength is so much more talented than a bad MAC team that it's not particularly funny.
But Florida is playing its first game of the season. But it might rain again. But we don't know how the offense is going to look, not for sure. But we can't be sure that Florida's young defense will be as disciplined as Will Muschamp defenses have proven to be, again and again.
The buts seem to matter more now.
The good news is that there's an and that is more important one: And no matter what happens today, it seems impossible that Florida is not going to play some football.