As part of the gorgeous and expansive SB Nation preview of the year in college football, overlord/editorial director Spencer Hall also previewed every SEC game. You know Spencer from EDSBS, of course, but many would also note that he is one of the most publicly pessimistic Florida fans on the Internet, a status that probably has something to do with being in attendance for Florida-Missouri last fall.
His preview is funny. It is not always factual. So I'm annotating it, because the best part of any joke is the facts that undergird it. (I think?)
New Mexico State at Florida. The collected dust inside the "5" on the Florida scoreboard's 10s column might ignite and burn the stadium to its foundations.
Florida scored 50 points in both its first and last games at The Swamp last season. It should really score 50 against New Mexico State, which gave up 60+ twice (and an average of 39.1 points per game) last year, but the last Florida coach whose team scored more than 50 points in his first game was Ron Zook.
East Carolina at Florida. Not a typo: ECU has to go to the backwater of Gainesville just to get a semi-respectable out-of-conference game.
East Carolina has played at least one of North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, or West Virginia in every season since 1970, despite never sharing a conference with any of them.
Florida at Kentucky. UK warms up with a light scrimmage before the meat of its SEC schedule.
Kentucky's last win over Florida, in a series that has been annual since 1968, came in 1986. My parents were not yet married. (Florida is 43-5 against Kentucky since 1968.)
Tennessee at Florida. This rivalry provides more proof the '90s have aged badly. The Matchbox 20 of rivalry games. No: THE HOOBASTANK OF RIVALRY GAMES, because that pushes up to the last time the Vols won. (They'll probably win this year. Nü metal is BACK.)
Hoobastank's "The Reason," both the band's biggest single ever and the absolute furthest thing from metal, peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 2004. Ciara's "Goodies" was No. 1 on the day Tennessee last beat Florida; Ciara was 18 then, and was still about a year away from dating Bow Wow. Russell Wilson was 15, and still almost two years away from committing to North Carolina State.
Ole Miss at Florida. Just count Florida as a Sun Belt team. It'll bmake the occasional shocking victory so much better and the losses so much more explicable.
Florida's last game against a current Sun Belt team was, of course, against Georgia Southern. Mississippi's last was a 56-15 win over Louisiana in 2014.
Florida at Missouri. Someone had to replace Kansas on Missouri's schedule.
Missouri is 3-0 in its last three games against Kansas, but just 2-1 in its three all-time games against Florida. SUCK IT, KANSAS.
Florida at LSU. A breather for LSU before a challenging matchup with Western Kentucky.
LSU's last loss to a non-conference opponent in a regular season game was in 2002. LSU's last loss to Florida was in 2012, and should probably have been in 2014, except for...
Colby Delahoussaye hit a 50-yard field goal with three seconds remaining — after officials called a timeout that gave LSU 10 seconds to spike the ball and stop the clock, after a tipped pass by Jeff Driskel became an interception that gave LSU new life, after Florida forced a three-and-out to get a chance at a second game-winning drive, after Florida got a game-tying field goal on a drive keyed by an unfathomable Driskel bomb to Demarcus Robinson and submarined by a stunning drop in the end zone by Tevin Westbrook, after LSU converted a third and 25 on a 41-yard pass (with a personal foul against Florida tacked on for good measure) and scored a go-ahead touchdown on an absurd one-handed catch, and after Florida turned an incredible Andre Debose punt return into a touchdown on a great Driskel throw to Robinson, all in the last 10 minutes of play — to give LSU the 30-27 win.
The only Florida player from that paragraph on the 2015 roster is Robinson. Yay!
Florida at Georgia. Nah.
Four of the last five Florida-Georgia games have been objectively thrilling games, decided by eight or fewer points. They have featured a rally from a 23-0 deficit to shave a game to a field goal, a fumble on the goal line by a vaulting player late in the fourth quarter of a game between top-10 teams, a one-legged quarterback playing as gamely as he could in a doomed effort, and the first overtime game in the annual rivalry nearly being decided by an interception return for a touchdown, then being decided by a punter making a field goal.
The fifth? Florida's jaw-dropping 38-20 win last fall.
Vanderbilt at Florida. Finally, some schedule relief for poor Vandy.
Despite five different quarterbacks throwing the most passes for Florida against Vanderbilt in the last five years (in order: Jordan Reed, John Brantley, Jeff Driskel, Tyler Murphy, Treon Harris), the Commodores have one win over the Gators in that stretch — and Florida is 22-1 against Vandy since the series became an annual one in 1992.
Florida at South Carolina. "Well, Jim, if you wanted to follow an idiot and wind up in a mess in a swamp, you could have just gotten elected to Congress. Little political humor for ya. Good luck, buddy."
McElwain's Alabama offenses scored just 20 and 21 points in meetings against South Carolina in 2009 and 2010. Didn't really matter in 2009, as the Crimson Tide became the first SEC team to go undefeated since Auburn in 2004, and Ellis Johnson, the defensive coordinator responsible for those games from Carolina's perspective, is now out of football, but, hey, you may now know more about factors influencing the game than a Steve Spurrier impression taught you!
FAU at Florida. Buried deep within FAU's coaching staff, we find the future head coach of the Jets, Rams, or some other pro team that just needs to hire someone with a name that sort of sounds right.
(Don't act like the Dolphins wouldn't do it.)
Dan Shula is Don's grandson and David's son. (And the Dolphins would.)
FSU at Florida. "Hey Jim, it's Steve. Too bad you got to play 'em in football at home. Be better if it were basketball and on the road, since they don't ever draw charges in Tallahassee."
About that "be better" bit:
(Spencer can be forgiven for not really remembering that. He pays very little attention to Florida basketball.)
Someone's trying to talk Florida basketball to me right now, GTFO— OLIVER 3STACKS (@edsbs) December 31, 2014