Florida and Michigan will ring in 2016 with one of the year's first college football games, meeting at 1 p.m. Eastern in the 2016 Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. The game will be broadcast live on ABC and online via WatchESPN. Live radio is also available via ESPNRadio.com or TuneIn.
Here's what to watch for as the Gators take on the Wolverines.
Treon, and the truth
Florida quarterback Treon Harris has spent just more than a month playing at the same level Jeff Driskel did in 2014 before being benched for Harris. But Harris has retained his starting job, largely because the options behind him are so significantly lesser-regarded than Harris was as a true freshman, and he will almost assuredly throw most of Florida's passes against the Wolverines.
That's probably not a good thing. Harris has completed better than 50 percent of his passes just four times in 14 career starts for Florida, and has only completed more than 55 percent of his passes when attempting more than 20 of them once. Furthermore, Michigan is just another great pass defense he's tasked with solving: Florida State and Alabama each rank in the top five nationally in Passing Downs S&P+, but Michigan's not far behind at No. 11.
If Harris is going to get Florida a win in this game, it will likely require either a bucking of trends related to his passing, signficant use of his talents as a runner, or the sort of mistake-free performance that makes a virtuosic outing from his defense stand up.
Farewell to VH3
Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida's most ballyhooed player, has already indicated his intentions to enter the 2016 NFL Draft, where he's a mortal lock to be a first-round pick and a strong candidate to be chosen in the top 10. But he has one more game to play as a Gator, and a chance to make it a memorable one.
Hargreaves has yet to score a defensive touchdown in his three-year career, an odd quirk of how his picks have come far from the end zone and in circumstances that sometimes find him banged up. And nagging injuries this year scuttled a plan to use Hargreaves in a significant role on offense.
But Hargreaves should be close to fully healthy for this game, and will likely see some use as a kick returner in an effort to shake up Florida's most pedestrian special teams unit. If he can score six points to cap three sensational years, it will be a legendary ending to a superlative career.
Can the Gators rock Rudock?
Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock has largely been a steadying force for the Wolverines since transferring from Iowa to serve as Jim Harbaugh's first maize and blue signal-caller. He's thrown for 2,739 yards in 2015, and tossed 17 touchdowns against nine interceptions, fine numbers even if you don't realize six of those 17 touchdowns came in a shootout with Rutgers.
But part of the reason that Rudock's had success this year is that Michigan's kept him upright. The Wolverines have allowed just 18 sacks in 2015, tied for 31st nationally and down from 26 allowed in 12 games in the 2014 campaign that produced Brady Hoke's firing and Harbaugh's hiring.
Florida has 40 sacks in 2015, good for fifth nationally, and the Gators are undefeated when recording three or more sacks. When not taking down the QB thrice, Florida is just 2-3 — and the Gators' first loss came in a game at LSU when they recorded no sacks. Without leading pass rusher Alex McCalister, the Gators may be challenged to pressure Rudock, which could give him time to test their vaunted secondary.