The Florida Gators should — will, most likely — have little issue dispatching the Idaho Vandals this afternoon in The Swamp (noon, ESPNU or WatchESPN).
Idaho is bad. The Vandals’ four wins this year are over directional and “State” schools — North Dakota, Southern Utah, Portland State, and Division II Western New Mexico — and their lone outing against an FBS team ended in a 79-13 loss to Fresno State. When Idaho last met an SEC school at Missouri a year ago, the Tigers came away with a 68-21 win.
This could be Florida’s highest-scoring outing at home in quite a while.
But it is also Senior Day for the Gators, and an odd one. This is not a particularly decorated senior class: Martez Ivey and CeCe Jefferson, five-star prospects who have had solid but unspectacular careers, would not have been ticketed for a true Senior Day celebration back in 2015, when they signed with the Gators to much hoopla; R.J. Raymond, a walk-on tight end who has become a vocal leader for Florida, is arguably No. 3 on a list of seniors who are most important to this program in 2018.
It will be nice for Florida to see them off with a win, and perhaps a lopsided one.
But Florida fans would probably like to see the future on this Saturday, too.
Primarily, that would mean Emory Jones, the true freshman quarterback whose participation in this game would ace him out of playing in one of Florida’s regular-season finale against Florida State or the Gators’ bowl. But Florida has other freshmen — wide receiver Jacob Copeland, running back Iverson Clement, defensive ends Andrew Chatfield and Malik Langham — that would stand to benefit from getting live snaps against the Vandals and could still redshirt afterward, and Dan Mullen would do well to get them on the field and playing.
The outcome of this game, unless it’s an unexpectedly close one or — as would seem tremendously unlikely — a loss? It doesn’t matter as much as what Florida can do to teach and develop players in this contest.
Today, it’s Senior Day — and for Florida, it’s one about building toward bigger and better Senior Days in the future.