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Florida vs. Ole Miss, Game Thread: Gators begin uncertain season with championship dreams

Let’s go to 1-0.

Tennessee v Florida Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The Florida Gators finally begin their 2020 season this Saturday at Ole Miss (noon, ESPN or WatchESPN), and it’s not what anyone could have expected the start of their season to be.

This game is the first of a 10-game gauntlet pitting the Gators — and every other SEC team — against conference foes alone. It’s Florida’s first season opener against an SEC foe or on the road in decades. It sends the Gators to Oxford for the first time in 13 years to play against a coach whose SEC debut came 11 years ago against Florida — but who hasn’t been a head coach in the SEC since that season.

Florida is coached by Dan Mullen, renowned tutor of dynamic dual-threat quarterbacks, but the Rebels have both the most highly-touted and most athletic QB who will see the field Saturday — and they’re not the same person. The Rebels grew to loathe Mullen during his decade in Starkville as Mississippi State’s head coach — but next to no one who was around for the peak heat of the Egg Bowl rivalry still remains there, with Mullen’s staff all but imported to Gainesville and Ole Miss on its third head coach in four seasons.

Things are weird here, and in this year. They won’t get back to normal — true normal — for quite some time. And this Saturday’s only a shadow of that.

But the Gators can still go 1-0 today.

Here’s how we predict that happening.

  1. Florida will score first.
  2. At least two touchdowns will be scored in the first quarter.
  3. Kyle Trask will complete a pass to Kyle Pitts in the first quarter.
  4. Trask will complete a pass of at least 50 yards.
  5. Trask will throw for more than 225 yards.
  6. Florida will have multiple receivers make five or more catches.
  7. Dameon Pierce will lead Florida running backs in touches.
  8. Malik Davis will have at least eight touches.
  9. Florida will average better than four yards per carry.
  10. Emory Jones will have at least one rush of 10 or more yards.
  11. Florida’s offense will commit fewer than three turnovers.
  12. Florida’s defense will force a three-and-out in the first half.
  13. Florida will give up points in the first half.
  14. Ventrell Miller will lead Florida in tackles.
  15. Brenton Cox will record at least one sack.
  16. Florida will record at least three sacks.
  17. A Florida defensive back will record an interception.
  18. A Florida safety will record at least five tackles.
  19. Florida will not force more than four turnovers.
  20. Florida will have a positive turnover margin.
  21. Florida will have a return of at least 25 yards.
  22. Florida will score at least 35 points.
  23. Florida will allow at least 20 points.
  24. Florida will trail.
  25. Florida will defeat Ole Miss, 41-24, and begin its 2020 season 1-0.