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2019 SEC Football Preview: Florida Gators

2019 SEC Football Preview: Florida Gators

2018 Recap

2019 SEC Football Preview: Florida Gators
2018 Schedule

2018 Record: 10-3 (5-3)

3rd in the East

Dan Mullen’s first year after the jump to Florida was everything Gator fans wanted and more. Huge wins at No.23 Mississippi State followed by a huge win against then No.5 LSU highlighted a terrific regular season.

2019 SEC Football Preview: Florida Gators
After missing the postseason in 2017, the Gators stormed back in a dominating performance against Michigan. (Photo courtesy of alligatorarmy.com).

Hiccups against Missouri and again against a great Kentucky team were the only lows on the first 10-win season in Gainesville since 2015.

The season was capped off with a dominant performance against No.7 Michigan in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. The offense clicked all night and Michigan couldn’t stop the running game. Fourth-round pick Chauncey Gardner-Johnson picked off Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson twice, taking one to the house.

 

2019 Schedule Breakdown

2019 SEC Football Schedule: Florida Gators
2019 Schedule

Ceiling: 11-1 (7-1)

Floor: 8-4 (4-4)

2019 Projected Record: 9-3 (5-3)

Conference Standings: 3rd in the SEC East

  • Week 1 Miami*: W
  • BYE
  • Week 3 UT Martin: W
  • Week 4 @ Kentucky: W
  • Week 5 Tennessee: W
  • Week 6 Towson: W
  • Week 7 Auburn: W
  • Week 8 @ LSU: W
  • Week 9 @ South Carolina: L
  • BYE
  • Week 11 Georgia: L
  • Week 12 Vanderbilt: W
  • Week 13 @ Missouri: L
  • BYE
  • Week 15 Florida State: W

*denotes neutral site game

The 2019 season should start out with a bang for the Gators. Miami shouldn’t pose much of a threat and the string of the following five games shouldn’t be much of a challenge. The first big challenge will come in Baton Rouge where the Gators were able to steal a win back in 2016.

The following weekend at South Carolina may be too much after a grueling matchup in Death Valley. Another huge game at home against Georgia may go the Gators way after coming off a bye the week before.

The season finishes up with a winnable game in Columbia and then another opportunity to trounce in-state rival Florida State. Florida should have a big year despite the off-season turmoil.

2019 Outlook

Feleipe Franks Emerges as One of SEC’s top QB’s

Yes, the SEC is top heavy in quarterback play entering the season which may be why Feleipe Franks is one of the top names. But that shouldn’t take away from what he’s accomplished in his first two seasons at Florida.

Franks has the fourth-highest QB rating among returning SEC quarterbacks. In his sophomore season he threw 24 TDs to just six interceptions. He’s a mobile threat as well, tied for the most touchdowns on the ground for returning starters. He will be a major asset in the season opener against Miami.

2019 SEC Football Preview: Florida Gators
Feleipe Franks already has 3,895 passing yards and 33 touchdowns entering his third season as the starting quarterback. (Photo courtesy of tampabay.com).
Defense Continues to Grow

A defense that struggled mightily in 2017 showed flashes of maturity and consistency in Dan Mullen’s first year.

The Gators defense ranked in the top tier of SEC defenses in most categories, and also ranked in the top 25 nationally in sacks, pass efficiency defense and total defense. Their 26 turnovers ranked seventh in the nation.

A run defense that finished 65th nationally last year only has room for improvement in 2019. All-SEC veteran David Reese is back for his senior season and will be the anchor for the linebacking core.

Amari Burney has been turning heads in the offseason and should be another reason for optimism. The sophomore brings excellent form tackling as well as the ability to provide pass coverage with the league’s best.

He’ll be helped in the secondary by one of the top cornerbacks in the SEC, if not the country. C.J. Henderson caps off a terrific secondary coming off a 2018 season in which he led the SEC in forced incompletions (12). The secondary as a whole will be a terror for opposing quarterbacks.

Recap

2019 should be another great season for Florida. Dan Mullen has recruited a high rate and kept the defense as one of the top units in the SEC. Franks has plenty of experience and has already shown signs of greatness on the offensive side.

A 9-3 season is perfectly reasonable to expect and with a win in the bowl game, Florida could see another double-digit win season.

 

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