13-1, 7-6 ATS, 1st Place in SEC East
Odds to Win 2010 BCS Championship: +600
Odds to Win 7/5
at 5Dimes Sportsbook
Florida is looking for a return to the BCS in 2010, even without the services of Tim Tebow. Coach Urban Meyer’s squad has plenty of talent to not only maintain a college football dynasty, but to avenge the loss to Alabama that cost the Gators a spot in the BCS title game.
Offensive Outlook: Tim Tebow threw for 2,895 yards and 21 scores, while rushing for another 910 yards and 14 touchdowns. Filling the massive Tebow vacancy will be junior John Brantley. In his limited action last year, he provided us all with a glimpse into his talent by completing 36 of 48 passes for 410 yards, seven touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Leading wide receiver Riley Cooper also graduated. The Gator offense used the tight end position numerous times last year, but Aaron Hernandez left school early, leaving a huge void. Expect Deonte Thompson to see more balls thrown his way. Thompson split time as the third favorite target with David Nelson and Brandon James, both of whom graduated. Jeffrey Demps and Chris Rainey will fill the gap at running back. Demps averaged 7.5 yards on 99 carries, while Rainey averaged 6.5 yards on 89 attempts.
Defensive Outlook: Will the Gators be able to reload on defense as well? Last year, they gave up just 253.2 yards per game, ranking them fourth in the nation. They surrendered an average of 152.8 yards through the air, second only to Air Force. Opponents were held to 100.2 rushing yards per game. The losses of DE Carlos Dunlap, LB Brandon Spikes, and DB Joe Haden are going to be difficult to replace.
The Final Word: Florida is back and while it may be ever so slightly less powerful without Tebow, it should cruise through most of their SEC schedule. However, the team’s BCS hopes may be shaped early on, as we will see the Gators and the Crimson Tide face off on the first Saturday of October. If Florida can win this one, expect a rematch in the SEC Championship game for a spot in the BCS title game. No other team can stand in its way.
2010 Florida Gators Prediction: 11-1, 1st place in SEC East
2010 Florida Gators Schedule
9/4 Miami (OH)
9/11 South Florida
9/18 @ Tennessee
10/2 @ Alabama
10/16 Mississippi State
10/30 vs. Georgia (N)
11/13 South Carolina
11/20 Appalachian State
11/27 @ Florida State