Florida Gators: Are the Gators the Best Team in the SEC East?
- Updated: July 25, 2014
The Florida Gators seem to have fallen off the map since Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow packed up and left town. The Gators used to be the cream of the crop in the SEC and the favorites to win the national championship. Now the instate rival Florida State Seminoles have stolen their thunder and are the favorites to win it all.
Despite the snub, experts like Phil Steele have projected that the Gators have a shot to win the SEC East and that could give them a shot at the SEC title and a shot at the national championship.
It won’t be easy. The Gators will start the season with a head coach on the hot seat as Will Muschamp has a 22-16 record in three seasons with the Gators. That includes an 11-2 season in 2012 that, considering Florida’s limited offensive attack, should have looked something more like 9-4. So although he is getting some heat, he has done a remarkable job.
They have also excelled on defense, although it has gone unnoticed. They rank fifth among power conference teams in yards per play allowed and sixth in scoring defense a season ago. That is up there with good teams like the Alabama Crimson Tide and the aforementioned Seminoles. The real problem for this team has been on the other side of the ball.
When it comes to offense, the Gators have struggled mightily. The Gators are 90th in the Football Bowl Subdivision in sacks allowed, 97th in yards per game and in scoring, 100th in passing percentage and 103rd in third-down conversions. That is the true area that has to improve if they have any chance of making the playoffs and even sniffing a shot at the national championship.
The Gators also suffered from injuries which are impossible to control. The injury bug started biting in preseason camp when starting offensive tackle Chaz Green went down and continued throughout the season, victimizing the QB position, other offensive linemen, the team’s starting running back and a defensive lineman that literally changed the face of this team. Although this could easily happen again this season, if the Gators could remain healthy they could be a juggernaut.
The odds for the Florida Gators to win the SEC are 12 to 1 at most of the top rated online sportsbooks. Those odds may be too good to pass up for the college football bettor that is looking or value on a very good team. They are also at 3 to 1 to win the SEC East division and this could also easily cash in. South Carolina and Georgia are the only two teams legitimately standing in the way. If the Gators can surprise those two teams, this could be a banner year for the Florida Gators.