It's not always the Big Ten. Once in a great while a MAC team is going to find its way in SEC country. It's not something you to for a win. It's something you do for money. The game is played on their terms, their convenience. The only time Florida has ever lost to a MAC school was Miami in 1973 and that was the Tangerine Bowl. They had to play the MAC champs.
Florida brought in a team they know they can handle. They're not particularly fast, a couple of speed players here and there, and their number of returning starters is a bit daunting, but Florida's depth can handle all of that. The only reason I predicted an upset is because I want to see it happen. I can't back the guess with much more than that.
Before I get to deep into this, let's talk about this "Florida," this little known team from the Southeastern Conference. The best place to go is straight to the experts, so I asked Andy Hutchins, maestro at Alligator Army to give us some background on their fans' perspectives of the matchup:
So the Gators are going with a different quarterback each quarter, then re-assessing at halftime. What's the likelihood they stick to that plan, and does this make the game close at least for the first 30 minutes?
I think that plan sticks, though I also think both quarterbacks play in the second half, one getting extra time in mop-up duty. I don't think Florida's going to be up 35-3 at halftime while playing Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel, but I do think that Bowling Green is going to struggle mightily to score points on this Gators defense.
Preseason rankings mean little, especially when getting in to the 20-25 territory when it's usually name recognition. I am guessing fans of a team like UF look at #23 and just kind of gloss over it?
The best thing about being ranked No. 23 is that Florida fans actually remember that Auburn went from No. 23 to the title in 2010. (We also remember that CAM NEWTON WAS OURS, DAMMIT.) There's hope to be gleaned from it, sure, but it's not much better than being unranked and not something anyone brags about.
I'm intrigued by the game but am not expecting a victory. Given that, how concerned are you that this game either (a) goes in favor of the Falcons, or (b), becomes a close victory a la Utah State-Auburn?
a. I am maybe 1 percent concerned that Florida loses this game. Florida doesn't schedule cupcakes with rocks inside them because Jeremy Foley knows everything and Bernie Machen is a dentist.
b. Auburn's 2011 defense is not in the same realm as Florida's 2012 defense (...or Florida's 2011 defense, really), and I don't think Bowling Green has the "Chuckie Keeton saves the world!" quotient the Aggies did.
Better name for this game: "Scorned By Urban Meyer Classic", "Clash of The Swamps", or something off the table?
Formerly Urban White Flight Fight.
And that, guys, is Florida. Not really worried. And I don't blame them. You can't fret over outrageous outcomes, which is what would require a Bowling Green victory. UF is going to take care of their own business and they'll win by two touchdowns, easily.
So basically the game results in what you want to see out of anyone with 18 returning starters in Week 1: development from last year. It's Matt Schilz's third year starting, and his fourth studying the Clawfense. Anthon Samuel gets his second season in the backfield, and it hurts that Jordan Hopgood is suspended for the game. The offensive line is probably going to start two redshirt freshmen and a juco transfer despite only losing one starter. The wide receivers are also fairly new, but this is more on Schilz to get them passes they're able to reach.
The defense might be more intriguing. How many plays can Dwayne Woods and Chris Jones make? What mnore can Booboo Gates do in the secondary (he's moving from rover to stud safety)? It might be hard to gauge that against a team with speed and size like Florida, but the hope is to find stuff that gives me less angst that they can handle Idaho easily next week.
Also: Gator fans.