This week, Dan Mullen and his Gators get needed rest. Come the following weekend, Florida plays what may be its biggest game against Georgia in years.
While this isn’t the first top-ten game between the two rivals–it happened last year as well–this game is more crucial in deciding the SEC East, the SEC and the College Football Playoff.
The last two weeks have greatly changed the outlook of the SEC East. Instead of Georgia running away with it for the third consecutive year, Florida has a shot at the SEC Championship. A healthy team will give the Gators a boost.
Head coach Dan Mullen said that a key to success for the Gators is to get the team healthy and build chemistry.
Mullen added that a “next-guy-up” mentality has allowed the Gators to stay competitive despite the injuries.
Fortunately for the Gators, the usual starters will be back for Florida-Georgia. Mullen reported on Oct. 22 that wide Receiver Kadarius Toney, linebacker Jonathan Greenard and defensive lineman Jabari Zuniga will be back for the game.
This will be the first time since 2016 that Florida will be ranked higher than Georgia when the two teams faced off. That was also Florida’s most recent win against the Bulldogs.
The winner of this game stays in playoff race. Plain and simple. Both Florida and Georgia are already one-loss teams. With the top six in the AP Poll still undefeated and a number of other one-loss teams still in the hunt, there are few hopes or prayers for a two-loss team.
According to the ESPN Power Index, despite Florida being the higher ranked team, the Bulldogs have a 61.5 percent chance to be that one-loss team after Nov. 2.
Both teams have the weekend off. But next week, for all intents and purposes, its playoff game part one. If Florida emerges as the victor in Jacksonville, they may just clinch their ticket to Atlanta.