The other night at the Gainesville Quarterback Club, I was asked about my over/under for the Gators this season.
Vegas has the Gators at 7 or 7.5, depending on where you want to place a bet. Me? I’d put it right there as well.
We don’t know enough about Billy Napier as an SEC head coach yet and the Anthony Richardson sample size is too small to really know if he’s going to be a first-round pick or a guy battling for his job in 2023.
I can see a path to 10-2. I can also see a path to 5-7. That’s what makes this an intriguing season.
Expectations have been lowered slightly, but all Florida has to do is win the first game and fans will start looking into SEC title game tickets.
With all of this in mind, the High Five brings you the five games Florida cannot lose this season. These are not must-win games. They are must-not-lose games. There’s a difference.
1. Eastern Washington
The fifth game of the year is a real quirk in this Gator schedule, but it is obviously a game Florida better not lose. You just can’t fall to an FCS team even if it has been in the playoffs three of the last four years.
2. South Florida
The Bulls will be better this year, but we saw the difference in talent a year ago and the game is in Gainesville. Losing to in-state programs needs to be a one-time aberration from last season.
The Tigers beat Florida in overtime in Columbia last season, which never should have happened. More importantly, this is a home conference game against an inferior team and the next three games are LSU, Georgia and Texas A&M. You need to start that stretch with some momentum.
Vandy is still Vandy and one would think the Gator fans will again take over the stadium in Nashville. The penultimate game of the regular season will probably be a cold one, but there are no excuses.
5. Florida State
Florida has taken command again and there is no reason to relinquish it. Friday night game, at Doak Campbell. It should be electric. Do not lose this game.