2020 Football Preview – SEC – Gators
Looking for 2020 Florida Gators predictions? Continued growth under third-year head coach Dan Mullen brings Florida its best chance to solve UGA in 2020. While UF claims consecutive New Year’s Six bowl wins, and a 21-5 record since 2018, Georgia has added two of those five losses, erasing Florida’s larger plans.
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2020-21 College Football Preview – Florida Gators
Head Coach: Dan Mullen
2019 Record: 11-2
Florida Gators 2021 CFB Playoff Odds: +1400
Florida 2020 Win Total Odds: 10
Gators 2020 SEC Odds: +500
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In a rivalry burning through SEC country, debate sparks concerning UF’s odds of finally lifting the Eastern crown from Georgia. While favorable scheduling gives Florida slight momentum entering Halloween’s Jacksonville showcase, Jake Fromm’s absence might be the game’s deciding factor.
Last year, Fromm cooly dissected the Gators’ defense, earning UGA victory 24-17 while solidifying his draft entry.
A border war veteran, Kyle Trask realizes late October success vs. the re-made, reloaded Dawgs equals the next major step under Mullen.
Obviously, the lede dove right in to Florida’s biggest fall matchup; though Trask’s evolution is another key storyline.
When Feleipe Franks’ 2019 ended vs. Kentucky, Trask rose, adding 25 touchdowns and 2,951 passing yards. Minus the redshirt junior’s poise, Florida wouldn’t have become a balanced national power ranked sixth in the final AP poll. Last season UF dealt 33.2 ppg (#29 FBS) & allowed 15.5 (#7).
This spring, Florida again rosters two capable signal callers as redshirt sophomore Emory Jones poses dual threat. Last season, Jones completed five of six vs. FSU: including a scoring strike and 33 rushing yards. Should Trask slip or face injury, his backup is ready to lead another top UF offense.
That offense includes downfield weapons Kyle Pitts and Trevon Grimes. Several incoming recruits and returnees join the Gators’ headline duo to form reliable targets for Trask’s accurate (66.9% completion) arm.
With six offensive starters returning at key spots, Florida’s biggest loss came when leading rusher Lamical Perine exhausted eligibility. To fill the void, oft-injured five-star tailback Lorenzo Lingard came in from Miami. If Lingard realizes his promise, several options suddenly open for Mullen’s men. It’s worth noting another five-star transfer, WR Justin Shorter, joins UF’s mix.
Florida used the ever-expanding portal to address additional needs by adding touted former Bulldog LB Brenton Cox. Cox joins the SEC’s #6 ranked recruiting class, featuring blue chip DT Gervon Dexter, and a cache of four-star pieces.
2020 Florida Gators Predictions: Team Strengths: Quarterback and coaching stability, Schedule
The two biggest preseason assets for any college football roster include a productive, experienced quarterback and successful head coach. Florida checks each box. Further, UF returns solid offensive linemen to give needed assurance among SEC play.
Behind a tested line, Trask should find downfield targets while lead rushing emerges. Backs Dameon Pierce, Lingard and Malik Davis stand ready. While Lingard and Davis have flashed promise when healthy, they’ve spent several hours on the training table —and watching from the sideline.
This creates prime opportunity for rising junior Pierce to expand upon his 5.6 yard per carry, four touchdown 2019. If recovered, Lingard can build tandem success with Pierce.
Though, perhaps Florida’s schedule, highlighted below, is the group’s biggest strength.
2020 Florida Gators Predictions: Team Weaknesses: Roster Turnover and social distancing
Much like benchmark division rival Georgia, Florida needed spring practice as much as any playoff contender to mesh new parts with old hands. However, as of this writing no timetable is set for UF camp to open. The program will instead hold a virtual spring game.
That stated, returning 50 percent starting production from an 11-win team is a glass half full, half empty scenario. Each returning starter has pedigree and figures to improve this year. However, outside stud transfer Cox, major questions surround UF’s talented-but-unproven key additions.
Former five-star HS recruits Lingard and Shorter must produce at the skill positions to keep defenses honest as traditional pocket passer Trask lacks mobility. If opposing rushes aren’t stuffed, green signal caller Jones might find extra snaps.
Involving Jones could be wildly successful or equally frustrating.
Most likely, flanked by hard-nosed defense and tactful offense, Florida’s emerging reserves and newcomers will hold pace in conference action. The Gators lose top defenders Jabari Zuniga, David Reese and Jeawon Taylor, but reload with potential NFL talents Shawn Davis and Cox, among others.
2020 Florida Gators Schedule
- Sept. 5: vs. Eastern Washington Eagles (Gainesville, Fla.)
- Sept. 12: vs. Kentucky Wildcats (Gainesville, Fla.)
- Sept. 19: vs. South Alabama Jaguars (Gainesville, Fla.)
- Sept. 26: at Tennessee Volunteers (Knoxville, Tenn.)
- Oct. 3: vs. South Carolina Gamecocks (Gainesville, Fla.)
- Oct. 10: vs. LSU Tigers (Gainesville, Fla.)
- Oct. 17: at Ole Miss Rebels (Oxford, Miss.)
- Oct. 31: vs. Georgia Bulldogs (Jacksonville, Fla.)
- Nov. 7: at Vanderbilt Commodores (Nashville, Tenn.)
- Nov. 14: vs. Missouri Tigers (Gainesville, Fla.)
- Nov. 21: vs. New Mexico State Aggies (Gainesville, Fla.)
- Nov. 28: at Florida State Seminoles (Tallahassee, Fla.)
Florida Gators Prediction: 1st in the SEC East and 10-2 Overall (Bet Now at any of our Reviewed Online Sportsbooks!)
Facing just two elite 2020 opponents, this season presents UF’s best shot to capture SEC East glory. While national champ LSU will derail Florida, expect Trask to enhance his fringe NFL stock by adding a Fromm-like Jacksonville performance vs. Georgia.
As the Gators edge UGA, look for a late non-conference slip from Florida vs. FSU. Tennessee will also push visiting Florida. Still, another 10-plus win season under Trask will culminate in an SEC title game appearance while UF & UGA flip flop in the standings. After just missing a national playoff appearance, the Gators end 2020 among college football’s top-five programs.
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