Questions or comments? E-mail
me Cecil C
For the sake of full disclosure, I'll tell you I'm a Florida alum and fan. There's no getting around it.
For those of you still reading, I applaud you. Perhaps you, like me, are bigger fans of your conference than your school as I and Chris Milam are (http://cfn.scout.com/2/766813.html). But that doesn't change the fact that Florida will win the SEC and represent the best dang conference in the land in the annual rite of passage, beating Ohio State.
The Florida Five
1. The Offensive Line Phil Trautwein, the dude doing the blocking the picture, is back. Why is that important? Traut (pronounced like the fish) was arguably the Gators most heralded player coming into last season.
Remember, this was when Tebow couldn't pass, Harvin couldn't stay healthy and the defense was terrible...which ended up being pretty accurate.
The big ole left tackle started every game in 2006 and was preseason All-SEC for 2007 (http://cfn.scout.com/2/661628.html) if you believe that Pete Fiutak guy...which you should...before a stress fracture sidelined him for the year.
A medical redshirt brings him back this year to anchor a line that lost one starter and kept the contact-prone Tim Tebow on his feet while he was in the pocket.
2. A Favorable Schedule This one's easy. No Auburn (automatic loss for the Gators), no Alabama (I wouldn't want to mess with Saban this year), the SEC West road trip is Arkansas (usually those are guaranteed losses for Florida, but I think Arky is manageable), LSU at home, bye week before traveling to Tennessee.
Further, Georgia's schedule...well...sucks. Bama, LSU and Auburn in the same season and no bye week before Florida this year (you think Mark Richt came up with the World's Most Reasonably Sized Cocktail Party stunt in a regular week?). It's possible the Dawgs could win in Jacksonville and still lose the conference with that tough go.
3. Chris Rainey The man whom it is "good to be" (http://www.everydayshouldbesaturday.com/2006/12/06/its-good-being-chris-rainey/) and a connoisseur of "white girl[s]" (http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2007/08/25/chris-rainey-likes-white-chicks/) is flat-out fast. He lit up the Spring game to the tune of 140 total yards and two scores.
Imagine this: Tebow in shotgun, Percy Harvin to his left, Chris Rainey to his right, and they run the triple option. D-coordinators...man...best of luck.
4. They have to have at least mediocre defense...right? Florida's defense was bad last year. B-A-D bad. Last in the SEC in pass defense, eighth in opponents first downs, eighth in opponent's fourth down conversions (right, Les?), ninth in red zone defense, tenth in opponent's third down success rate...you get the idea.
The defense only lost Derrick Harvey (which hurt), Tony Joiner (which means they'll have to get their own cars out of the tow lot) and...that's it. The defense HAS to get better. It just has to. Factor in the crown jewel of the recruiting class in steel-eating DT Omar Hunter, the defense has to be at least average.
Think about all (Auburn) those (Georgia) close (LSU) games Florida lost last year. Would an average defense have been able to stop LSU even on one fourth down? How about containing Knowshon or stopping Stafford? The Auburn game was more an offensive problem, but still.
So that's it, folks. Those are the four big reasons Florida will win the SEC.
Oh, and they have the best quarterback college football has seen in years. That, too.