The Florida Gators have the same amount of hype going into the 2017 season as they did last season, very little. However, coming off a respectable (9-4) season including winning the SEC East for the second straight year, I don’t think the Gators really care about the little amount of attention that they are getting. With 15 starters returning for next year including only 6 on the defensive side, the Gators are hoping that their defense can remain as one of the best in the nation.
The Florida Gators were among one of the best defensive teams in college football last year, but with a “lackluster” offense, the Gators weren’t able to become one of the top teams in the league. However, with the possible transfer of Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire, the Gators offense could finally get that spark that Jim Mcelwain has been waiting for. In addition to Malik Zaire, the Gators have one of the most prolific wide receivers in college football in Antonio Callaway, making the Gators one of the best offenses in the SEC.
The Gators’ 2017 schedule is comparable to all of their past schedules, tricky but manageable. With only 3 “true” road games, the Gators will never be light on fans at their games this year, giving their young defense some help. Among the Gators toughest tests this season include the season opener against Michigan as well as the heated in-state rival Florida State. Add two pre-season top 15 teams in Georgia as well as LSU and the Gators arguably have one of the toughest schedules in college football.
Flip the calendar back a year and the Florida Gators are looking very similar to what they do today. They have a big question mark at the quarterback position again coupled with a young and inexperienced defense. However, as the Gators proved last year, even with a shaky quarterback, they can still compete with the best in the nation. Can this be the year that Mcelwain gets solid play from his quarterback in Malik Zaire and be able to make a legitimate push to Atlanta as well as the College Football Playoff?