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Florida Gators

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Florida hasn’t done anything great the last couple years yet it continues to find itself ahead of the rest in the SEC East. It wouldn't be too surprising if it happened for a third year running in 2017. The Gators will have one of the better defenses with an average offense and that may be all that’s needed.

The biggest news for the Gators out of the spring was that of Feliepe Franks looking like the future starting quarterback. While there’s still plenty of time to go with Kyle Trask still fighting and Luke Del Rio returning from a shoulder injury, Franks took the top spot. What that means remains to be seen because this offense has been bogged down by mediocre QB play for a couple seasons. Their goal was to become a run-heavy offense a year ago and that didn’t exactly work out with the team averaging 3.7 yards per carry. At the least, Jordan Scarlett (889 yards, 6 TDs), Lamical Perine (421 yards) and Mark Thompson (299 yards) all return to the mix. To go with that, top receiver Antonio Callaway (721 yards, 3 TDs) should once again see a ton of targets with Brandon Powell also there. The question falls on the offensive line to get things rolling and nothing is certain on that subject.

The defense lost a ton of talent, and while Jim McElwain brought plenty of guys in, this is still going to be an inexperienced group and a drop off is expected by most. After allowing 17.9 points per game in 2016, things could look a little different, meaning holding most of their East opponents to 10 points or less won’t be a regularity. Losing pieces at every level hurts with a lot of new faces on the front line and the back end still working itself out between guys like Chauncey Gardner and Duke Dawson expected starters. The front is full of guys with little experience starting with Antonneous Clayton and at linebacker in Jeremiah Moon and Vosean Joseph. Sure, those guys could be great, but they’ll need to be out of the gates.

Florida is expected to finish near the top of the standings per usual, but actually had the second-best odds in the spring behind Georgia and were +1000 (at 5Dimes Sportsbook) to win the conference. Their schedule isn’t great with Michigan in the opener followed by Tennessee in the SEC opener. At the least, the Gators only have three true road games this season, which is fairly incredible. That will help, but they’ll also need to beat teams like Tennessee, LSU and Texas A&M at home if they want to improve on last year’s nine wins.

Franks may win the quarterback job, but the offense is still a big question and if the defense takes a step back from last season, it’s going to be race to win the SEC East for the third-straight time.

2017 Florida Gators Football Schedule

Sept. 2 vs. Michigan (AT&T Stadium)
Sept. 9 vs. Northern Colorado
Sept. 16 vs. Tennessee
Sept. 23 at Kentucky

Sept. 30 vs. Vanderbilt
Oct. 7 vs. LSU
Oct. 14 vs. Texas A&M
Oct. 28 vs. Georgia (EverBank Field)
Nov. 4 at Missouri
Nov. 11 at South Carolina
Nov. 18 vs. UAB
Nov. 25 vs. Florida State

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