We will start our 2018 team by team predictions with a look at the reigning college football national champions, albeit because they are the first team in the SEC alphabetically. A quarterback question is the main talking point hanging over this team heading into fall camp, though a slew of new assistant coaches taking new roles also must be considered when predicting the early season games.
By Steve Wright
9/1/18 Charleston Southern – Florida is not yet onboard with the SEC schools scheduling a tough game straight out of the gate. If the Gators struggle at all in this one it will be a worry. Florida 45, Charleston Southern 14.
9/8/18 Kentucky – Does Florida have a real quarterback for the first time since Tim Tebow left in 2009? Dan Mullen has the reputation as a quarterback guru, so whoever emerges as the guy under center will benefit from his wealth of knowledge and experience. Florida 35, Kentucky 14.
9/15/18 Colorado State – A MWC coming down to Gainesville shouldn’t pose a problem. This will be three home wins in a row to start the Mullen era right. Florida 32, Colorado State 17.
9/22/18 @ Tennessee – Both these teams have new coaching hires, but it feel like Florida was closer to being better last year than 4-8 Tennessee. This could be back to being an important SEC East clash in three or four years. Florida 28, Tennessee 17.
9/29/18 @ Mississippi State – You have to love schedule quirks. This one sees Mullen returning immediately to Starkville to take on the Bulldogs. His inside knowledge of the team will be important, but Mississippi State is very difficult to beat on the road. Florida 20, Mississippi State 38.
10/6/18 LSU – In a year where Auburn and Alabama are off of the schedule, Florida gets lucky in taking on a Tigers team with more questions than the Gators. Another step toward bowl eligibility is taken at the expense of LSU. Florida 24, LSU 17.
10/13/18 @ Vanderbilt – If Mullen is to win around the Florida fan base then this is the kind of game that he has to win given the Gators massive recruiting advantage over Vanderbilt. Kyle Shurmur will keep it close, but the Florida ground game will be too much for the Commodores. Florida 31, Vanderbilt 24.
10/27/18 Georgia (in Jacksonville) – There is a reason that Georgia is the heavy favorite to win the SEC East. The most complete team in the conference – on both sides of the ball – will have too much on offense for Mullen to contend with in 2018. Florida 14, Georgia 38.
11/3/18 Missouri – This is one of the toss-up games that Florida will be targeting. Missouri has a new offensive coordinator in place, but Drew Lock and many of the weapons from their obnoxiously high scoring offense over the second half of 2017 return. Florida needs to win this to avoid a bad second half of the season. Florida 27, Missouri 38.
11/10/18 South Carolina – One of the reasons Florida will lose against Missouri is because Mullen will be focusing on this clash with the Gamecocks all season long. South Carolina was picked as the No. 2 team in the SEC East by the media, so taking them down in his first season would be a huge step towards reestablishing Florida as the team to beat in the division. Florida 24, South Carolina 20.
11/17/18 Idaho – A slow Florida start will be forgotten about by the end of the game. Florida 42, Idaho 7.
11/24/18 @ Florida State – The number of Florida fans glad to see the back of Jimbo Fisher numbers in the hundreds of thousands. Willie Taggart will get the better of Mullen in the first encounter between the two, but don’t expect that to last as the Gators build a team in Mullen’s image over the coming seasons. Florida 17, Florida State 27.