Your daily Gator

From Major Wager:

I was heavy on Florida entering last season.

I figured QB Feleipe Franks would improve under Dan Mullen, and that replacing Jim McElwain’s embarrassing strength program would boost an experienced, inherently talented offensive line. The Gators also were due some better injury luck.

That one worked out well as Florida finished 10-3.

Now, Lindy’s Sports (No. 6), Athlon Sports (No. 8), Street & Smith (No. 8) and Phil Steele (No. 10) all project the Gators as a top 10 team and a College Football Playoff contender in 2019.

To that, I say not so fast.

Florida was fortunate to finish 3-0 in one-possession games against Mississippi State, LSU and South Carolina.

The Gators also had tremendous turnover luck, recovering 21 of 33 fumbles (63.6 percent), leading to a plus-12 turnover margin, the team’s best mark since 2012 and tied for seventh nationally.

That’s unlikely to happen again.

Then look at the schedule.

Florida figures to get revenge on Kentucky, which finally broke through in 2018. But Georgia is a monster, as is LSU in Baton Rouge. Tennessee, Florida State and Auburn could be much improved. A game at Missouri isn’t a guarantee.

Plus, the Gators replace a home game against Colorado State with a neutral-site game against a Miami team that also should be much better than it was in 2018.

Florida ranks No. 6 nationally in the 247Sports five-year recruiting rankings. But Georgia (No. 2), LSU (No. 3), Auburn (No. 7), Florida State (No. 15), Tennessee (No. 17), South Carolina (No. 19) and Miami (No. 23) are right there.

Mullen has done an excellent job in his career of beating lesser talented teams, but he’s struggled against ranked opponents with similar or better talent.

Five Florida players left early for the NFL draft. The team also lost transfers in buckets, and must rebuild its offensive line.

Depth could be a significant issue if Florida faces injuries.

The Play: BetOnline lists Florida’s season win total at 9, with significant juice on the under at -125. That’s not enough value for me to play. But if I can find a friend who really believes in the Gators, I’d be happy to bet on Florida not finishing inside the final Associated Press Top 10 this season.

You always look for the underlying reasons in a team’s big swing in record from one season to the next.  There is no doubt Mullen deserves credit for things like cleaning up the toxic shape McElwain left the program in and Franks’ improvement, such as it was.  But that turnover margin number catches my eye, big time, as well.  (It was minus-3 in 2017.)  Gators, ignore regression to the mean at your peril.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

16 responses to “Your daily Gator

  1. Castleberry

    Mizzou whipped that ass last year – in the Swamp. They lose that one and they’ll have to sweep everyone else that isn’t Georgia / LSU. Seems like good advice to me.


  2. Comin' Down The Track

    I’m basically living off of The Daily Gator these days.


  3. UGA '97

    Anyone have Grantham’s turnover margin record by year? would be interesting to know


    • Biggus Rickus

      Beginning with his first year at Georgia:

      2010: +10 (26 total turnovers forced, or TTF the rest of the way)
      2011: +7 (32 TTF)
      2012: +11 (30 TTF)
      2013: -7 (15 TTF)
      2014: +4 (30 TTF)
      2015: -1 (26 TTF)
      2016: -7 (25 TTF)
      2017: -1 (21 TTF)
      2018: +12 (26 TTF)

      For what it’s worth, Smart’s best turnover margin coincides with his worst season. The last two Georgia’s only been +4 and +3 with 20 and 17 TTF.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Cojones

    That horseshoe can be pushed back up their butt as well.


  5. Normaltown Mike

    Surprised they are ranked that high on the 5 year recruiting average.


  6. JCDawg83

    “Mullen has done an excellent job in his career of beating lesser talented teams, but he’s struggled against ranked opponents with similar or better talent.”

    It would be easy to replace Mullen’s name with the name of a recent Georgia head coach. It really is eerie how the similarities between the current UF program and the Georgia program of the ’90-’15 years are lining up. Even the roster holes are similar, good skill position talent and weakness along the lines of scrimmage.


    • Mayor

      Don’t compare Dan Mullen with Mark Richt. Mark Richt is a fine man and an excellent football coach who won two SEC Championships and had his team finish #2 and #3 in final year end rankings. Mullen is a low class loudmouth who never won anything on his own.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Texas Dawg

    I normally don’t revel in the misfortune and misery of others……but for the gators I make an exception.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. As we all have seen…FU qb has shown a propensity to have nervous feet when 1st option is covered and o-line is back peddling faster than he is, should FU football get down in the scoring column 12-17ish points during games…that will be the season difference maker in the early portion (3-6 games) of team maturity…true dat, some skill positions look good for them and lack of depth at the d-front 7 will be the reversing trends by the time UGA spanks some FU tail in november…


  9. stoopnagle

    But but Georgia ain’t won nothin for 40 years! /s #ftmf


  10. Whiskeydawg

    I want Georgia to beat them so badly this year that their fans leave at halftime traumatized. The governor will have to order grief counselors to Gainesville.