Florida Win Total Prediction
After leading Florida to a 10-win season in his first year with the program, is Dan Mullen set to lead the Gators to greater heights in 2019?
After a long stint with Mississippi State, Mullen took over at Florida in 2018 and coached the Gators to a 10-3 record with a 5-3 mark in the SEC. The 10 wins included a victory in the Peach Bowl. According to oddsmakers, the Gators are listed with an over/under of 9 wins during the regular season in 2019. The over is listed at +105, while the under is listed at -125.
After a few years of being one of the worst offenses in the nation under Jim McElwain, the Gators took a big step forward last year, averaging 35 points and 428.7 yards per game. The offense brings back five starters this year. Feleipe Franks returns at QB. He threw for 2,284 yards with 23 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also rushed for 276 yards and six touchdowns. Leading rusher Lamical Perine also returns after rushing for 750 yards and six touchdowns and the top receivers from 2018 also return. The key will be up front, where Florida has to replace four starters on the offensive line.
The Florida defense remained solid last season, but the numbers were a touch worse, likely due to the improved offense. The Gators gave up 20 points and 338.7 yards per game. They had the 12th-ranked passing defense, allowing just 178.9 yards per contest. Florida should have a steady pass rush behind a veteran line. Jabari Zuniga had 42 tackles with 6.5 sacks a year ago and he could really have a breakout season in 2019. Florida has two returning linebackers as well to go with three starters in the secondary.
Florida opens the season in Orlando against Miami for a big in-state rivalry game and the Gators close the regular season at home against Florida State. Other non-conference games feature UT Martin and Towson. SEC home games include Tennessee, Auburn and Vandy. Road games will be against Kentucky, LSU, South Carolina and Missouri. You also can’t forget about the annual game with Georgia in Jacksonville on Nov. 2.
Florida was an improved team last year, as its offense actually started to resemble something the fanbase could get behind. I think that will only get better with another offseason under Mullen. The defense should always be solid behind Florida’s ability to recruit physical and athletic defensive players. I like Florida over its non-conference rivals in Miami and FSU and I feel the only major tests in SEC play will be at LSU and against Georgia. Slip ups can certainly happen, but Florida should be the favorite in every other SEC game this year. I think Mullen has the program back on track and I expect the Gators to get to 10 wins in the regular season and possibly reach the SEC Championship.
College Football Prediction: Florida Over 9 Wins +105