ESPN’s GatorNation brings you the 30 things you need to know about Florida’s upcoming 2012 season. For 30 weekdays we’ll preview games, talk about trends, spotlight players and positions, and give you pretty much everything you need to know to be ready for the season before the Sept. 1 opener against Bowling Green.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- For the past seven months, Florida fans have been trying to forget a disappointing 2011 season and hoping for a much better performance in 2012.
Optimistic Gators fans are pointing to the fact that four coaches in the last 11 years have won national championships in their second season. Realistic Gators fans know there are too many questions on offense -- especially at quarterback -- and are hoping UF can remain in the hunt for the Eastern Division title into November.
The second scenario is more likely, according to four of the most popular and prominent college football preseason magazines that have been on the shelves since May. Lindy’s, USA Today, and Athlon predict the Gators will finish third in the Eastern Division.
Phill Steele, however, is giving Florida a lot more love. He has the Gators winning the Eastern Division.
The Sporting News’ preseason magazine comes out in August.
Here’s a quick look at what each magazine has to say:
The magazine has Florida 26th in its preseason rankings and picks the Gators to finish third in the division behind Georgia and South Carolina.
Its biggest issue with UF is the lack of proven playmakers at receiver and the uncertainty at quarterback. The defense will be one of the league’s best but it needs to force more turnovers.
The magazine has UF 20th in its preseason rankings and also has predicted the Gators will finish third in the division behind Georgia and South Carolina.
The Gators’ season could be a long one if both quarterbacks -- Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett -- turn out to be “duds.” UF’s defense will be among the best in the country, but that won’t be enough to overcome any offensive problems. UF is still a step or two behind the league’s elite teams.
His magazine has the highest opinion of the Gators. They’re 10th in his preseason rankings, and he predicts they’ll win the division.
He says the Gators have the No. 2 defense in the country and will get “vastly upgraded” quarterback play and will be able to run the ball well between the tackles.
The magazine has UF 14th in its preseason rankings and predicts the Gators will finish third in the division behind Georgia and South Carolina.
It has UF finishing 11-1 in a best-case scenario (the defense is dominant and the offense is no longer a liability) and 6-6 in a worst-case scenario (the defense isn’t dominant and the offense struggles as much as it did in 2010 and 2011) in the regular season.