Like any offseason in college football, there comes with it a plethora of predictions, and some of them are pretty bold. On Friday, we may have found one of the boldest takes on the 2016 season. College Football Talk released its picks for College Football Playoff “dark-horses.” One of them, in my opinion, was a little bit ridiculous. CFT named the Florida Gators as a legitimate CFP dark-horse candidate. Before I make my argument on why this is very far-fetched in my eyes, here’s an excerpt for CFT’s reasoning for picking Florida.
“Remember how good the Gators were before Will Grier got suspended and everything fell apart? The Gators started 6-0 before a respectable 35-28 loss at LSU, then rebounded with a 27-3 thrashing of Georgia in the Cocktail Party before the offense spent November and December struggling mightily just to hit 20 points. But with another year under Jim McElwain, Florida should be deeper and much less Treon Harris-y. And then there is the fact that winning the SEC East places a team automatically just 60 minutes away from the Playoff.”
First of all yes — the Gators were very good with Grier, and essentially the whole reason they were able to beat Tennessee and start off 6-0. But beating Georgia 27-3 — a bad Georgia team at the time, mind you — is really in no way a signature or marquee win. Not to mention they almost lost to both Vanderbilt and FAU, and their outing against Alabama in the SECCG game, including the bowl game against Michigan, was an embarrassing showing.
Look, Florida indeed will be much better without Harris under center. Luke Del Rio, who McElwain named as the starter last week, will be a much better handler of the offense, but I don’t think he’ll light things up like Grier did. But the real issue I have with this dark-horse pick points back to one thing. Even if Florida can beat both Tennessee (they barely escaped last time they played in Neyland, so this is Tennessee’s best chance to beat the Gators) and Georgia to clinch the East, I highly doubt they have what it takes in Year 2 of McElwain’s tenure to defeat either an Alabama or LSU team in the SEC Title game.
Let’s see what the Gators do this season, then maybe we’ll be talking a CFP bid for Florida in 2017 — I’m just not buying it quite yet for 2016.