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Florida 2023 Conference Opponent Previews

Florida Conference Opponent Previews

Amid non-conference play, the Florida Gators will start their Southeastern Conference (SEC) schedule against the Tennessee Volunteers. The Gators, who went 3-5 in conference play last year, will yet again have their hands full. Despite a bit of a downfall in 2022, Billy Napier’s squad looks to rewrite last year’s wrongs.

Tennessee vs Florida 9/16

Florida’s first conference game will come against the Tennessee Volunteers. The two well-known programs will play a huge game in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium this coming season. In last year’s game, the Gators played hard but fell late by a final score of 38-33.

This year’s game figures to be just as competitive. The difference this year is that we will not see Anthony Richardson for Florida or Hendon Hooker for Tennessee. The two starting quarterbacks from last year both got drafted into the NFL. Furthermore, this year’s game could feature a lot more running for the Gators. On the other hand, the Florida defense will have to play a very sound game if they want to stand a chance against this very talented Volunteer squad.

Florida vs Kentucky 9/30

Following Florida’s third non-conference game, the Gators will start their SEC stretch with Kentucky. Florida, who fell miserably in the second half against Kentucky last year, will hope for a different outcome this coming season. This year’s game will be played on the road.

A big positive for the Gators this year is that Kentucky will no longer have Will Levis under center. Nonetheless, Florida will have to be better offensively to win this year’s contest against the Wildcats. A big key for Florida on offense will be the running game. The Gators are bringing back two top backs in college football: Montrell Johnson and Trevor Etienne. Both players will make big contributions to this year’s team’s success.

Vanderbilt vs Florida 10/7

UF’s third SEC game will come against the Vanderbilt Commodores. The Commodores, who beat the Gators last year, will look to repeat their success. On the other hand, Florida will look for a better result on the home field this year.

While Florida was on a decline during parts of last season, losing to Vanderbilt started the three-game losing streak that concluded last season. The Commodores, who have struggled in past years in the SEC, have gotten better and won’t be an easy win for Florida this year. The Gators will need to force turnovers in hopes of winning what could be a close game.

Florida vs South Carolina 10/14

After Vanderbilt, the Gators will hit the road to play South Carolina. The Gamecocks, who are another up-and-coming program, will be a good challenge for Florida. The Gators will look to play a high-intensity game against a well-put-together South Carolina team.

Coming into this game a key for the Gators will be stopping Spencer Rattler and the Gamecock passing game. Despite Florida’s struggling passing defense, this game will be a huge test for their secondary.

Florida vs Georgia 10/28 (Neutral site)

Following Florida’s bout with South Carolina, UF’s schedule won’t get any easier. The Gators will hit the road once again to play arguably their biggest game of the season against their in-conference rival Georgia Bulldogs.

The defending national champs will play against Florida in Jacksonville. This game for UF holds a lot of meaning. Even though the Gators are coming off a rocky season, the rivalry never seems to disappoint. Beating the Bulldogs will be very challenging for Florida, but a good defensive outing could be the difference.

Arkansas vs Florida 11/4

As the season rolls on for the Gators, their next opponent will be the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Razorbacks have turned a lot of faces in the SEC these past few seasons with how much they have improved. Arkansas just like Georgia will be another test for this Gator team.

The return of KJ Jefferson has a lot of weight on this game. Jefferson was very good for Arkansas last year and will cause a lot of problems for the Florida defense. Stopping him will be the goal for the Florida defense when these teams meet late next season.

Florida vs LSU 11/11

Another highly anticipated game for the Gators this coming season will be LSU. The Gators will travel to Baton Rouge for their second to last SEC game of the season. The Gators will be faced with a tough road game in the late stretch of their season.

Just like the return of KJ Jefferson for Arkansas, the return of Jayden Daniels for LSU will make the game against the Tigers much harder. In 2022 the Tigers and Gators ended up having a very high-scoring offensive game which resulted in a 45-35 win for LSU. Unlike last year, this game could be more of a defensive battle than an offensive shootout. The Gator offense which doesn’t have as much depth as previous years will have to play a very sound game if they want to survive Death Valley.

Florida vs Missouri 11/18

To close out the SEC schedule for the Gators will be a road game against the Missouri Tigers. This last SEC matchup for Florida is hoped to be a laxer game after a stretch of three tough ball games for the Gators. Regardless, the Tigers usually tend to play some good football against the Gators.

Missouri last year ended with the same record as the Gators at 6-7. Both teams struggled with SEC play even though they both ended up bowl eligible. Furthermore, this game could very well be close. The Tigers will be an even matchup for the Gators as both teams aren’t the greatest offensively.

Positive Outcomes

This year’s SEC schedule for the Gators will be a challenging one. Considering the Gators haven’t solidified an identity just goes to show that none of these games will be easy. Regardless, the Gators will look for positive outcomes this season and hopefully will turn a lot of heads.

 

Florida Conference Opponent Previews

Photo courtesy:  Doug Engle / USA TODAY NETWORK

 

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