Gators Will Be Tested: Weeks 7-9 Predictions

Gators will be tested

Getting into the gauntlet of the 2024 schedule, these three games will prove difficult, as the Gators will be tested. Luckily for the team, they have their second bye week during this time frame. After that second bye week, all hell breaks loose on the schedule, with five straight games against presumed ranked teams. After the yearly trip to Jacksonville, the Gators find themselves taking on four playoff hopefuls. By this point of the season, the writing will have already been on the wall. If the Gators start any worse than 4-2, it is quite likely that Billy Napier will no longer be at the helm. However, our predictions from previous articles have the Gators launching to a 5-1 start. If this happens to be the case, the Gators will have at least raised some eyebrows. However, it is these three weeks where we see what they are made of.

No Longer Domination

Throughout their history, the Gators have been known to dominate the Kentucky Wildcats on the football field. Winning 31 straight against the Wildcats, that eye-popping streak came to an end in 2018. Since the streak ended, Kentucky has gone out and won four of the last six matchups. With a new quarterback coming in, not much is known about this Kentucky team. However, under Mark Stoops, this team is to be taken seriously every week. Hauling in former highly touted Georgia quarterback Brock Vandagriff, many expect this offense to be formidable. Losing running back Ray Davis to the NFL will sting, as he had quite the game against the Gators last season. Allowing Kentucky to run rampant last year, this is a much-improved Gators defense. The key against Kentucky will be the trenches, as the Gators will be tested along the line of scrimmage.

Bye Week

Despite being a bye week, the argument could be made that this is the most important week of the season. After this brief time off, the Gators are forced to take on five straight playoff hopefuls. They will need all the time off that they can get, as it will be battle after battle coming up. This season, everyone knows that the Gators have a lot to prove, as they have struggled as of late. With one of the toughest schedules in the nation, proving the naysayers wrong won’t be an easy task. It is imperative that the Gators rest up this week and keep their focus steady. This is the perfect time for any players that are banged to get off their feet and rest up. Billy Napier must keep his squad motivated during this time off, as the challenge will only increase.

Trip to Jacksonville

A familiar foe, the Gators have been dominated by the Bulldogs in the last few matchups. With Georgia competing for championships and Florida competing to make a bowl game, this has become lopsided. After that magical 2020 season, the Gators have failed to top the Bulldogs, getting blown out more often than not. This season allows the Gators to show the national stage that they have turned a new leaf. Despite being proud, Gator fans are not disillusioned, they know that this Georgia squad is the number one team. Returning a plethora of starters, Georgia will be led by quarterback Carson Beck, who will be eager to make a playoff run. After a disappointing loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship, they will be hungry to earn another playoff appearance. Adding fuel to the fire, Trevor Etienne, a former Gator playmaker, decided to transfer to Athens.

SEC Newcomer

New to the SEC, Texas will surely be one of the most polarizing teams in the conference. Fresh off a College Football Playoff appearance, the Longhorns are pushing for more. Despite the loss of their two top receivers to the NFL, fans aren’t worried thanks to returning quarterback Quinn Ewers. With head coach Steve Sarkisian leading the charge, many feel that Texas could win the SEC in year one. With this game being played in Austin, Texas, Florida will be in quite a hostile environment. This will be yet another test for the Gators. On the road in this environment, a win here would be quite a shock. Fans know that this part of the schedule is quite difficult, and wins may be hard to come by. However, Florida expects to compete for national championships week in and week out, so they won’t simply go out without a fight.


Starting with assuredly the most winnable game of this stretch, the Gators host Kentucky on Homecoming weekend. Despite the loss of quarterback Devin Leary, Wildcat fans are confident that they will still be a solid squad. The Gators need to stay calm and not allow themselves to get overwhelmed. New additions Pup Howard at linebacker and Asa Turner at safety should help this defensive group be more physical. With the defense often being questioned, the Gators return many starters and should see some vast improvements. With an offense led by Graham Mertz loaded with playmakers, I’m leaning toward the Gators to take this one. The loss last season left a sour taste in their mouths, and I think Florida makes a play late to take this victory. Moving on to the Georgia game, fans may not be quite as happy with the results in Jacksonville.

In this big rivalry game, Georgia has set the tone recently, absolutely bullying the Gators. Taking one of the Gators’ best players via the transfer portal, Florida will be eager to prove themselves as a contender. Unfortunately, I think the Gators ultimately fall short, although I do expect a big prove-it game from running back Montrell Johnson Jr. The Longhorns game shouldn’t be too different, as the Gators won’t have enough firepower to win in Austin. Tre Wilson and Elijhah Badger will no doubt make some plays early, however, they won’t be able to stick around. Florida’s roster is much more talented than people realize, and because of that, I think that Florida competes till halftime. The second half will be a different story, as Texas will flex its muscles leading to a pullaway victory. This would leave the Gators with an inspiring 6-3 record.

Record: 6-3

Gators will be tested
Photo courtesy: Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports



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