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Breaking Down the 2013 Florida Gators Football Schedule

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Florida Gators: Breaking Down the 2013 Schedule

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After a lousy 7-6 season in 2011, under their standards, the Florida Gators came back in a big way, winning 11 games in 2012 and finishing in second place in the SEC East. Will Muschamp has this team poised for another run at an SEC title, but returning just 10 starters from last year’s team will be quite the project.

Coming in at No. 10 on the Rant Sports’ top 100 rankings, the Gators are losing loads of defensive talent, but returning their starting quarterback, Jeff Driskel, to lead the offense.

While Driskel may not be the best quarterback in the SEC, not even one of the top QBs, but he is returning with another year of experience under his belt and that will surely help with the juniors continued improvement.

Improving in the pass game will be a big key if this team wants to climb over the hump that labels them strictly a defensive team. They ranked 114th nationally in passing offense behind Driskel last season as he passed for just 1,646 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. Averaging far less than 200 passing yards per game won’t help the offense one bit.

You know your pass game is poor when your rushing yards per game tops passing yards per game by a solid 40 yards.

Losing 1,000-yard rusher Mike Gillislee won’t help Driskel any, but with most of his targets returning, he should be set to put up better numbers in 2013. If not, the defense is still one of the best in the country.

Let’s see how this team will fare in 2013 against their tough schedule.

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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Aug. 31: Toledo

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

While the Rockets are returning 16 starters to a squad that went 9-4 last season, their offense just won't be enough to keep up with the Gators' defense. This game could be close early just because of Florida's lackluster offense, but it won't end pretty.

PREDICTION: Toledo 10, Florida 31

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Sept. 7: at Miami(FL)

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Miami has a man with the name of Duke Johnson that could go down as one of the best running backs in school history, but Florida can find a way to contain him. This is the Gators' first road game of the season and that could mean trouble, but not this time.

PREDICTION: Florida 27, Miami 17

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Sept. 21: Tennessee

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee is losing a ton of offensive weapons from last season including quarterback Tyler Bray and wide outs Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter. That will be the difference between a big win against a rival school and a tough loss.

PREDICTION: Tennessee 13, Florida 28

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Sept. 28: at Kentucky

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky is just flat out bad. Finishing 2-10 last season with a terrible offense and a mediocre defense will not get them anywhere in Mark Stoops' first season.

PREDICTION: Florida 35, Kentucky 3

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Oct. 5: Arkansas

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The 2012 season was a disaster for the Arkansas Razorbacks and the fact that Tyler Wilson wasn't playing up to potential didn't help their cause. This season will count as a rebuilding year and it won't be pretty when this team's poor offense faces off against the Gators' stellar defense.

PREDICTION: Arkansas 15, Florida 31

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Oct. 12: at LSU

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Two great defenses facing off against each other can only mean one thing: a boring offensive game with very few, if any, touchdowns scored. LSU has about the same amount talent on the defensive side of the ball, however, and the result will boil down to who has the home-field advantage. Tough game for the Gators.

PREDICTION: Florida 14, LSU 16

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Oct. 19: at Missouri

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri finished a mediocre 5-7 in their new conference, the SEC, and will look to improve on that mark with some wins against top opponents in 2013. Returning most of their offense will help, but the Tigers didn't have a great attack last season. Improvement is possible, but a win against this top opponent just won't happen.

PREDICTION: Florida 30, Missouri 24

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Nov. 2: Georgia

Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The Georgia Bulldogs are returning top QB, Aaron Murray, and they will surely be back with a vengeance, looking to make up for their SEC title game loss in 2012. The Florida Gators might be the home team, but the Bulldogs are just too good and will be fired up for the big game.

PREDICTION: Georgia 33, Florida 30

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Nov. 9: Vanderbilt

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Vanderbilt was a much-improved team in 2012 with their first nine-win season in recent memory, and with 14 returning starters, this team could be even better in 2013. However, traveling to Florida won't be an easy task and it will end up being one of their few losses this season.

PREDICTION: Vanderbilt 17, Florida 28

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Nov. 16: at South Carolina

south carolina
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The South Carolina Gamecocks will be one of the teams standing in the way of the Florida Gators' title run and that's unfortunate for them. Jadeveon Clowney is the best defensive lineman in the entire nation and will be a force in this game. Driskel better hope he's wearing extra padding because Clowney will be out to get him.

PREDICTION: Florida 16, South Carolina 28

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Nov. 23: Georgia Southern

georgia southern
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Southern just won't be any competition to the Gators and that needs no further explanation. Driskel and the Gators will have a field day against Southern.

PREDICTION: Georgia Southern 0, Florida 33

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Nov. 30: Florida State

florida state
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida State Seminoles are one of the teams on the Gators' schedule that could go either way. Jameis Winston is one of the best young quarterbacks in the nation and could give Florida a run for its money, but not in this rivalry game. Good thing for Florida is that they have home-field advantage.

PREDICTION: Florida State 14, Florida 17

The Florida Gators finish 9-3, taking a step back from their stellar 2012 campaign.