Heading into the 2013 season, it appeared that the race to win the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division was between three teams. The Georgia Bulldogs, the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Florida Gators appeared to have their sights set on winning the division and going to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game.
What has unfolded this season has been surprising, to say the least. The Missouri Tigers have taken control of the SEC East, with Florida, Georgia and South Carolina in pursuit.
The most troubling of the three is Florida. This was a team that was ranked in the Top 10 nationally in the preseason by some experts. And while they have had their share of injuries this season, most notably to quarterback Jeff Driskel and running back Matt Jones, Florida’s play in 2013 has left much to be desired.
After Saturday’s 23-20 loss to Georgia, the Gators are now 4-4 on the season, and they are one slip-up away from being home for the holidays. If, as expected, the Gators lose at South Carolina and to the Florida State Seminoles, they must beat the Vanderbilt Commodores and FCS Georgia Southern to become bowl eligible. There is very little margin for error in Florida’s remaining schedule.
The Gators’ defense has been solid this season, ranking second in the SEC in most categories. The struggle for Florida has been on offense, where the Gators rank dead last in the conference and 110th in the nation in total offense, and 13th in the conference and 103rd nationally in scoring offense.
Florida fans are beginning to wonder if Will Muschamp is the right coach for the job. He is on pace to be at or near the .500 mark for the second time in three seasons. And that won’t be enough for the Florida faithful. Muschamp and offensive coordinator Brent Pease must find a way to put more points on the board, or it could be a long offseason in Gainesville.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.