The 2014 campaign will be a crucial one for the Florida Gators and head coach Will Muschamp. After last season’s disaster in Gainesville, a season that produced a 4-8 record, a number of injuries and general discontent among Gator fans, this season could not be more important.
Luckily for Florida, the beginning of the schedule might allow the Gators to get their bearings before they hit the difficult part of the slate. The Gators open with three straight games at the Swamp, as they face Idaho, Eastern Michigan and the Kentucky Wildcats.
If Florida can gain some momentum from those games, it would certainly benefit them, because game four is against the Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa. After a week off, the Gators are on the road again to meet the Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville.
Another week off follows before the Gators have their annual showdown with the Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville.
The final home game of the season is on November 22, when the Gators host FCS Eastern Kentucky.
A matchup against one of the national championship favorites, and Gator rival, is the season finale as Florida visits the Florida State Seminoles.
For a team looking to rebound from a disappointing season, this is a tough schedule. Florida must win its first three games, as well as the Eastern Kentucky game. With those four wins almost assured (nothing is for certain, however, just ask Georgia Southern), Florida needs to find two more wins to get back to a bowl game.
The most likely candidates would be Vanderbilt and Tennessee, although both of those games are on the road.
If Florida can get to six (or seven) wins, the question becomes, is it enough to save Will Muschamp’s job? That remains to be seen.
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.