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July 20, 2014

Football Roundtable: Predicting Florida's record

Strength and weakness
Looking at the offense
Surprise players
Getting off the hotseat

Welcome to the Inside the Gators Roundtable. Of course the question on every one's mind this time of the year is the upcoming football season. Today's edition of the Roundtable asks the question: With less than two weeks before the start of fall camp, what is your early best pre-camp guess on Florida's 2014 record?

Join Bryan Holt, Jesse Simonton and Landon Watnick for this no holds barred discussion of the Gators football squad.

Roundtable Question: With less than two weeks before the start of fall camp, what is your early best pre-camp guess on Florida's 2014 record?

The 2014 Gators seem like a nice concept to believe in, but I'm not the most forgiving person when it comes to believing in the unknown. Florida is loaded with unknowns. In order to believe this is a team that will compete for an SEC title, one has to assume depth will develop along the defensive line. One has to assume linebackers and wide receivers will take that big step forward that isn't guaranteed though it seems a possibility. Jeff Driskel needs to become the quarterback the Gators have waited for in a system that should be tailored to his skills.

In other words, a perfect storm of questions turning into success has to happen for Florida to be a serious contender, even in an SEC East that could be down once again. Florida's five deadly games don't bode well for a team trying to find itself, both on the field and within an ever-changing coaching staff. The Gators go 8-4 in 2014, and the future of the program is up for interpretation.

8-4. Florida has six gimmes, three toss-ups and three games it will really struggle to win. Last year, the Gators played Jenga and the whole thing crashed rather viciously. In 2014, Florida appears to have a sturdier base, but the margins remain thin and the team still looks a year away. If absolutely everything goes peaches, UF could replicate the magic of the 2013 Tigers, but as it stands the team still has too many uncertainties to honestly compete for a league title or spot in the inaugural playoff.

The 2014 Florida Gators are a series of mysteries at this point, but if I had to make a prediction, I'd say 8-4. UF has six very winnable games, and I think the Gators will pull out two wins against their more difficult challenges - Alabama, LSU, Missouri, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida State.

For these things to happen, Jeff Driskel and his backups, the wide receiving corps, linebackers, and offensive line all have to gain ground - especially the O-line, which needs to keep its starting signal caller healthy for more than three games. But it's hard to guess so early how each unit will fare, since each of these groups have so many young players who have yet to play meaningful downs in college.

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