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Could this be the year Tennessee finally beats Florida?

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Florida is down to its second quarterback who has never taken a snap in a month.

Wide receiver Antonio Callaway is still hurt and “only time will tell” if he can play Saturday.

Florida is 3-0, but against three weak teams.

So, will this finally be the year that Tennessee ends its losing streak against the Gators? It could happen. The game is in Rocky Top, which has Joshua Dobbs back at quarterback. And while the Gators still have the better defense, the Gators figure to have trouble scoring behind transfer quarterback Austin Appleby.

Besides, Tennessee has to win someday. Don’t they?

Tennessee has played the better schedule. The Vols have faced the 50th best schedule in the country, compared to Florida’s 157th. But Florida is first in the country in defense (Tennessee is 39th) and leads the Vols in most stat categories.

For instance. Florida is 58th in scoring offense, but Tennessee is 69th. Florida is 40th in total offense, but Tennessee is 101st. Florida is giving up 4.7 points per game; Tennessee is giving up 18.7.

“Everybody understands in our football program what this game is,” said Vols’ coach Butch Jones. “It’s special. It’s a rivalry game. It’s why you go to college. This is why you come to Tennessee, to have an opportunity to play those games.”

What Tennessee has to battle is the mental edge that an 11-game winning streak has given Florida. The Gators expect to stop Tennessee. They expect to win a close game and hold the playing of Rocky Top to, oh, 10,000 times or so.

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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