For the University of Florida, it has been a turnaround season. It has been a defensive season. It has been an overachieving season.
But can it be a championship season?
After all is said and done, do the Gators have enough offense to get past a powerful University of Alabama football team in Saturday’s SEC title game?
For a month, the Gators’ offense been stuck in the mud. Granted, the defense has played well, but on its own, defenses wear down in much the same way the Gators did against FSU in Saturday’s 27-2 loss to the Seminoles. With big Derrick Henry in the Tide’s backfield, the Gators’ defense could use as much help from the offense as possible.
But will it get it? The Gators are 104th on total offense in the nation. They are 81st in third-down conversions. They are 116th in red zone scoring. In other words, they have taken on the look of a Jeff Driskel-led offense lately.
Against Vandy, the 33rd-best defense in America, they needed a late field goal to win,
Against South Carolina, the 78th-best defense, they needed a long run by Kelvin Taylor late to protect a narrow lead.
Against FAU, the 98th-best defense, they had to go to overtime to win.
Against FSU, the 17th-best defense, they scored only a safety.
Now comes Alabama, the second-best defense in America (first against the run). No wonder the Tide is a 17-point favorite.
“You’ve got to pick yourself up,” Florida coach Jim McElwain said. “We don’t have time to pout.”
The good news is that quarterback Treon Harris had 254 yards against South Carolina. But in the other three games, he had 158, 122 and 134 yards. Championship football, hardly.
If there has been a bright spot for the Gators, it has been running back Taylor, who has 398 yards the last month. He has three straight 100-yard games.
Will the offense as a whole be better?
Or will the Tide roll?