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Gators faced with meager expectations in Jim McEwain’s second year

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Turns out, the Florida Gators have even more to prove.

Florida, picked to finish near the bottom of the SEC a year ago, probably won’t be picked quite as low as it was last year. But when Sports Illustrated picked its top 25 teams after college football’s spring practice, well, the Gators were nowhere to be found.

FSU was third. Even Miami was 24th. But Florida just made the “also considered” list.

The reason is probably similar to what it was a year ago. The Gators don’t have a proven quarterback. Last year, it was Will Grier who surprised (until he was kicked off the team for performance-enhancing drugs). This year, it looks as if it will be Luke Del Rio.

Last season, in his first year, coach Jim McElwain was able to surprise some people until the Gators suffered a late fade. This year, a lot of people already believe McElwain is a coach on the rise. But winning in year two may prove to be harder than in year one.


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

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