Here’s how The Athletic’s staff thinks Florida will fare against Samford

·4 min read

Florida couldn’t get it done against one of the worst teams in the Southeastern Conference last week as the Gators fell to South Carolina, 40-17.

Head coach Dan Mullen parted ways with defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and offensive line coach John Hevesy following the game. Mullen said that the moves came before the season’s end in hopes of energizing the team to a strong finish. First up is Samford, an FCS program that Florida is favored to beat by more than 30 points.

Anything other than a win would be disastrous for Mullen and company, but The Athletic’s staff sees Florida taking this one easily. Here’s what they had to say ahead of Saturday’s must-win game.

G. Allan Taylor

G. Allan Taylor, Gators beat writer, couldn’t help but bring up the infamous 2013 loss to FCS Georgia Southern. Similarities between that season and this one aside, it’s still not enough for Allan to predict a Florida loss.

The Gators stand 20-1 all time against FCS teams, with the outlier being a 2013 debacle against Georgia Southern. That particular day of ignominy occurred in November, a week after losing at South Carolina, and that Florida team finished 4-8. The current Florida team also just lost at Carolina, is stuck on four wins, and (checks iCal), yikes — it’s November! The circumstantial evidence is undeniable: Dan Mullen and Co. have soaked in a hot tub time machine and find themselves reliving the chagrin of 2013! Amid what portends to be a muted atmosphere at The Swamp, the Gators desperately need some positivity to avoid history repeating itself. Samford has a high-scoring offense and one of the leakiest defenses in the FCS, so Florida should be able to move the ball regardless of whether Anthony Richardson’s pin-drop dance injury has healed. Florida 48-17

Josh Kendall

Kendall also picked Florida to win, but he has the final score being a bit lower than Taylor. The big question for him is whether or not this Gators team has given up both on the season on and on Mullen.

The Gators will get the Clean House Bounce this week and play well. Especially since it’s Samford. The bigger question is what happens after this week, and I wouldn’t place any bets on that. Maybe Richardson gets in, gets some confidence and the Gators get rolling to finish the season. Maybe this team has soured on more than just the now-fired defensive coordinator. Florida 38-7

Sam Khan Jr.

Khan has a short and sweet prediction for Saturday, and any Florida fan likes the sound of that final score.

Nothing quite like a mid-November FCS game to (temporarily) cure your team’s ills. Florida 51-10

Aaron Suttles

Suttles wasn’t soft on Mullen before the loss to South Carolina and he’s not backing off now. He sees the potential end of Mullen and doesn’t address this week’s matchup aside from predicting a big win for Florida.

Dan, Dan, Dan. When you reach out for the start-firing-assistants-to-distract-away-from-the-head-coach strategy, well, that speaks for itself. Florida 54-10

Brodie Miller

Like Suttles, Miller addresses the midseason firings Florida made this week. However, he sees it as a good thing for the Gators and predicts a big win with a more basic approach.

I assume when a team fires assistants midseason, it’s going to keep things really simple against Samford. Simple is good for a team like the Gators. Florida 52-14

Seth Emerson

Georgia writer Seth Emerson doesn’t think Dan Mullen is going anywhere and has Florida winning this one easily.

I’ve been on the Dan-Mullen-is-not-on-any-hot-seat bus for months, but wooh, I don’t have much company anymore. Still, my guess is Florida rides this out and hopes Mullen has gotten the message on recruiting and in general that he can’t just coach ‘em up anymore. Florida 51-17

Composite score prediction

Gator Nation is hoping that losing to South Carolina was rock bottom for this year’s squad. Samford is a very beatable opponent, and they might have to create a new kind of panic level to describe what will happen in Gainesville if the Gators lose on Saturday.

The folks over at The Athletic seem to think that Florida has this one by a good margin, predicting a 36-point victory for the Gators on average.

Composite score prediction: Florida 49, Samford 13

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