ESPN predicts loss to this historic Florida football rival

·2 min read

The start of Florida football’s 2022 campaign is just a week away and ahead of the upcoming season, the media has been in a frenzy publishing their prognostications for the latest college gridiron schedule.

Among those offering their takes is ESPN’s Mark Schlabach, who recently put his predictions for every college football Power 5 conference into print, with an entry on the Gators included. However, his take is not quite what the Orange and Blue’s fanbase wants to hear.

While his prediction of a 7-5 final record — with a 4-4 mark in SEC play — seems reasonable enough, where Schlabach may get the Gator Nation’s goat is his take on the annual Florida-Tennessee matchup, which has been quite a lopsided affair over the past couple of decades, if not more. Here is what he had to say.

Tennessee finally beats Florida: The Gators and Volunteers used to play in one of the sport’s most heated and competitive rivalries. With Steve Spurrier poking Tennessee whenever he could, it was annually one of the most anticipated contests in the SEC and went a long way toward deciding the SEC East champion. Since 2005, however, the Gators have remarkably won 16 of their past 17 games against the Volunteers, including five in a row. Tennessee’s only victory during that stretch was a 38-28 win at Neyland Stadium in 2016. Volunteers coach Josh Heupel will get his first win over Florida with a 38-27 victory at home on September 24.

The Vols have as good of a chance as any to take down Florida this year, but the fact of the matter is that Tennessee’s program is still not exactly at its best either. The most likely outcome is a slugfest in Knoxville which can cut in either direction. Hopefully, the Gators emerge victoriously en route to a big first year for Billy Napier.

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire