Florida football’s spring practice season concluded just a week ago, opening the schedule for a long summer until the Gators’ gridiron gang returns to the Swamp next fall. Despite the lengthy layoff, it certainly is not too early to start looking toward the opponents slated for the 2022 campaign, especially now that many teams’ uncertainties have become well-known.
Brad Crawford of 247Sports undertook the task of determining the biggest trap game for every Southeastern Conference school this coming season, including the Florida Gators — which was no easy assignment. Here is who he thinks the Orange and Blue need to look out for during the fall.
Biggest trap game: versus South Carolina, Nov. 12
Admittedly, this was the toughest trap game to pick in the entire SEC this season given Florida’s well-balanced schedule and the fact no one really knows what to expect from the Gators during Billy Napier’s first campaign outside of being a well-coached football team. The roster still has holes that need to be addressed — and will be according to Napier — ahead of fall camp in the transfer portal and there’s enough good teams on the slate that could critically affect where this team lands. South Carolina has only won once in Gainesville since the 2012 season and talent-wise the rosters are comparable. Florida needs to salvage consecutive losses to Texas A&M and Georgia with a win here.
He makes a good point about Florida’s robust schedule but perhaps undersells how difficult the Gators’ path will be, given that they open the season against a projected top-10 Utah Utes team, quickly followed by a Kentucky squad that could also prove to be a trap game. The “balance” kicks in when UF hosts USF and Eastern Washington in the third and fifth weeks before rolling off a slew of SEC matchups ahead of the FSU clincher in late November.
The Gamecocks will have Spencer Rattler at the helm, having come over from Oklahoma through the transfer portal, and will likely be a tougher matchup than the team that steamrolled UF in Columbia last season resulting in Todd Grantham and John Hevesey’s dismissal from the coaching staff. The Gators cannot afford to rest on any weekend this season, and most importantly, not against conference opponents at home.
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