The 2023 Florida football season has been like riding the Tower of Terror at Disney MGM Studios.
Florida started at the bottom with a road loss to the Utah Utes in Week 1 and rapidly rose to the top floor, winning three consecutive home games and toppling the (at the time) No. 11 Tennessee Volunteers.
Then the elevator took a plunge back to the bottom, following another road loss against SEC rival Kentucky Wildcats. The Gators are strapped in tight to their seats and are braving through the horrifying ride.
The elevator is ascending again, but the plummet may be sooner than they think, with a tilt against the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs taking place in less than 72 hours.
A win over the top dogs (pun intended) will shoot the Gators to a meteoric rise, and might even give the Gators a chance at the SEC East title.
Two experts at ESPN believe a Gators win and a permanent turnaround for the better is possible under the leadership of head coach Billy Napier.
Napier even confirmed via a text to ESPN senior writer Heather Dinich that he believes the Gators are on the rise.
“We are going in the right direction,” Napier said. “Period!”
The second-year coach said he wants his team to find a way to create turnovers and out-gain Georgia on the ground, with the assistance from the running back room, including sophomore Trevor Etienne.
Senior writer Adam Rittenberg spoke with UF quarterback Graham Mertz, who said Napier’s offensive gameplan is the reason for his personal turnaround year.
“I trust Coach Napier with everything,” Mertz said. “I was at a great program (Wisconsin) with a lot of great leadership. The way he runs this, everything is so detailed. If you buy into the process with him, you’ll get results.”
Mertz has the third-best completion percentage in the nation (76.2%) and has collected 1,897 yards through the air on top of 12 touchdowns.
The Florida Gators will challenge the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. EDT. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports.