Pat Forde has a scorching hot prediction for Florida football

Florida football has a date with the Utah Utes in Salt Lake City to open the 2023 schedule — assuming the Gators arrive safely out west — as the two teams tangle in a rematch of last season’s opener in Gainesville. The Orange and Blue enter the matchup well outside of the top 25 in the major polls while Utah is a top-15 squad to start off.

The Utes are favored by essentially a touchdown with two days remaining before kickoff, thanks in large part to the massive amount of talent they have on the roster as well as the home-field advantage. It will also be just the third time in three decades that UF starts the season on the road.

Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde put together his conference-by-conference college football predictions on Monday, including the SEC. In that section, Forde’s “Dash team guarantee” has the Gators winning in Week 1… but with a twist.

Florida will again beat Utah to open the year, and it again will be a false positive indicator for the season to come.

It is a bittersweet prediction no doubt and highly probable — in fact, there are far worse outcomes for Billy’s boys. Even if the team doesn’t tear through the schedule, starting 1-0 is still a good start in snapping the sub-.500 streak at two straight seasons.

Florida opens its 2023 schedule on the road against Utah on Thursday, Aug. 31, with a kickoff time of 8 p.m. EDT.

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire