After coming off a solid 21-3 win against Missouri, Florida was looking good. They moved up three spots in the AP Poll to number eight in the country, the defense was playing exceptionally well only allowing a combined 13 points in their last two SEC matchups, and QB Will Grier has shined since that fourth quarter comeback against Tennessee just three weeks ago. Now moving forward, Florida will have to play without one of its key players.
Will Grier tested positive for performance enhancing drugs Monday, and has been suspended for the rest of the season following the NCAA drug policy. Florida is appealing the suspension, but only the part of the suspension that deals with the following season. That means Grier’s season is over, and backup QB Treon Harris is the next man up. Grier and Harris were battling for the starting spot preseason, however Grier won the starting job and excelled in the few games he’s started this season. Treon will now take over an offense that in years past has been Florida’s Achilles heel. Last years offense under Harris finished 88th in offensive efficiency, while this years team under Grier has ranked 37th.
With Grier out and Treon in, it’s obvious someone on this team needs to step up. The Florida defense has been dominant as always, ranking fourth in defensive efficiency so far this season. The defense has always been something Florida can hang its head on, and it will need to continue to be like that if Florida wants to have success this season. Treon Harris is stepping into a nice situation, as Florida is undefeated so far and first in the SEC East. However, the road won’t be easy for Treon as he has no leverage and breathing room to get comfortable. He and his Gator brothers, take on the number six ranked LSU Tigers at Death Valley, Louisiana, in a huge matchup this week. Following that game, Florida takes on rival Georgia for an SEC East matchup that can have major implications later on and then later in the schedule take on the team up North (Florida State) to finish off the season.
Losing Grier for the season is a huge loss for the Gators, as he seemed to finally be clicking and some were calling this team a dark house to make the College Football Playoff. Before the season, Florida was projected to finish last in the SEC East and currently mid-way through the season, are 6-0. They already overcame adversity once this preseason, can they do it again now mid-season?
Prediction for Florida @ LSU: This week the Gators take on the number six team in LSU and a Heisman candidate in RB Leonard Fournette. Fournette has been on a tear this season, already eclipsing 1000 yards rushing with 12 touchdowns in only six games through the season. This Gator defense is going to have a tough night stopping him and this LSU offense, but I think they can handle it. What will be their downfall is QB Treon Harris and the offense, as they won’t be able to produce in a crazy environment such as Death Valley. Florida picks up their first loss of the season in a close game.
Predicted Score: UF 10 LSU 21