Thursday night, the SEC Network revealed the 2016 SEC football schedule for all 14 of the conference’s teams. In case you missed it, here is Florida’s full schedule. Now that the Gators know exactly who they’ll be facing on Saturdays next year, let’s dive into further analysis of what the future has in store.
Best matchup — LSU
The two teams could potentially meet in the SEC Championship game later this season, but if they don’t, this would be the first chance at revenge for Florida. The Gators played the Tigers close in Death Valley, despite facing adversity earlier that week when it was announced starting quarterback Will Grier would be suspended for a year.
Toughest matchup — Bye week teams
Florida didn’t get any love from the schedule makers for next season. Three games — vs. Missouri, vs. UGA and at Arkansas — will be against teams coming off a bye week, which means those squads will be well-rested. As always, the Gators will have a bye before the UGA game, but it’s not common for UF to go up against two other teams coming off byes.
Toughest stretch of the schedule — Sept. 24 – Oct. 29
During this stretch of the season, Florida will travel to Tennessee, who, you know, hasn’t beaten the Gators in 11 years but came close to snapping the losing streak this season. Florida fans know what happened in that game. As I mentioned above, the Gators will then travel to Vanderbilt — setting up a classic trap game scenario before hosting LSU in The Swamp. After LSU, Florida hosts Missouri, which has really struggled this season, but freshman quarterback Drew Lock will have almost a year of experience under his belt by then. The Missouri game is also supposed to be when Grier is scheduled to return from his suspension, unless it’s reduced. We’ll see if he starts that week. UF will then have a bye week before heading to Jacksonville to face UGA.
Biggest trap game — Vanderbilt
The Gators have to travel to Nashville after playing at Tennessee and before hosting LSU. Vanderbilt is getting better, and the Commodores are a squad that Florida cannot overlook before an SEC showdown with LSU.