Florida Football: The Gators' Road to the 2013 BCS

Tyler Piccotti@@SYRTylerPContributor IIIOctober 21, 2013

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 05:  Max Garcia #76 of the Florida Gators celebrates with fans following a victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Last season, the Florida Gators rode an improbable string of big victories over ranked teams to earn an at-large BCS berth. However, the end result was a loss to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl.

After receiving the No. 10 ranking in the AP Top 25 poll prior to the start of 2013, it appeared the Gators would have another legitimate shot at a BCS berth.

But after seven games in what has been a tumultuous campaign to date, Florida is on the outside of the BCS picture. Key losses against Missouri, Miami (Fl.) and LSU have put the Gators in a position where they need to not only win, but also receive help.

Where Florida Stands
RecordAPCoachesStrength of ScheduleBCS Ranking
Week 9 Polls

Biggest Obstacles to a BCS Berth

The Gators have three games that they absolutely need to win, and they're all conference games.

The first is their showdown against Georgia on Nov. 2 in Jacksonville. Georgia is no longer ranked in the AP Top 25, but it is a conference opponent the Gators need to beat to keep their slim hopes on life support. Plus, a big win in this rivalry game could spark the team the rest of the way.

The second is their clash with South Carolina. Florida embarrassed the Gamecocks last season, and Steve Spurrier's team is now fighting for its BCS life after a big loss to Tennessee. If the Gators can claim a victory against this tough foe, they might even be able to slightly climb the BCS rankings.

Finally, as odd as this sounds, the Gators need to beat Vanderbilt. The game against Florida State no longer matters. The only way they can make a BCS game is by winning their remaining SEC games and earning a miraculous victory in the SEC title game. Because of this, the Commodores hold a great deal of importance. Florida has to do its part by beating them.

Florida's Remaining Schedule
November 2Georgia (in Jacksonville)
November 9Vanderbilt
November 16@ South Carolina
November 23Georgia Southern
November 30Florida State

Help Needed

The Gators could have done themselves a huge favor by beating Missouri. Instead, the Tigers now hold a two-game advantage in the loss column. The Gators now need the Tigers to lose, and lose often, so that they can attempt to make a run at the SEC East.

Yes, it will look good that Tennessee beat South Carolina, assuming that the Gators beat the Gamecocks. The same situation could potentially apply for Vanderbilt and Georgia. However, these two gold stars won't be enough for the Gators to somehow jump a one-loss Pac-12 team or many other teams currently ahead of them.

The Big Picture

Strength of schedule is no longer an issue. There is no conceivable way the Gators can receive an at-large berth. They have to win every game, while hoping that Missouri collapses, and win the SEC title game. It's the only option.

LEXINGTON, KY - SEPTEMBER 28:   Tyler Murphy #3  of the Florida Gators runs with the ball while defended by Nate Willis #21 of the Kentucky Wildcats during the game at Commonwealth Stadium on September 28, 2013 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyon
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Final Bowl Prediction

The Gators are currently a mess, and it's very unlikely that they will all of a sudden begin a complete turnaround. They will win two of their remaining games and barely squeak into the Gator Bowl.


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