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|
|Record||AP||Coaches||Strength of Schedule||BCS 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 2||Georgia (in Jacksonville)|
|November 16||@ South Carolina|
|November 23||Georgia Southern|
|November 30||Florida State|
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.
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.