2. At Florida Gators
Saturday, Sept. 21; Ben Hill Griffin Stadium; Gainesville, Fla.
Yes, the Florida Gators are a more difficult out for Tennessee football than the Georgia Bulldogs this year. And it’s not just because Florida has owned the Vols more than any other program the last 15 years.
Dan Mullen, similar to Urban Meyer, sees his program always take off in the second year. That’s the nature of the spread offense when effectively run. After a solid 10-win season in 2018, the spread taking off is fully expected this year.
That’s why everybody has Florida as a top 10 team. It’s a reasonable expectation to say they could finish ahead of the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC East simply because of that scheme, despite Georgia’s talent.
What is certainly clear, though, is they will be a tougher out for a program still rebuilding like the Vols. Jeremy Pruitt does have experience coaching against the spread, but Florida this year is going to be a different animal.
One thing that makes this even tougher is the fact that the Vols have to play Florida in The Swamp, where they haven’t won since 2003. In fact, over the last 16 times the two have faced off in Gainesville dating back to 1977, UT is only 2-14.
For what it’s worth, the Vols are also 0-1 against Dan Mullen, losing to the Mississippi State Bulldogs in 2012 when Derek Dooley was head coach. And yes, Jim Chaney and Derrick Ansley were on that staff. So despite what’s happening with Georgia, Florida remains a more difficult game for the Vols.