Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, left, has Florida coach Jim McElwain’s number in the rivalry, 2-0. Matt Stamey/Correspondent
Being in the SEC, Florida’s schedule is always tough and demanding, the kind that can lead to many sleepless nights for the head coach.
This year’s schedule is tougher than most. It starts tough — Michigan at Jerry’s World in Arlington, Texas. And ends even tougher — Florida State in The Swamp. In between, there are potential landmines almost everywhere you look, from LSU to Texas A&M to Georgia — to even Kentucky and Vanderbilt.
The positive angle for the Gators is that five of their six toughest games will be played in the state of Florida — four in The Swamp and one in Jacksonville.
In a tough, tough schedule, here are the Gators’ five toughest games in 2017:
5. At Kentucky, Sept. 23
Why it’s so tough: Yes, Kentucky. This could be the most dangerous game on the schedule because it’s on the road, it probably will be at night, and the Wildcats are determined to end their 30-game losing streak to the Gators. This could be their best shot in a long time. UK definitely is trending up the way the ’Cats closed last season with victories in seven of their last 11 games. Once junior Stephen Johnson was inserted at quarterback, the offense took off and was one of the most dynamic in the SEC over the final four or five games. There’s already a buzz in Lexington about this game, which could be a program changer.
Degree of difficulty (on a scale of 1 to 10): 7.5
Chances of a UF victory: 65 percent.
4. Georgia (in Jacksonville), Oct. 28
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