If you listen to Las Vegas, the Gators have little shot against the Crimson Tide Saturday.
The fine folks at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas had Florida as a 19-point underdog on Sunday when it first posted a number — most other sportsbooks had UF as a 17-point dog.
That number has since been knocked down to between 14 and 15 depending on where you look.
If the sharks and casual fans with disposable income or a bit of an addiction don’t think UF is that bad, the mood in the locker room is even more optimistic.
"Like we said from the beginning, we’re all we got and we’re all we need," offensive lineman Max Garcia said. "We don’t need anyone else’s opinion or approval. We don’t need anyone else’s confidence in us. We have our confidence in ourselves and this team and this program. That’s just the way it’s going to be. People are writing us off, but that’s just how we want it. We’re going to go in there and compete."
Garcia shuns the notion that any victory over Alabama will be dumb luck for the Gators but more accurately a byproduct of realizing their potential and executing what they need to do to produce the desired result.
On Monday, coach Will Muschamp said the Gators had a decided advantage because of quarterback Jeff Driskel’s comfort with pressure situations and experience at quarterback.
It’s something that helps to neutralize the detriment caused by wide-eyed freshmen awed by the mystique surrounding the house the Bear built.
"Yeah, I think Jeff is going to be pretty solid in the pocket if we protect for him early on," Garcia said. "He’ll build that confidence and take those shots down the field that we didn’t capitalize on last week. It’ll make some big plays and really excited to use him to his fullest capability."
Garcia’s fellow offensive lineman Chaz Green was on the field against Alabama the last time it faced off against Florida in Gainesville.
He started the game, and was on the field for the opening play of the game when quarterback John Brantley connected with wide receiver Andre Debose for the game’s opening score.Green was also on the field the last time Florida traveled to Alabama.
Although he did not play in that 2011 matchup, when they returned home they were a beaten bunch only mustering six points in a 25-point loss.
Green was a wide-eyed freshman then just like many of his teammates are now.
"It’s going to be a crazy environment," Green said. "Last time I went there I was a freshman. I was a redshirt. I didn’t play. It was a crazy environment, real hectic. Very, very loud. They have good fan support. It’s just something that we have to prepare for. Make sure that everyone knows what they’re doing. Again, communication is going to be an issue with the noise."
Green’s right. It will be loud when 101,000 fans pack Bryant Denney on Saturday afternoon to watch the Tide play the role of favorite against a Gators team hoping to be a spoiler. But the Gators aren’t angling to play the role of spoiler if the definition has anything to do with the victory being some sort of a surprise.
Follow Richard Johnson on Twitter @RagjUF
UF football players celebrate following Florida's 36-30 triple-overtime win against Kentucky on Sept. 13 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.