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Monday, January 30, 2023

The start of a new semester means facing some hard truths.

Studying is overrated.

Your professor’s office hours are a warning to stay away from them during that time.

Florida is going to make the College Football Playoff.

Yes, you heard right. No, Brian Jones of CBS Sports isn’t alone in his thinking. Florida is going to make the College Football Playoff this season. Shut up, I’m not crazy, you are!

“Florida gets in over Alabama?” you ask. “Georgia? Auburn?”

Well, yeah, no s***. Twitter mocked Jones to no end, but I can see the forest through the trees. You’re not alone, my strange friend.

Is it so ludicrous to suggest Florida starts off 7-0 — taking down a pair of ranked teams in Mississippi State and LSU along the way — heading into the Game Formerly Known As The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party? From there, it’s a straight shot through to Atlanta to knock off Bama/Auburn in the SEC Championship.

Maybe you aren’t a student of the game such as myself. I played quarterback for two seasons in Pop Warner, which is where I learned everything the game has to offer on all levels. You can trust me.

And really, who doesn’t buy the hype surrounding this program? Overpaid ESPN hacks with a vested interest in making sure Bama plays Clemson every single year? “Rational” critics? “Expert” former coaches?

There’s a reason Jim Mora’s out of a coaching gig and into the ESPN minstrel show. There’s a reason Gene Chizik spent a few years holed up in the house of the mouse. They’re part of the Bama-Clemson collusion too. You know it, and so do they.

Now that the truth has carpet bombed the peaceful land of complacency, you can’t un-see it. You can’t un-feel it in the sinew of your bones.

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What has coach Dan Mullen had to work with since leaving Gainesville in 2009? Some dude named Dak and scrub coaches like John Hevesy and Billy Gonzales. But it’s all good now. The rocket arm attached to a body known as Feleipe Franks doesn’t have “lose” in its vocabulary. Phrases like “throw the ball away” and “make good decisions” aren’t in there either, but hey, as long as every game comes down to a tie-breaking Hail Mary, the offense is golden.

The defense is switching to a 3-4 scheme, which means a seamless transition into new terminology and techniques is at hand. Can you imagine CeCe Jefferson coming off the edge from a linebacker spot? How about a revamped defensive line which ranked 50th in the nation against the run last season? Or that nice 69th overall defense in 2017? The real storyline everyone is missing is how Randy Shannon mismanaged all that talent.

I’d say with that considered, UF is a sure thing for the playoffs.

Sure, you could go with the “safe” bet. Bama, Clemson, Wisconsin. But who’s in that No. 4 spot? Ohio State? Georgia? UCF?!

Please. The Knights' 2017 national championship aside, the playoff committee won’t consider a 10-win AAC champion. Georgia gets to lose to Auburn two weeks after it loses to Florida. Ohio State fans will be too busy erecting golden statues of Urban Meyer kissing babies and hugging assault victims to actually go to the games.

That leaves one of two possibilities. That fourth team could be a fringe overachiever like Washington, Stanford or Florida State. New FSU coach Willie Taggart is renowned for building lasting legacies. Washington’s Chris Petersen knows a thing or two about breaking through the brick ceiling in his time at Boise State. Stanford coach David Shaw has already ascended the mountaintop that is the Foster Farms Bowl.

But let’s be real. It’ll be Florida.

Morgan McMullen is the sports editor at The Alligator. Follow him on Twitter @MorganMcMuffin and contact him at mmcmullen@alligator.org.

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