My friend and colleague, online sports editor Mark Stine, wrote a column at the beginning of the football season with two bold predictions about the Gators football team.
Well, bold because Florida was coming off a 4-7 season and seemed destined to repeat that record, but nevertheless, they were, indeed, bold.
It’s Week 7 of the college football season, the midway point for most teams, and the Gators are sitting at 5-1. Already a major improvement from last year.
One of those bold predictions are no longer looking as far fetched. I thought it would be fun to look back at Stine’s column and see if his projections are taking effect.
Probably not going to happen: UF finishes top-3 in rushing in SEC
This will almost certainly not happen unless Florida decides to do nothing but run the ball for the rest of the season.
And even then, they probably won’t crack the top 3.
The Gators, as they stand now, are ninth in the SEC with 181.5 rushing yards per game. Kentucky, which is third, has 223.5 yards per game.
Of course, it didn’t help that sophomore Malik Davis broke his foot and has missed most of the season. A UF running back also hasn’t rushed for over 100 yards once this season.
Even the return of Jordan Scarlett hasn’t done much to boost Florida’s rushing effort. He is averaging five yards a carry. And freshman Dameon Pierce, who has only 25 attempts on the season, is one of the team leaders in rushing with 255 yards.
Like I said before, Florida probably won’t finish in the top 3 in rushing in the SEC. In fact, it might end up finishing worse than it is now.
Could Happen: Jachai Polite finishes with All-SEC honors
Stine called that Polite would have a breakout season in 2018, and midway through the year, it’s safe to say he is.
Polite could definitely earn All-SEC honors if he continues the way he has been playing as of late.
He has recorded at least a sack in each of Florida’s last four games and has had a tackle for loss in all but one game.
It also seems like Polite plays better against ranked opponents. He sacked Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald and LSU quarterback Joe Burrow twice each and recorded a pass breakup in both games. Against LSU, Polite recorded a season-high six tackles.
He is ninth on the team in tackles, which is also first out of everyone on the defensive line. He is also tied for the most sacks in the NCAA with six.
If he keeps playing the way he has been, I could definitely see All-SEC honors in Polite’s future.
Jake Dreilinger is the assistant sports editor of the Alligator. Follow him on Twitter @DreilingerJake and contact him at email@example.com.