Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Gators of all ages, step right up and play the hottest game in Gainesville!
Everybody loves a good quarterback controversy. In lieu of the weeks of media scrutiny and fan theories that would’ve come out of that, we’ve devised a new game for the public to play for the final few weeks of Florida’s regular-season schedule.
Say it with me, folks: WILL! HE! PLAY!
The goal is simple. The Gators (7-3, 5-3 SEC) have three games left this season. Freshman quarterback Emory Jones can play in two before he loses his redshirt capabilities, which coach Dan Mullen said he wants to keep intact.
Which contests will Jones see playing time in? How long will he stay in those games? Spin the wheel of redshirt to find out!
This is a tempting selection, right? Mullen could opt to get his young quarterback time against a soft defense and undersized competition (Seriously, this team gave up 62 points to Idaho State and 79 to Fresno State). The last thing you want as a coach is to have your redshirt candidate to be absolutely demolished and demoralized against stronger competition. Why not get him some successful reps that he can build some confidence off of?
The only trouble here is the benefit. Idaho isn’t exactly a grand stage. You want your potential 2019 starter to know how a big-game environment feels.
Overall though, this game seems like a win-win for Mullen and the fans. At the very least, our eyes won’t be glazed over by Franks handing the ball off to Jordan Scarlett, Lamical Perine and Kadarius Toney.
Overall probability of a Jones sighting: 7/10. About as likely as seeing your ex at the grocery store.
Florida State (11/24)
Don’t let the noon kickoff fool you. This is a huge game for Mullen and the Gators. The last UF win against FSU was just after President Obama was elected to his second term. If Mullen wants to get Jones his first high-stakes playing time outside of the Georgia game, this is it.
This year couldn’t present better timing. The Seminoles’ defense can't stop a slug with salt, and the Gators should find themselves up by a bunch by halftime.
The only issue here is the rivalry factor. If FSU comes to play that afternoon, it could be a close matchup all the way through. Would Mullen want to risk burning Jones’ redshirt in a tightly contested rivalry game?
That depends on if Jones was used the previous week. Seeing as how that’s a high possibility, I can’t see why Mullen would.
Overall probability of a Jones sighting: 3/10. Roughly the chances of seeing your mom at Rowdy Reptile.
Unknown Bowl Game (TBD)
Whether it’s a New Year’s Six matchup or the Bad Boys Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, this is the one for sure.
A few weeks’ worth of extra practice on stuff Jones can run in-game is too much for Mullen to pass up. You also have the added tension and drama of a potentially close game against an out-of-conference opponent.
If Mullen has already used Jones in both the previous games, this is absolutely off the table. But Mullen’s a smart guy. He knows what he wants. And he wants Jones to play on this stage. So do we.
Overall probability of a Jones sighting: 11/10. Seeing the impending C's on your report card in your dreams and in real life.
Morgan McMullen is the sports editor at The Alligator. Follow him on Twitter @MorganMcMuffin and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Quarterback Emory Jones (right) has only two games of leeway remaining on his freshman redshirt.