Despite an offense that was lousy at times, Florida showed big improvement in Year Two under head coach Will Muschamp, finishing the regular season 11-1 and earning a Sugar Bowl berth. Thanks to that great leap forward, the Gators will be expected to compete for an SEC East title in 2013. But it won't be easy, as the schedule features a few potential land mines:
2013 Florida schedule
Projections from Football Outsiders' 2013 college football almanac.
The first month of the season features a home game against Tennessee sandwiched between road trips to Miami and Kentucky. That might not seem too daunting, and Florida should make it through the month unscathed, but the Gators will have to be sharp in the early going. The Volunteers and Wildcats made coaching upgrades over the offseason, and the Hurricanes will have talent and a home-field advantage.
October doesn't look too bad aside from one major exception: the away game at LSU. As Les Miles likes to say, Death Valley is a place where visiting teams' dreams go to die, and that could be the case for Florida in 2013. It certainly wouldn't be a big surprise if a 5-0 Gators team went into Baton Rouge and left town 5-1.
If the first two-thirds of the schedule seem mostly manageable, the final month is anything but. Florida begins November with the annual showdown against Georgia, looking for its first win over the Bulldogs since 2010. After that, a home game against a better-than-usual Vanderbilt team could provide some danger, and the contests at South Carolina and at home against Florida State could be the Gators' stiffest tests of the season.