Florida football: Path to contention narrows, but all is not lost

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After two weeks of shakiness, the dam finally collapsed on Dan Mullen as his defense put up one of the worst performances seen from a Florida football team in years in a loss to Texas A&M.

Wasted was another magnificent performance by a lethal Gators offense that scored on nearly every single possession. Led by quarterback Kyle Trask and tight end Kyle Pitts, the offense’s maestro-like procession down the field was countered by a defensive effort that forced a grand total of one punt and one turnover, dropped countless interception opportunities and failed to get a stop at the end of the fourth quarter with the game on the line.

Not all is lost, but this is a damning showing from a team with every opportunity to insert itself into the realm of college football’s elite. The defense looked far from watertight in the team’s first two games but is now officially a crucial problem that must be addressed immediately if this team hopes to redeem it’s season.

If there is any consolation, it’s defenses around the country look well off the mark this year. Big 12 pillars Texas and Oklahoma find themselves outside the AP poll entirely largely due to defensive collapses against inferior opponents. Florida’s upcoming opponent LSU became the first defending national champion since Auburn in 2011 to fall outside the top 25 after allowing even more points to Missouri than Florida did versus the Aggies.

The Gators dropped to No. 10 in this week’s poll after giving A&M boss Jimbo Fisher his first top five win at the program. Florida football still has a path to the College Football Playoff despite this stain on its resume but will need to win out their remaining schedule, including next week’s tilt with LSU and most notably the contest with Georgia two weeks after, not to mention a potential SEC title game.

Florida football remains a team with immense potential, largely on the shoulders of Trask, Pitts and the rest of the offense. The defense firmly established itself as a major cause for concern and will need to be remedied immediately if this team wants to make good on its opportunity this season.

Photo courtesy of FloridaGators.com