Longtime doormat Vandy eyes a shot at Gators

Will MuschampJames Franklin

On Saturday the Vanderbilt Commodores are set to traverse down to Gainesville to battle the Florida Gators in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (“the Swamp”), a matchup featuring SEC East division foes. To fans and outside observers, this game appears to be a mismatch in favor of the Gators upon first examination of the two opposing programs. After all, the Commodores and the Gators exist at polar opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of inherent advantages and resources available at the disposal of the two respective schools. Vanderbilt may very well be facing the most difficult uphill battle in constructing a competitive football program on an annual basis, as the school is the sole private institution with rigorous academics and admissions standards in the football-crazed Southeastern Conference. Conversely Florida is arguably the most lucrative position in the conference in possessing innumerable inherent advantages at its disposal, including an immensely fertile recruiting ground and tremendous facilities which are matched by only a select few.

In spite of the immense disparity in comparing available resources at Florida and Vanderbilt, the Commodores should feel confident in their chances for the first time in a while in this series. The Gators limp in to this weekend’s meeting, fresh off a disappointing 23-20 defeat to bitter rival Georgia which again exposed UF’s tremendous deficiencies and limitations on offense. The loss marked Florida’s fourth overall on the season, a defeat which essentially eliminates the orange and blue from legitimate contention for the SEC East division; the motivation level remaining at this point in the season is very much in question concerning the UF players. Conversely the Commodores are undoubtedly thrilled at the opportunity to play in the Swamp with nothing to lose and at the prospects of upsetting such a highly acclaimed program of Florida’s stature.

The perfect storm may be brewing for the Vanderbilt Commodores, with Saturday’s matchup at Florida looming on the horizon. Much negativity is swirling within the Gators fanbase around the UF program, and skepticism understandably persists surrounding Florida’s excitement and motivation level for playing Vanderbilt. David believes Goliath is vulnerable.

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