The game in front of the Florida Gators this afternoon is exactly what they need in order to prove themselves worthy of SEC East contention.

Florida struggled last season, finishing 4-8 just one year removed from a BCS bowl appearance. The Gators made some changes, highlighted by the hiring of new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper and Jeff Driskel is back from injury and ready to lead the Gators to contention in the SEC East.

But before Florida can even begin to think about making a run for the SEC East title, they’ll need to get by Alabama on the road. Going into this game, Florida is a two-score underdog to the No. 3 ranked Crimson Tide. Not many people expect them to win and while the Gators would obviously love to upset Alabama on the road, it’s not a necessity for the Gators to get their point across.

If Will Muschamp is able to get his team to compete with Alabama for 60 minutes and keep the game close, I believe Florida would once again be taken seriously again in the SEC East.

Because right now Florida is the fourth-best team in the SEC East behind South Carolina, Georgia and Missouri. And while a loss would knock them out of first-place in the division, a close contest would certainly open up eyes around the conference.

There’s no question that Florida lost its swagger last season and losses to Vanderbilt and Georgia Southern at The Swamp didn’t help, either. But today is a chance for Florida to get their swagger back. Today is an opportunity for the Orange and Blue to prove they can compete again with the SEC’s best and that is without a doubt the most important aspect facing the Gators in Bryant-Denny Stadium this afternoon.