If you are looking for one team to make a big jump up the SEC standings in 2018, Phil Steele believes you should be eyeing Florida.
This isn’t the first time in recent history Steele has been high on the Gators entering the season, as he picked Florida as his No. 1 surprise national contender last offseason. While he missed the mark pretty badly on that one, he believes all the misfortune suffered by the Gators in 2017 is unlikely to occur again and has faith that the program hired a coach capable of getting his team to overachieve this year.
During his recent appearance on Birmingham-based WJOX 94.5 FM radio program The Roundtable, Steele was asked to give his most improved team in the SEC for 2018. Steele went a step further and revealed the Gators as his No. 1 most improved team in the nation for the coming season.
“My most improved team this year, I’m going with the University of Florida,” Steele said on the air. “I think if it could go wrong, it went wrong last year for Florida. The suspended players, the injuries, losing the coach and now they get a head coach in Dan Mullen stepping in there who has always overachieved my expectations. To be honest with you, I’ve always picked Mississippi State sixth or seventh in the West, they always finish higher. I think Mullen, when he inherits 19 returning starters, will have Florida playing much better ball this year.”
That should give Florida fans plenty of optimism that Mullen can quickly turn around a program that should, at the very least, be going to bowl games every season. While most assume Georgia is going to once again run away with the East this coming season, if the Gators can upset the Dawgs in Jacksonville, there’s a chance it’s Florida making the trip to Atlanta come early December.