Heading into Saturday’s game between Florida and Tennessee, everything should be pointing in the Volunteers’ favor.

The game is being played in Knoxville. Florida will be without its starting quarterback Luke Del Rio, and Tennessee has (arguably) a deeper and more explosive offense.

However, the big Gator in the room persists: Can Tennessee get over the hump and beat its SEC East rival? As has been chronicled all week, Florida has won 11-straight against the Vols. While overall talent may lean towards those in orange and white, the Gators certainly hold the mental edge.

This was echoed by CBS analyst Gary Danielson. In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Danielson spoke about a number of SEC-centric topics.

Danielson took his current CBS gig about 10 years ago. At that time, he mentioned there being a clear difference when looking at the respective athleticism of both programs. Fast-forward to today, and Tennessee has caught up considerably in that department.

Essentially as Danielson intimated, no longer can UT rely on the excuse of not matching up talent-wise. At this point — according to Danielson — it’s all about mental fortitude and attitude:

“You can close your eyes and switch the uniforms with these guys and right now Florida thinks they’re going to win. And that’s really the whole thing about this football game. There is not a matchup, there’s not a play, there’s not a physicality part of the game – the biggest hurdle in this game is Florida knows somehow they’re going to win and Tennessee believes somehow how are we going to blow it this year? And it’s not just the players – last year’s meltdown in the last quarter of this game was by the coaching staff too. They took their foot off the gas, they played soft defense, they almost played a prevent defense on the last play of the game … it’s been almost system-wide – the coaches, the players and the fans have a mental block in this game.”

Should Tennessee be able to garner a victory, it could truly act as a springboard towards not only an SEC East Division title, but a conference crown as well.