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Florida Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2022

Anthony Richardson, Florida Gators Football

Anthony Richardson and the Gators have a daunting schedule awaiting them as they embark on the Billy Napier era in Gainesville.

Coming off a trip to the SEC Championship Game, the 2021 season couldn't have gone much more poorly for the Florida Gators.

Not only did the Gators fail to win the SEC East for the second consecutive season, but the team finished with a 6-7 record, losing five of their last seven games. Also, Florida's biggest rival Georgia won its first national championship since 1980.

After a disappointing 2021 campaign, the Gators now have a new head coach in Billy Napier, who came over from Louisiana. However, expectations remain high in Gainesville as Florida will have to navigate a demanding schedule to stay competitive this season.

Related: Florida Football 2022 Season Preview and Prediction

Can the Gators bounce back in Napier's debut? The experts at Athlon Sports predict every game on Florida's 2022 football schedule.

Florida Football Game-by-Game Predictions for 2022

Steven LassanMark RossAntwan Staley

Utah

Utah

Utah

Utah

Kentucky

Kentucky

Florida

Florida

USF

Florida

Florida

Florida

at Tennessee

Tennessee

Tennessee

Tennessee

Eastern Washington

Florida

Florida

Florida

Missouri

Florida

Florida

Florida

LSU

Florida

Florida

Florida

vs. Georgia (Jacksonville, Fla.)

Georgia

Georgia

Georgia

at Texas A&M

Texas A&M

Texas A&M

Texas A&M

South Carolina

Florida

South Carolina

Florida

at Vanderbilt

Florida

Florida

Florida

at Florida State

Florida

Florida

Florida State

Final Record

7-5

7-5

7-5

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
New coach Billy Napier was one of the best hires of the offseason, and although there are question marks in Gainesville, the roster isn't completely devoid of talent. If the pieces fall into place early, exceeding expectations to finish second in the SEC East isn’t out of the question. Quarterback Anthony Richardson is one of the top breakout players for 2022, but his progress in developing more consistency as a passer and cutting down the mistakes will be tested right away with Utah and Kentucky in the first two games. The Gators need to replace their top two running backs and two of their top three receiving options from '21, but the backfield has depth in the form of Nay'Quan Wright and Montrell Johnson, while Arizona State transfer Ricky Pearsall should be a steady option on the outside. Louisiana transfer O’Cyrus Torrence should improve a line returning three starters, but also a unit searching for more consistency and better overall play. Florida’s defense struggled in each of the last two seasons and question marks remain about depth and difference makers along the line of scrimmage. The return of linebacker Ventrell Miller from injury, and the continued development of cornerback Jason Marshall Jr., provide reasons for optimism for new coordinator Patrick Toney. How far Richardson and the defense improves will decide just how high Florida finishes in the East. With the Utes and Wildcats up first, we won’t have to wait long to see how far this team has progressed since a 6-7 finish last year.

Mark Ross (@AthlonMarkR)
Hopefully, Florida fans will embrace one word when it comes to the 2022 season – patience. While Billy Napier may in fact be the right guy to get the Gators back to being a consistent SEC and national championship contender, it's probably going to take some time, especially looking at their schedule this year. Florida has a challenging first month of the season, opening with defending Pac-12 champion Utah and facing two SEC East foes. Even though three of their first four games are at home, the Gators may have to accept a 2-2 start. It doesn't get any easier after that either with LSU, Georgia, and Texas A&M in a row (with a bye week in between those first two). Barring a rash of injuries, Florida has enough talent to secure bowl eligibility, but this team may not have a very high ceiling. But take heart, Gator fans, the future should be brighter.

Antwan Staley (@antwanstaley)
Billy Napier could be the right man to return the Gators to glory and get them back to competing for national championships. However, Florida has a daunting schedule. Utah, Kentucky, and Tennessee on the road during the first month of the season certainly won't give Napier an extended honeymoon period.

After that, the Gators will have a stretch of playing LSU, Georgia, and at Texas A&M beginning in late October. Getting Anthony Richardson back healthy should certainly help Florida remain competitive throughout the year. The Gators should commit more to running the football, something fans often complained about.

Florida also returns eight starters on defense, including Brenton Cox Jr., who helped the team go from a historically bad defense in 2020 to an average one last season. Gator fans aren't used to six- and seven-win seasons, but that could be the case again this season.

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