Thoughts of the Day: October 26, 2020

A few thoughts to jump start your Monday morning:

If the 10th-ranked Florida Gators (2-1) had been able to practice last week, you might feel a bit more confident heading into Saturday’s matchup with a very surprising Missouri (2-2) team that will arrive in Gainesville riding the momentum of a most unexpected two-game winning streak. Since all football operations have been shut down for about 10 days there are far too many variables in the Gators’ equation, especially on the defensive side of the football.

Over on the offensive side, Dan Mullen has a veteran quarterback in Kyle Trask who ranks sixth nationally in passing efficiency (quarterback rating of 196), sixth in passing yards per game (332) and seventh in touchdown passes (14). Mullen has the nation’s best tight end in Kyle Pitts (17-274, 7 TDs), the SEC’s most versatile offensive weapon in Kadarius Toney (18-237, 4 TDs receiving; 5-60 rushing) and a veteran offensive line that might see Ethan White (6-5, 335, SO) return from injury this week. With so many veterans who were playing at such a high level when Covid-19 forced back-to-back open weekends, the offense seems the least of Florida’s worries heading into the Missouri game.

Defense? That’s a different story. Had they been able to practice last week, coordinator Todd Grantham might have been able to implement some personnel and scheme changes. Because the Gators start game-week preparations today, it’s going to be very difficult to make a lot of changes on the fly, particularly against a Mizzou team that threw it all over the ball yard to beat LSU and then ran it right down Kentucky’s throats to win that one.

Of course, there is also the matter of who’s available and who’s not coming off of quarantine. How many were false positives? How many had the equivalent of the sniffles or a mild cold? How many recovered quickly? Are there players still in quarantine? The Gators should have no problems meeting the SEC minimum of 53 available players but even if they’re at full strength will there be lingering physical issues from this shutdown? The earliest we’ll know any of those answers will be at Mullen’s midday press conference.

ASSOCIATED PRESS TOP 25 POLL

(1) Clemson 6-0; (2) Alabama 5-0; (3) Ohio State 1-0; (4) Note Dame 5-0; (5) Georgia 3-1; (6) Oklahoma State 4-0; (7) Cincinnati 4-0; (8) Texas A&M 3-1; (9) Wisconsin 1-0; (10) FLORIDA 2-1; (11) BYU 6-0; (12) Miami 5-1; (13) Michigan 1-0; (14) Oregon 0-0; (15) North Carolina 4-1; (16) Kansas State 4-1; (17) Indiana 1-0; (18) Penn State 0-1; (19) Marshall 5-0; (20) Coastal Carolina 5-0; (21) Southern Cal 0-0; (22) SMU 5-1; (23) Iowa State 3-2; (24) Oklahoma 3-2; (25) Boise State 1-0

COACHES TOP 25 POLL

(1) Clemson 6-0; (2) Alabama 5-0; (3) Ohio State 1-0; (4) Notre Dame 5-0; (5) Georgia 3-1; (6) Oklahoma State 4-0; (7) Cincinnati 4-0; (8) Texas A&M; (9) FLORIDA 2-1; (10) BYU 6-0; (11) Wisconsin 1-0; (12) Miami 5-1; (13) North Carolina 4-1; (15) Oregon 0-0; (16) Kansas State 4-1; (17) Penn State 0-1; (18) Marshall 5-0; (19) Indiana 1-0; (20) Southern Cal 0-0; (21) Coastal Carolina 5-0; (22) Iowa State 3-2; (23) SMU 5-1; (24) Oklahoma 3-2; (25) Army 6-1