1- A DAMN QUARTERBACK.
The post-Tebow era has been a rough one for Gator fans and well… The guys under center. Florida witnessed a flash of greatness with Will Grier throwing the ball. Unfortunately for us, that young man has packed his bags and plans to succeed in Dana Holgorsen’s offense at WV. Sounds like a punch to the gut, right? Well, watching the crippled Appleby or Del Rio offense made it worse- like a Mike Tyson punch to the mid section worse. I want a world with consistency at the quarterback position at Florida! Is that too much to ask for, 2017?
2- A baseball national championship
Some really good Florida baseball teams have gone to the College World Series. Five times from 2010-2016 to be exact. But now for the question that the casual sports fan would ask next- how many championships? 4? 2? 1? The answer to that is, well, ZERO. A talented UF team was pushed out early last year, but with returning talent and an itch for the title I think that the team has a great chance at a run with skilled young talent and experienced vets returning. I don’t want to be heartbroken over a speed bump that flips us head over heels into a ditch next June, I want a CWS trophy on campus this summer.
3- Continued pitching dominance.
Let’s stay on the baseball diamond for this next one. The spotlight on Gator baseball now goes to pitching, just like it has in recent years, but this time the spotlight shines on whether or not the Gators can rebound from losing significant talent at the mound. The University of Florida is starving for a World Series title and now for a shocking prediction, I believe that this year’s pitching will be the key inside of the ignition. Cough Alex Faedo. But who else will step up? Look for sophomores Jackson Kowar and Brady Singer to develop into stars, but even if they do, new faces will need to emerge to hold down the bullpen.
4- An SEC basketball championship
Right now the young but talented (seems appropriate wording for a couple of UF teams) basketball roster sits at 23rd in the AP poll. I personally see a lot of potential in this Mike White team. I hope that I’m not let down because I most certainly see a respectable and superb run in the tournament this year *fingers crossed*, so why not an SEC title? Yeah, I said it, no I’m not backing down from it and yes I do realize that Kentucky is in the SEC, but that won’t stop me from wishing for it while maintaining a realistic hope that it will happen. KeVaughn Allen, and Canyon Barry, let’s make this happen.
5- A win over Michigan to start the 2017 football season.
Having a Michigan friend, it’s only right if I add this to the Gator wish list. Last year’s loss to the Wolverines was rough, but to kick off the season? Horrible. It’s incredibly rare for the Gators to play such a competitive opponent at the start of the season. Last time this happened was against Miami in 2013 and we lost; with that being said, I should also add that Driskel was taking snaps as Muschamp stood on the sidelines bewildered at the game of football. I’ve been waiting a long time for a prime time season opener. Now my Gators are playing at Cowboy Stadium against a good opponent? Pretty cool huh? I hope you read that in the Jim McElwain voice, and I hope we get to hear him say it on September 2. A win here would be a great way to jumpstart the season.
6- A sweep of our football rivals
All sport fans look at the season schedule and circle the rivalry games. It’s natural and I’m no different. I want the Florida Gator football team to get the hat trick, and by that I mean, a win over FSU, UGA and UT. 2009 was the last time that this has happened. That’s two coaches and eight years ago, which is about a hundred years in football time. If McElwain can get a guy to throw the football to the right team consistently and make throws when needed- wish number one- I think we have a good shot.
7- A softball national championship
We can all agree that the Gator softball squad is good. I don’t think that anyone would argue that. I would even say that the ladies softball team is the most competitive sport for the University year in and year out. Unfortunately for the 2016 team, a championship was not their destiny. If they had won it all last year, they would have been the second team to ever three peat the championship. That means 3 national championships in 3 years and these women almost did it. Failing to pull that off should make Tim Walton’s crew hungry, so I guess the 2017 season is as good a time as any to reclaim dominance. These girls have talent, basically everywhere. The three headed pitching monster of Delaney Gourley, Kelly Barnhill and Aleshia Ocasio should shut most teams down, and if the Gators can heat up their bats, they’ll be tough to beat.
8- Better football recruiting
Recruiting has an obvious gigantic correlation with success in college sports. In the two major sports, Florida ranked 11th in basketball and 12th in football according to espn.com. Now, these are certainly not bad positions to be in and are easily accessible to build off of; however, that’s not enough to compete for national championships. Florida should be in or near the top five every year (meaning if we finish sixth sometimes nobody is going to complain). This is certainly not implausible when you step back and remember the easily sellable brand that is UF. At the end of the day, good recruiting means winning; great recruiting means more winning, and I like winning. We all do!
9- Collective team health
My final wish would be for nobody on any Gator roster to suffer any injuries. A great way for a great team in any sport to be halted is by injuries and those add up, folks. If you have watched any Gator football the past couple of years, you know this. Not only would it be great for fans, but also the Gator athletes from softball all the way to the swim team. It’s absolutely disgusting to see a player’s career ruined over a nasty injury. Even a few bad bruises can limit players. JUST SAY NO.