Looking Ahead: Florida Gators vs. LSU Tigers 2020 Matchup
The (projected) college football season is quickly approaching and with that. we take a look at the team's second-most important matchup of the season against the LSU Tigers.
RELATED: Looking Ahead - Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs 2020
While the rivalry between Florida and LSU isn't as significant as Florida and Georgia, it still comes with plenty of history behind it.
Following the separation of the SEC into east and west in 1992, both Florida and LSU were separated, becoming cross-divisional rivals. The two teams have faced off a total of 69 times with Florida holding a slim lead of 33-30-3. The two teams have met every year since 1971, becoming one of the more competitive cross-division rivalries in the country.
Since 2000, the Gators and Tigers have combined for eight SEC titles and six national championships with LSU winning five conference championships and four national titles, and Florida winning three conference championships and two national titles.
A Look Back:
The Gators and Tigers have been overly competition for years, however, the Tigers have recently turned the tide in their favor, winning seven out of the last 10 matchups, including last year's matchup in Death Valley 42-28. The Tigers also were able to secure their first SEC title since 2011 with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, quarterback Joe Burrow, leading the way.
While the score doesn't appear to be close from the Gators' perspective, the game actually came down to the wire ... until it didn't.
With 7:50 remaining in the third quarter, Florida maintained a lead of 28-21, giving them a winning probability of 52.8%. The game seemed to be going in Florida's favor, however, after a couple of stalled drives, the Tigers simply couldn't be stopped for much longer.
Burrow would go on to complete 21/24 of his passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns on the night, marking one of the best games the quarterback had in 2019 - of which there were many.
The Gators still came out of the game with a positive, not only did they compete well with the eventual national champions, but quarterback Kyle Trask had one of his most impressive outings, completing 23/39 of his passes for 310 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
A Look Ahead:
It would be foolish to assume the Tigers won't remain one of the most talented programs in the nation. LSU head coach Ed Orgeron has proven plenty, becoming the first SEC team since Auburn in 2010 to field an undefeated program.
However, the Tigers will not be without their potential struggles as they make major transitions heading into 2020. Not only will prodigy offensive coordinator, Joe Brady, be replaced after making a jump with former Baylor head coach Matt Rhule to the Carolina Panthers in the NFL, but they'll Also be losing their most important player in Burrow.
Burrow will ultimately be replaced with inexperienced, redshirt junior quarterback Myles Brennan.
Similar to the Bulldogs, LSU will also be losing a few key components besides their quarterback. The only returning 2019 starting offensive lineman for the Tigers will be senior tackle Austin Deculus after Damien Lewis, Adrian Magee, Badara Traore, Lloyd Cushenberry and Saahdiq Charles left either due to graduating or entering the NFL Draft.
The Tigers will also be losing running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and wide receiver Justin Jefferson who were selected within the first two rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Simply put, the Tigers will be a new team offensively in 2020.
From the Gators' perspective, when the two teams ultimately meet for the scheduled-October 10th matchup in The Swamp, they should be much more equipped to handle LSU. While the Gators too lost important players to the NFL Draft this year, they will be returning significantly more talent - stability wise - than the Tigers will offensively - their adjustment period won't be nearly as long.
Ultimately, this will be the Gators' second-most important matchup of the year and will come just a couple of weeks prior to their most-important matchup against the Bulldogs at the annual Florida-Georgia event. The prospect of defeating the defending national champions seems to be much more probable than many would have suspected just a year ago.