JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – At this point in the season, Kentucky is the only SEC East team with a win over the West. In the next three weeks the Florida Gators will be at Arkansas, home against South Carolina and at LSU. Florida hasn’t beaten a west team on the road since 2012.
Not only would a win on Saturday at Arkansas end that streak, but it would also help Florida forget about what happened down the stretch last year. In 2015 the Gators dropped their final three games in lopsided fashion.
"We definitely have a stretch coming up," said defensive end Bryan Cox Jr. "But I feel like the leadership on this team is a little bit different then it was last year. I just feel like the cohesiveness between everybody is just ... we're all in a good place right now."
Florida is 9-0 against Arkansas since the former Southwest Conference member entered the SEC in 1992 and has won all three meetings in Fayetteville.
The Gators can clinch the Eastern Division and a berth in the SEC title game by winning two of their remaining three league games. That should provide plenty of motivation down the stretch.
"Every Saturday is a brand new event," said Gators head coach Jim McElwain. "I like where our guys are at as far as taking care of business. I think that second half of that one ball game down in Knoxville, I'm telling you, it was an eye-opener for guys. And to make you realize that you've got to play with energy every single snap and you can't let the past affect the future. We'll see what we learn."