GAINESVILLE — The Florida Gators could not have scripted much of a better start than the one they had Saturday night against No. 5 Florida State.

Their new, inexperienced starting quarterback was poised and accurate while FSU’s struggled. They watched their opponent make the kind of mind-numbing mistakes — delay of game penalties, sloppy special teams — that derailed themselves through most of the first 11 games. They got fortuitous bounces and fortuitous calls, won the battle for hidden yardage, finally played the blend of complementary football Billy Napier has been promising and even got an emotional boost by honoring Tim Tebow.

It still wasn’t enough to avoid a 24-15 loss to the Seminoles. All the progress Florida showed unraveled, again. Florida (5-7) watched its shot at bowl eligibility slip away with every missed tackle, whiffed block and bad penalty. Then the Gators had to watch the Seminoles (12-0) celebrate a perfect regular season on their home field.

But arguably the worst part about it was how predictable it all was. Florida led in each of the final five games this season — and lost them all. The Gators went up 7-0 on Georgia before giving up 36 points in a row. Florida led Arkansas by a field goal with 3 minutes left, led LSU by four midway through the third quarter and led Missouri by a poin

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