- Florida-Tennessee game hot topic
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Date: Wednesday, July 13 2016
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Florida-Tennessee game hot topic

HOOVER, Ala. - The Sept. 24 game between Florida and Tennessee at Neyland Stadium is being circled by not only both teams, but fans and media as well.

This year's game is a pivotal one for both programs, but more for Tennessee. The Vols have lost 11 in a row to the Gators and 23 of the last 31. For Tennessee to become a credible contender this season, it must beat Florida. If not now, when?

The media seemed to be curious about this game, which is months away, too. Florida defensive back Jalen Tabor, who is touted as one of the best secondary players in the country, wasn't even invited to SEC Media Days, yet he conducted his own presser via Twitter.

Tabor had been outspoken in his insistence that Florida would capture their 12th straight win over the Vols. He even was asked about it on Periscope, a social media vehicle. Will the Gators beat Florida this year? Said Tabor: "No doubt."

Florida offensive lineman David Sharpe said that he's excited and motivated to play Tennessee: "I can't wait to play those guys."

Of course, the smack talk could start a social-media war, but the Vols, when asked Tuesday at SEC Media Days, about the date with Florida, sidestepped the queries. Certainly, they know the importance of that game, but first things first. Tennessee  Jalen Reeves-Maybin underscored the fact that it will be a while before the Vols play Florida.

“Every game is important; you can’t slip up in college football. It’s not like basketball where you can lose a few games and get by," said Reeves-Maybin.  "We come out with a mentality that any given Saturday anyone can be beat. We’re focused on ourselves, having each other's back, developing from an internal standpoint. From the outside, there's dissecting the schedule, but we just come in to work and know everything will handle itself."

Tennessee defensive back Cameron Sutton didn't bite, either. He wanted no part of the Florida game until game week with the Gators.

 "I don't really get into that or get involved in that," Sutton said.  "That's not my priority or something I worry about, but obviously we see it because a lot of our guys are connected to social media and it's something we cannot really turn ourselves from, but we have a lot more to worry about than just that."

Joshua Dobbs, Sutton and Reeves-Maybin were united in their stance on the Florida game.

Said Dobbs: "Our most important game is on Sept. 1 (vs. Appalachian State). We'll worry about Florida when the time comes."

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