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Florida's best 2015 win, most intriguing 2016 game

Florida's comeback victory over Tennessee in Gainesville last season gave them 11 in a row in the series. Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

This week on the SEC blog, we're taking a look back at each team's best 2015 game and a look ahead at their most intriguing game of the coming 2016 season. We started the series in the SEC West, so now we're turning our attention to SEC East champ Florida:

Florida's best 2015 win: Obviously, beating Georgia and Vanderbilt in back-to-back weeks to clinch the SEC East for the first time since 2009 was a major accomplishment in Jim McElwain's first year in Gainesville, but the Gators' best, most complete game of the season came at the beginning of October. Fresh off a stunning, 28-27 comeback victory over Tennessee in the Swamp, the Gators turned right around and shellacked No. 3 Ole Miss, which had beaten Alabama in Tuscaloosa a couple of weeks earlier, 38-10. The Rebels were the popular pick coming in, but Florida, which had a handful of players dealing with the flu during the days leading up to the game, raced out to a 25-0 halftime lead behind four touchdown passes from Will Grier. Florida forced four turnovers and sacked Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly four times in the game that put Florida on the map as a legitimate SEC contender.

Most intriguing 2016 game: All eyes will be on Knoxville, Tennessee, on Sept. 24, when the Gators travel to play the Vols. Consider the absolute meltdown by Tennessee in last season's loss to the Gators, add the fact Florida now has won 11 in a row in the series, and then combine the notion that these two should be in line to compete for the East title in 2016. This game has major implications for both teams. Tennessee looked like the best team in the East at the end of the 2015 season, but that loss to Florida early in the year helped derail the Vols' own long-awaited return to Atlanta. This Tennessee team, which returns a wealth of talent, is the early favorite to win the division, and chances are if the Vols are finally going to get out of their own way, they have to knock the Gators off their perch. Georgia also should be a threat in the division, so it's key for each to get this win early and put the other in a deep hole. This is also the first road test of the season for a Florida team that will be looking for a major offensive upgrade in 2016 and will have a steep challenge with the Vols' defense. There will be a ton of football to play afterward, but this is a major rivalry game and the Gators know that if they want to repeat as East champs, they have to get this win.