It was one of those victories that should do wonders for a rebuilding program like the one Billy Napier is at the helm of. Conversely, it is another head-scratcher for Josh Heupel's team now in year three of him leading Vol Nation. Yes, this is a bitter SEC East rivalry game, but to see a struggling team like Florida beat a potential College Football Playoff contender like Tennessee certainly speaks volumes.
Here is what Napier's second signature victory at the helm of Florida means for his Gators program.
Florida stuns Tennessee in The Swamp: What it means for the Gators
What this win does for the Gators in the short term is pretty simple. Barring a horrific collapse down the stretch, this win is substantial enough to get Napier a third year on the job, pretty much no matter what. While it remains to be seen if the Gators can actually build off this, unlike the Utah victory in Gainesville a year ago, Florida now has every reason to believe it can compete in SEC play right away.
As far as medium-term is concerned, Florida could potentially emerge as Georgia's likeliest challenger in the SEC East this season. Admittedly, that could still be Tennessee, and it is not like the Dawgs have looked like world-beaters three games into their second consecutive title defense. So somewhat realistically, Florida can look at its seven remaining SEC foes as teams it could defeat.
And with the long-term implications, it shifts the narrative a bit in the SEC East. It gives Napier a bit more cachet, while simultaneously dinging Heupel's Vols program a smidge. Winning on the road is hard, especially in the SEC. However, this loss might say more about Tennessee than it does Florida. It says that the Vols are not really championship-caliber. As for Florida, they are not a doormat at home.
Ultimately, this win for Florida gives Napier more time to rebuild the program in the manner he wants. Some coaches never achieve a signature victory at their place of employment. 16 games into his Florida tenure, and Napier has two: Utah last year and Tennessee just now. While both marquee wins came at home, Napier's Gators squad should feel confident about where they're going as a program.
This win pretty much guarantees that Florida will get above six wins again and will be going bowling.