Florida’s surprising 2015 season took a hard left turn today with the suspension of starting quarterback Will Grier for the remainder of the season. Grier has been suspended for testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing drug, forcing Grier to sit out until the middle of October of 2016 unless he wins an appeal. The suspension is a devastating one for Florida’s revived offense at a horrible time with LSU on deck this week. The 6-0 Gators will not be losing any credit for the work done to this point though, as there will be no reason to vacate any victories accumulated so far.
While the exact timing of the drug test for Grier is unknown, or unconfirmed, all accounts seem to suggest action was taken swiftly with regard to Grier’s playing status. That means Florida is not believed to have played Grier while knowing or risking the chance he was actually an ineligible player. Had Florida done that, any game in which Grier merely stepped on the field would be tossed from the win column for the Gators. Grier has played in all six games so far, so that would have dropped the Gators from 6-0 down to 0-0. Remember that vacated wins do not equal losses, so Ole Miss and Tennessee and other victims of Florida to this point would still carry those losses they took.
The lack of vacated wins also keeps Florida in the bowl picture, regardless of what happens the rest of this season. The Gators are already bowl-eligible with the NCAA minimum six games won. Had the Gators lost all six wins, Florida would have had to run the table in the second half of the season just to qualify for postseason consideration (again).
Treon Harris will now be taking over as Florida’s starting quarterback. Head coach Jim McElwain has said all the right things so far and says Harris will be ready to take advantage of this situation even if due to unfortunate circumstances. Florida takes on LSU in Baton Rouge this weekend.