As No. 15 Florida prepares for a matchup with No. 1 Alabama in the Southeastern Conference Championship game on Saturday, here are a few things to know from this week’s conversations with Florida’s players and coach Jim McElwain.

1. McElwain won’t judge this season until it’s over, but defensive lineman Joey Ivie declared it a success:

McElwain has heard the fans’ frustrations: four-straight losses to FSU, one win against a ranked opponent this season and an offense that seems to have made little improvement since last year.

But when McElwain was asked whether he would declare this season a success no matter the outcome of Saturday’s game, the coach was mum on an answer.

“I’ll step back and evaluate it as you do every year,” McElwain said on Monday. “This is a fan base that, at any place that really cares, you’re never going to please them all. I get it. One thing I do know is I believe we’re in the SEC Championship again for the second straight year. Maybe not the way people want it.”

Ivie, a senior, was asked the same question but answered differently, applauding the fact that UF has made it this far but being careful not to dole out much more praise.

“I believe we will (view the season as a success),” Ivie said. “Things didn’t quite play out as well as we would have liked them to. But, like you said, you can’t make excuses. … We gotta accept whatever happens because at the end of the day, it is what it is.”

2. Florida and Alabama always seem to play in the SEC title game, and both team’s players think that’s the way it should be:

The Gators and the Crimson Tide will meet for the 10th time in the 25-year history

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