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Florida vs. LSU Football Pick with Analysis

10/8/11

#1 ranked LSU hosts the Florida Gators this Saturday in a huge SEC game that has lost a little of it's marquee value as a result of Florida QB John Brantley going down with a leg injury against Alabama. As a result of that injury, we have seen an inflation in the price here as LSU is a hefty 14 point favorite. The total for the game is the lowest of any game on the board this week, 41.5.

Let's start right off by making a case for the Gators here. We'll start with the obvious, the QB injury. While the Brantley injury is big, it's not necessarily "Peyton Manning big". There are instances in college football where the loss of a starting QB can have that type of impact on a team. Pryor at Ohio State comes to mind. But not here with John Brantley. That's not a knock on Brantley. He's simply not that type of QB.

You also have to remember that in most cases, in college football, and in all cases at major programs like Florida, the back up QB is a superstar athlete from the high school ranks. It's not as if they've had to suit up the mascot. In this instance, that high school superstar is Jeff Driskel, a true freshman. Driskel was ineffective last week when Brantley went down but the difference here is that a game plan will be able to be built around Driskel from the start. Unlike Brantley, Driskel can run, so expect to see a few wrinkles with the Gators offense this week that takes advantage of that asset.

Hey, it won't be easy. This LSU team is the real deal and their defense may be better than Alabama's. They also now have Jordan Jefferson back, which will enable them to give the Gators some different looks on offense, likely with the option.

If you're going to back Florida here, this is what you have to hope for. You have to hope the Gators can have some success on the ground, utilizing Driskel's legs. We think they will. The only had 15 yards on the ground against Bama but remember, they were playing catch-up.

You also have to hope Driskel can make a big play or two to keep the mighty LSU defense honest. Again, we think there's a very good chance of that happening. The kid has an arm and one big play down field changes everything. Lastly, you have hope that the Les Miles we've all grown to love, holds true to form. That would be the Les Miles that doesn't take too many chances and is more than happy to get the game over with as quickly as possible, as long as he gets the win. That remains a question mark because this LSU team seems to have more killer instinct than any Les Miles team from the past.

Oh, and one more thing......you hope the Gators rally around Driskel. You hope every player steps it up a notch as a result of the QB injury. That's often the case in a situation like this, especially coming off their worst game of the year.

The yards per point numbers favor LSU by a little more than a touchdown but LSU has also played a tougher schedule than Florida has. When you factor in strength of schedule and the QB injury you come pretty close to the -14 betting line. Likewise, our score prediction model has a final of 26-12 LSU and that's using numbers that Brantley is responsible for.

We write a game like this up because it's a big time, high profile game that many of our readers will wager on regardless of our opinion or lack of one. We used the article to make a case for Florida, because there's no way we're laying two touchdowns in a game like this. Simply not our style. Historically, we're going to win more than we lose, backing Florida here, so that's the way we will lean here. At this point, it's just a lean. Florida +14

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