Pick – Analysis
With Four straight wins to open the year, Florida is back in the Top 25, but it may not be for long. The Gators host Ole Miss, who is ranked No. 3 and the team many believe to be the best in the nation. Because of that, the Rebels are a -7.5 point favorite on the road (as of Tuesday at betonline).
The Gators haven’t surpassed expectations by any means, they have just come out on the winning end in three straight close contests. They battled East Carolina 31-24, eked past Kentucky 14-9 and most recently came back to top Tennessee 28-27. That luck will likely end soon for Florida, whether it’s this Game or against LSU or Georgia in the future.
Ole Miss took down Alabama on the road two weeks ago and got by Vanderbilt last weekend in a possible letdown situation. The Rebels have been solid on both ends of the field, making them the complete package and an immediate problem for this Florida squad.
Florida hasn’t exactly won with offense in its first Four Games, but the unit has done enough. Will Grier has been passable at quarterback, completing 62.6% of his passes for 6 TDs and 3 INTs. The running Game has also been on-and-off led by Kelvin Taylor. He went for his first 100-yard Game of the season against Tennessee last weekend and has 256 yards and 5 TDs in Four Games. It’s hard to see him and Grier finding many holes against this Ole Miss defensive front.
On the other end, Florida’s defense will need to play its best Game of the year. The Volunteers carved through this defense via Jalen Hurd and QB Joshua Dobbs last week. Ole Miss doesn’t have a great ground Game, but it seemingly gets the job done almost every week when needed. Jaylen Walton is averaging 6.4 yards per carry and Jordan Wilkins is at 5.4 ypc. If the Rebels can find room via the ground, that will be even more trouble because Chad Kelly has been exceptional at quarterback in his first season as the starter.
While Florida has a great secondary once again, Kelly has thrown for 320-plus yards in three straight Games now to go with 10 touchdowns. LAquon Treadwell is back from injury and leads a deep receiving corps with 22 receptions and 332 yards.
If the Rebels play to their ability, this is going to be an extremely tough Game for the Gators. Florida will need to rely on its defense to stay within a touchdown. Grier and the offense haven’t shown enough to put much faith in this group, which has been a problem for the Gators for multiple years now.
If Kelly and the Ole Miss offense can move the ball, the advantage goes to the Rebels, who have covered in the last five meetings. Of course, these teams don’t play each other often and the last time they met was in 2008. The under is 9-1 in the Rebels’ last 10 road Games, while the Gators are 6-1 ATS in their last seven Games overall.
Our Pick – We’ll certainly know a heck of a lot about these two teams after this weekend. The Gators are going to have to do far more than they have to date to get by Ole Miss. The feeling here is that the Rebels are too strong on both sides of the ball and will use this Game to send a message to the rest of the SEC and college football in general. Ole Miss -7 -115