College Football Pick
It was a rough weekend for the SEC and both of these teams were a part of the struggles. While Florida won, it was far from convincing for the Gators, beating a weak UMass team 24-7. As for Kentucky, they weren’t fortunate enough to get a win, falling at home to Southern Miss after leading 35-10 in the second quarter. That said, the Gators are currently a -17 point favorite at 5 Dimes Sportsbook with a total of 47.5.
It’s an interesting spread considering how the Game turned out a year ago with Florida winning just 14-9. And it wasn’t just that Game for the Gators, as they won most Games by a close margin and last weekend’s result continued that trend. It was a defensive battle in 2015 with neither quarterback throwing a touchdown, while the ground Games steadily picked up yards, but not at a consistent rate.
But just by looking at the first Games, there may be some overreaction to how Kentucky played. First off, it has to be noted that Southern Miss is actually pretty good and the 25-point lead for the Wildcats was never going to stay. UK gave up 44 points in the end, but to an extremely experienced and potent offense. The biggest issue probably was giving up 100-plus yards to two different running backs and not being able to get the ground Game going themselves.
As a positive for Kentucky, Drew Barker looked able in the opener, tossing Four touchdowns and it seems the offense will be just fine with him. Obviously, the main thing for the Wildcats in this Game will be stopping the Florida ground Game. But can Florida run the ball?
against UMass, a team that struggles to surpass three wins most years, the Gators threw the ball 15 more times than they ran and still only scored 24 points. Running back Jordan SCarlett was okay, finishing with 13 carries for 70 yards and no one else really did anything.
LUke Del Rio was fine at quarterback, tossing for 256 yards and a couple touchdowns, but again, this was against the Minutemen. If the Gators want to have a shot at the SEC East this year, something has to change. Of course, their defense is still one of the better groups, but can they rely on the defense to help them cover the 16 points in this Game?
Kentucky returns most of its talent on the offensive end and for the most part, that showed in the opener. The Wildcats scored just nine points in the meeting last year and maybe that’ll be the case again, but can Florida reach 30 points?
That remains to be seen. The Wildcats may be down after a disappointing opener, but in their first SEC tilt, those thoughts will quickly dissipate with a Game at Florida. Are the Gators actually good? Keep in mind, they were ahead just 10-7 through three quarters against UMass.
Our Pick – The Gators weren’t blowing teams out last year. In fact, with a yards per point number on offense of 15, the Gators weren’t much of a thread offensively and it looks ike perhaps we’ll see more of the same this year. Florida has dominated this seried however the last two Games were decided by 5 and 6 points.
Perhaps the Wildcats have closed the talent gap a bit. After an opening week loss, expect a big effort from Kentucky here. We’ll grab the generous spot. Kentucky +17