College Football Pick
The road to the SEC East title begins here, or at least that’s the thought. Florida and Tennessee are expected to challenge all season along with Georgia at the top of the division. The Gators already got a head start by dismantling Kentucky a couple weeks ago and now are looking at taking down the Volunteers for the 12th-straight time.
But of course, Tennessee knows all about that streak. They came out to play in last year’s matchup and it looked like they were set to take down the Gators, but a 27-14 Fourth-quarter lead dissipated as Florida scored two touchdowns in the final five minutes. One of them was a 63-yard pass in the final 90 seconds of play. OUtside of those two drives, the Vols did everything needed to get the win and it wasn’t the only time last season that something like that happened to them.
In a new season, Tennessee is hoping to remove that Game from memory and begin a streak of their own. To do so, they’ll use a similar route of attack as in 2015 with quarterback Joshua Dobbs and running backs Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara. Those three ran for 254 yards and a couple touchdowns in that meeting as the offensive line had its way with the Gators. And right now, it’s hard to see the Vols using a different strategy.
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Things are a bit different for Florida, who has LUke Del Rio at quarterback in place of Will Grier. And instead of Kelvin Taylor, the Gators are riding a trio of backs in Jordan SCarlett, LAmical Perine and Mark Thompson. So far, so good with the Gators having no trouble in either facets of the Game. Of course, playing the likes of UMass, Kentucky and North Texas can’t really be compared to Tennessee.
The Volunteers arguably have the more talented team, but that’s been the case for a couple years and it hasn’t mattered in the end. For Tennessee to take that next step, it’s going to require them to actually finish a Game. They may be able to move the ball fine with Dobbs and company, but will the defense stop Del Rio when the Fourth quarter comes around, or will last season’s comeback enter their heads?
If the Volunteers want to live up to their early-season ranking and hype, this is the type of Game they need to win. Is this the year they put it all together? With a win here, it could easily give them the confidence needed to take that next step. But with a loss, who knows. Tennessee may once again fall into last season’s trap.
Meanwhile, Florida has plans of its own after faltering at the end of 2015, losing its final three Games, partly due to big injuries. Now healthy and with Del Rio looking solid, the Gators have an upset and SEC East title in sight.
Hard to tell what we have with the Gators based on their 3 opponents. This would seem to be the Vols best chance in years to end their losing streak to Florida but Tennessee hasn’t been able to put much distance between themselves and their opponents on the scoreboard this year. Florida +6.5