What once looked like a promising season, Tennessee has lost its last five games, all of them by at least 11 points. Things have been better for Florida, who continue to cruise through mediocre competition and look set to reach the SEC title game. The Gators are a -17 point road favorite with an over/under of 61.5.
This game could go similar to last year’s 34-3 win for Florida, though this meeting will probably have a few more points. Florida’s defense dominated last season, which is all Kyle Trask needed as he threw for 293 yards and a couple touchdowns. Now a little more potent, averaging 43.4 points per game this season, Trask and company should be set for another 40-plus points.
Trask Remains in Heisman Hunt
Trask remains in the Heisman hunt, completing 71.4% of his passes for 10.3 yards per attempt, 34 touchdowns and just three interceptions. He’s yet to be stopped and that’s unlikely to happen in the final two games.
Trask has used a talented and deep receiving corps to dominate defenses, with Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney being the main options, combining for more than 1,000 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Given that passing attack, the Gators haven’t needed much from the ground game as Dameon Pierce and Malik Dalis barely combine for 600 rushing yards. They’re averaging 4.3 yards per carry as a team, but it’s not a focal point of the offense. They run the ball because that sets up the pass.
Vols Defense Shaky
The Volunteers don’t do anything overly well on the defensive end, which will be a problem. They’re allowing more than 30 points per contest and a putrid 8.8 yards per pass attempt. Outside of Alabama, they haven’t really played a great passing offense and in that game, they gave up 417 passing yards on 11.6 yards per attempt.
Florida doesn’t have a good defense either, but it’s unknown if Tennessee will be able to benefit. The Gators are allowing 25.9 points per game and while they’ve looked better in recent matchups, that likely has to do with opponents, though Tennessee is probably on the same level as Vandy and UK, barely averaging 20 points per game.
Jarrett Guarantano has yet to be benched, but that could come as soon as this game. The senior has failed to improve over the years and is averaging 6.7 yards per pass for just six touchdowns and four interceptions.
Vols are Run First
But even if they give Harrison Bailey the start at quarterback, that probably won’t change much for the offense. The Vols are a run-first team who is averaging 3.9 yards per carry with Eric Gray and Ty Chandler leading the way.
If they got out to a quick lead every game, that kind of offense would work, but given their defensive struggles, they’ve rarely held leads the past couple months.
There is a chance for Tennessee to cover if it can get that ground game going in order to keep the clock rolling and put up some points.
However, it won’t be easy betting against Trask and company, who could be headed for another huge outing near 50 points. If that’s the case, Guarantano or whoever is at QB for Tennessee will have to do something, which hasn’t worked this season.
Our Pick – Florida -17