No. 13 Florida Gators (8-2 SU, 8-2 ATS) vs. No. 15 Florida State Seminoles (8-3 SU, 6-5 ATS)
College Football Week 13
Date/Time: Saturday November 26th, 2016. 8:00PM (EST)
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium Tallahassee, F.L.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UF +6.5/FSU -6.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
One of the most exciting weekends of the year will sweep across the college landscape this Holiday weekend as rivalry week returns to college football. On Saturday, one of the highly anticipated rivalry pairings will feature a battle between the no. 13 Florida Gators and the no. 15 Florida State Seminoles inside Doak Campbell Stadium. The Seminoles have won the last 3 meetings against the Gators and have won 5 of the last 6 meetings. However, Florida has already clinched a spot in the SEC Championship Game and they are knocking on the door to become nationally relevant for the first time since the Urban Meyer era.
Last week, the Gators went into Baton Rouge and upset no. 16 LSU with the help of a defensive stand at the goal line in the waning seconds of the game. The win not only clinched the Gators into the SEC Championship Game but it also sent a clear message that they can compete with any team in the land. Earlier this year, Florida received a lot of criticism from their play on the offensive side of the football and perhaps rightfully so. The team has struggled at the quarterback position as they have dealt with injuries to Luke Del Rio on multiple occasions giving rise to Austin Appleby to take over. Meanwhile, the Florida running game has also struggled at times averaging just 150 yards per game over the course of the season.
However despite the struggles, injuries, and inconsistencies, the Gators have remained resilient with an 8-2 SU mark on the season. A large part of that success can be accredited to the Florida defense that has yielded just 282 total yards per game which ranks 5th in the FBS. That same defense has held opponents to just two scores or less in 5 of their last 6 games. In fact if you throw out the loss to Arkansas, you could make the case that Florida has been hottest team in the SEC and perhaps one of the hottest teams in the country during the 2nd half of the season. In order to keep that momentum going and really let the nation know that they are truly back to national prominence, they will have to prove they are the best team in the state.
In the last 6 meetings against Florida State, the Gators have been held to a touchdown or less in scoring. Florida State’s defense has consistently had the upper hand as the Gators have struggled to move the football. The possibility for a repeat situation is inevitable this weekend as the Gators will go into a tough environment in Tallahassee as 6.5 point underdogs. However, the good news is that Florida State’s defense has not been near as strong this year compared to previous season which warrants hope that Florida can snap the 3 game losing streak to the Seminoles.
Either way, the Gators are going to have to find ways to score points and possibly more than they did last week with just 16 points in the win against LSU. Appleby needs to take advantage of a soft Florida State pass defense and give this offense some big play potential down the field. Florida has not had any receiving threats prove their worth down the field this season and they have just one receiver over 300 yards on the year in Antonio Callaway. I believe Florida’s chances to win this game ride solely on their ability to open up the playbook and put some pressure on this defense that has struggled at times this year.
With the home crowd at their back, I don’t see this Florida State defense getting cracked between the tackles. We know that Florida State is going to be able to move the football. Despite Florida’s very tough defense, Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook is among the best at his position and freshman quarterback Deondre Francois can make enough throws to get Florida State in scoring position. Therefore, Florida is going to have to find ways to make some scores their selves or they will be in jeopardy of another bitter defeat to their in-state rivals.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This is a tough line because I could see Florida State winning this game in a 17-10 or 24-17 type fashion. I think Florida will be competitive but a 7 point win is not unfathomable. Instead, I would consider a play on the under once released as I do not anticipate this much more than 40 points being scored. Take the under!
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