Florida Gators (6-4 SU, 5-5 ATS) vs. No. 2 Florida State Seminoles (11-0 SU, 3-8 ATS)
College Football Week 14
Date and Time: Saturday November 29th, 2014. 7:30PM EST
Where: Tallahassee, F.L.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UF +9/FSU -9
Over/Under Total: TBA
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For about the 20th time it seems like, the 2nd ranked Florida State Seminoles avoided yet another close call last week against the Boston College Eagles. The Seminoles were 20 point favorites over Boston College but needed a 26 yard field goal from Roberto Aguayo as time expired to pull ahead for a 20-17 victory. It was the same story we have seen all season with Florida State as the defending National Champions simply keep finding ways to win football games. Though the season has not been pretty at times, the Seminoles are just two wins away from earning a spot in college footballs inaugural playoffs. This week the Seminoles will get the opportunity to capture their 2nd straight perfect season if they can keep the magic alive against their in-state rivals in the Florida Gators.
The Gators have had quite the roller-coaster ride of emotions this season. The Gators lost 3 of their first 4 games in SEC play but then scored a big upset against Georgia down in Jacksonville. However Coach Will Muschamp could never shake of mediocrity and it eventually led to the announcement that he will step down at the end of the season. Therefore the Gators have one last chance to send Muschamp out as a winner this Saturday and the equally appetizing notion of upsetting Florida States National Championship hopes in the process.
So what are the chances the Gators can pull off the upset this Saturday and end the Seminoles perfect season? Well it is going to be tough either way you look at it. Florida will enter Tallahassee as 9 point underdogs and outmatched in terms of talent on both sides of the ball. However, the talent differential may not be very significant at all. The biggest difference in this game is Florida States offense compared to Floridas offense. The Gators offense has struggled all season to move the football and have had a carnival at the quarterback position between Jeff Driskel and Treon Harris. Harris has established himself as the quarterback but the team is still averaging just 181 yards per game through the air which ranks 107th in the FBS. Instead, Floridas offense has had to rely more heavily on a pretty average ground attack and more importantly their defense as the season has progressed.
The Seminoles on the other hand have a rather explosive offense averaging 36 points per game (26th in FBS) and 312 yards per game through the air (12th in FBS). Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston has thrown for more than 3,100 yards with 19 touchdowns on the season. Winstons turnovers have been an issue this season and were a large part of why Boston College was able to hang around last week. Still, there are stark differences between the Gators and the Seminoles on the offensive side of the ball. For Florida to keep things close or perhaps pull the upset in this game, I think they will have to get help in several areas. Treon Harris is going to have to make some plays down the field and the defense is going to have to play really well. The Gators defense has been impressive at times this season but their numbers are rather average due to how long the group has been on the field due to the offensive woes. Still, Florida could make things interesting with a few forced turnovers and big plays on offense. As we have seen, Florida State is not invincible but they are very tough to beat.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I lean towards Florida in this game simply because they are not a very good team and they have been pretty pitiful going 3-8 ATS on the year. However, consider it a small play on the Gators as their offensive inconsistency is still a risky bet. Consider a big play on the under when the total is released. This game has a defensive style grudge match written all over it. Good luck!