No. 1 Florida Gators (4-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) vs. No. 4 Louisiana State
University (5-0 SU, 2-3 ATS), 8:00 p.m. EST, Saturday, October 10,
2009, Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, La., TV: CBS
by Badger of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Florida -9/LSU +9
The defending national champion and top-ranked Florida Gators are on
cusp of their biggest game of the season on the road against the 4th-
ranked Louisiana State Tigers this weekend, and the showdown itselfmight be overshadowed all week as the entire world waits to hear the
answer to one question will quarterback Tim Tebow will be cleared
Tebow was knocked unconscious and hospitalized with a severe
concussion for a few days following the Gators 41-7 victory over
Kentucky two weeks ago, and even though he has resumed film study and
preparations for the game he has yet to practice or be cleared to
play by the Gators medical staff.
Florida head coach Urban Meyer continues to lobby for him to playthough, saying he looks terrific and that hes no longer suffering
from post-concussion symptoms, but maybe he should have thought about
this when he had his star quarterback attempting passes in order to
run up the score in a 31-0 game against Kentucky.
Meanwhile, the LSU Tigers get to enjoy the luxury of preparing for their
biggest game of the season too, only without a whole lot of focus on them
as the forgotten opponent. The Tigers stayed undefeated heading into the
showdown with a strong come-from-behind victory over Georgia on the road
between the hedges last weekend, 20-13, winning the game on a 33-yard run
by Charles Scott with just 46 second left in the game.
A lot of sportsbooks have yet to put this game on the board as they
wait for word on Tebows status, but the few offshore sportsbooks
that have released betting odds for the game have the Gators as
large 9-point favorites on the road in the Bayou. As of press time an
over/under total has yet to be released as well.
While the world waits, Florida is prepping redshirt sophomore John
Brantley to take the snaps for the Gator offense. Brantley has played
well in limited action, converting 73.3 percent of his passes for 232
yards and four touchdowns, but most of that was done in mop-up duty
against the likes of Troy and Charles Southern (yeah right, who?).
Brantley has yet to take a snap in a meaningful game, so nobody knows
what to expect from the man who has yet to start a game in his three-
year career at Florida.
Brantley will have plenty of weapons in his arsenal, with runningback Jeffrey Demps and receiver Riley Cooper being the biggest andbest weapons of the mix. With Tebow the Gators are currently ranked
3rd in the country in total yards (526.2 ypg) and 2nd in scoring
(45.5 ppg), but you can throw all of that out the window if the
former Heisman winner is a no-go on Saturday.
On the other sideline, the Tiger offense is still struggling to find
their stride. Sure they are 5-0 for the season with impressive wins
on the road at Washington (31-23) and at Georgia last week, but they
havent earned many style points in the process.
Quarterback Jordan Jefferson has nice numbers as the starter (62.5
comp %, 7 TD/2 INT), but his game is predicated on the Tigers getting
into short yardage situations on third down. Against the Bulldogs
last weekend the Tigers were 5-for-14 on 3rd down, a statistic that
must improve on Saturday if they are going to have any chance of
knocking off the defending champs.
If youre a fan of fast-flowing and flat out speed on defense, then
youll definitely want to keep your eyeballs tuned in to this game.
The Gators returned all 11 starters from a year ago and it shows, as
they are currently ranked 1st in the nation in total defense (212.8
ypg) and is 2nd in points allowed with a minuscule 7.2 points per
The Tigers feature one of, if not thee best, set of defensive lineman
in the SEC. Overall they are not nearly as good as the Gators unit as
a whole (320.8 ypg 38th), but they have a knack for keeping teams
out of the end zone when theyre inside their own redzone (14.8 ppg
The Tigers also have two other motivating factors to keep in mind playing in front of the Bayou faithful in Baton Rouge, and playing to
erase the horrible memory of last years 51-21 ass-whopping in the
In fact, the home team has held serve in their own stadium the last
four season, with LSU earning a 28-24 victory back in 2007 in the
last game played in Tigers Stadium. But when you account for the
point spread the opposite holds true, as the road team has enjoyed a
6-2 ATS record in the last eight games in the series.
The Gators have made bettors a nice chunk of change at the window as
they have covered the point spread in four straight head-to-head
matchups, and are 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings overall (dating
back to 1999) including a perfect 5-0 ATS record in their last five
games in Tiger Stadium. This will be the first time the Gators enter
Tiger Stadium as the favorite though, since they were 8-point
underdogs back in 2007, 6-point dogs in 2005, and 10-point dogs in 2003.
The under looks like a rock-solid wager too, not only because these two
teams boast top-ranked defenses, but also because the under is 10-3 in
the last 13 head-to-head meetings between the two SECpowerhouses. The under
is 5-2 in the last seven at Tiger Stadium as well.
Badgers Pick: It really surprises me that Meyer and Florida is evenconsidering playing Tebow in this game. Even if hes cleared, hes
still one hit away from another concussion and more serious health
problems. But my million dollar contract is not on the line, so what
do I know. Personally Im staying away from this game, too many
questions without answers. But if the total opens in the high 40s,
Id be willing to bet on the under as I see this game as a defensive
struggle with or without Tebow. Especially without.