No.22 Florida Gators (4-2 SU, 2-4 ATS) vs. No.14 Missouri Tigers (6-0 SU, 5-1 ATS)
College Football Week 8
Date and Time: Saturday October 19th, 2013. 12:21PM Eastern
Where: Faurot Field Columbia, M.O.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Fla -3/MO +3
Over/Under Total: 44.5
Don’t look now but the no. 14 Missouri Tigers are the
only unbeaten team remaining in the SEC outside of top ranked Alabama and
the only unbeaten team remaining in the SEC East. That’s right; the road
to the SEC Championship now goes through Columbia, Missouri thanks in large
to the Tigers big upset win over Georgia last week which shook up the entire
race for the SEC Championship. Now Missouri has the target on their back
and must withstand a tough home stand this Saturday when the no. 22 Florida
Gators come into Columbia.
The Gators suffered their first conference loss of the year last week after a hard fought battle with LSU 17-6. Now the Gators are in a must win type of scenario to keep their SEC Championship hopes alive. The good news is Florida has one of the premier defenses in college football holding opponents to just 235 yards per game which ranks 3rd in the FBS. The Gators appear to have the type of defense needed to somewhat slow down a dangerous Missouri offense that is averaging 45.7 points (8th in FBS) per game. Florida’s defense is extremely physical up front and has a lot of talent in their secondary to match-up with the Missouri passing attack.
The bad news for Florida is that they have been the least big effective on the offensive side of the ball. The Gators defense has not given up more than 21 points in any game this season including their two losses to Miami and LSU. However, the offense was held to just 22 points in both of those games combined. The offense ranks an embarrassing 94th in the FBS averaging just 367 yards per game. To make matters worse, one of the leading components to the Gators rushing offense was lost last week when running back Matt Jones went down with a season ending knee injury. As a result, running back Mack Brown will have to take over as the Gators work horse.
Still the Gators will have to find a way to open things up offensively. Coach Will Muschamp has relied heavily on the play of his defense and a strong running game the past two seasons. However the running game has not been getting the job done and I believe the offense will turn to QB Tyler Murphy to lead them out of their slump. Murphy has been somewhat effective throwing the football by completing 65% passing for 5 touchdowns and just 1 pick. However Murphy has been very limited in his passing attempts and it will be interesting to see how he responds as the offense relies more on his arm moving forward.
On the other side of the field, Missouri really made a statement with last week’s victory over Georgia but at what cost? The Tigers lost starting quarterback James Franklin for the year with a separated throwing shoulder. Before the injury, Franklin was having a monster season making Missouri one of the most dangerous offenses across the country. Obviously the offense is going to suffer from the loss as the Tigers must turn to freshman Maty Mauk for the rest of the year. Mauk is surrounded by an outstanding group of talent along with two excellent wide receivers on the outside in L’Damian Washington and Dorial Green-Beckham. Still it is hard to know what to expect from Mauk going forward. Will Missouri’s offense continue to strive or will the loss of Franklin set the team back? Perhaps we will get the answers early Saturday afternoon when Mauk and the Tigers offense faces a stout Florida defense in yet another extremely important game in terms of the SEC race.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I believe the line is this game tells you a lot as the Gators are the slight favorites on the road in a situation where they would normally be an underdog. Despite the inconsistencies on offense, this Gators defense is really good and I believe they force some turnovers to get the job done this Saturday. Take Florida -3!
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