LSU Tigers (4-2 SU, 4-2 ATS) vs. Florida Gators (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS)
College Football Week 7
Date and Time: Saturday October 11th, 2014. 7:30PM EST
Where: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Gainesville, F.L.
TV: SEC Network
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: LSU -2/UF +2
Over/Under Total: 47
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One week after suffering the biggest loss in the Les Miles era, the LSU Tigers look to regroup this Saturday when they go into the Swamp to battle the Florida Gators in a 7:30 primetime event on the SEC Network. Last week the Tigers were embarrassed on the Plains in a 41-7 rout which gave LSU their first ever 0-2 start in SEC competition under Les Miles. So far this year, the LSU offense has failed to meet expectations and they will have a tough challenge turning things around this week against Will Muschamps Gators defense.
The Gators are 3-1 SU and already 2-1 SU in SEC competition. Floridas two wins have been by the narrowest of margins with a triple overtime 36-30 victory over Kentucky and then a nail biter last week in Knoxville in a 10-9 victory over Tennessee. If you throw out the defensive collapse against Alabama, Florida has played really well on the defensive side of the ball and perhaps has one of the best defensive groups in the conference. At 2-1 in the SEC, Florida is still very much alive in the wide open SEC East and could potentially make a run towards the opportunity to play for an SEC Championship.
However if the Gators are going to keep their momentum following last weeks victory against Tennessee going, the team will have to overcome some adversity that has plagued the Gators headlines throughout the week. Last week starting quarterback Jeff Driskel was benched late in the game after a disastrous 11 of 23 passing effort that was marred by 3 interceptions. Driskels struggles this season are nothing new for Florida fans but backup quarterback Treon Harris really saved the day on offense leading the Gators down the field on both of their scoring drivers in the comeback victory. Just when it appeared Harris could finally give Florida some stability at the quarterback position, the freshman quarterback was hit with alleged sexual assault charges off the field. Harris has since been suspended indefinitely meaning that Driskel will once again lead the Florida offense this Saturday.
Meanwhile LSU rolls into the Swamp this Saturday with their share of offensive problems. The Tigers were held to just 7 points in the blowout loss to Auburn last week and they had troubles moving the football as well in the loss to Mississippi State. LSU was held to just 10 points against the Bulldogs before they rallied to score 19 points in the 4th quarter as they game was already very much decided. Last week backup quarterback Brandon Harris was given the nod to start but completed just 3 of 14 passing in the game. Harris injured his ankle and was relieved by prior starting quarterback Anthony Jennings who completed 5 of 10 passing in a similar disappointing effort. The Tigers typically strong rushing attack was not really effective either as the offense managed to gain just 280 yards of total offense compared to Auburns 566.
Of course LSU fans have had their share of quarterback woes in recent years but the rushing attack and defense has kept the team among the tops in the SEC West. With the rise of the SEC West, that recipe no longer appears favorable. In all honesty, the Tigers are not quite as good along the offensive line and the defense has not lived up to the hype making it an unfair comparison to LSUs recent teams. Still, the Tigers have to find some answers on offense if they are going to finally score a win in SEC competition. The best possible solution is to get talented tailbacks Leonard Fournette and Kenny Hilliard going. Both tailbacks are tremendous talents but they have been most quiet thus far in 2014. The improvement of the running attack will be critical towards LSU restoring their presence in the SEC moving forward.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think Will Muschamp will have the Gators ready this weekend despite the troubles off the field. I like the Gators to come out with some intensity and play well. Will it be enough? Not sure, but I do think defenses will shine in another classic SEC defensive grudge match. Both offenses are bad and I do not expect that to change this Saturday. Take the under 47!