Troy Trojans (0-1, 0-1 ATS) at No. 1 Florida Gators (1-0, 0-1 ATS)
The Swamp, Gainesville, F.L 12:20PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Florida -36
The Florida Gators dynasty kicked off their season last week with a 62-3 thumping over Charleston Southern. The Gators who received more preseason first place votes than any team in history has unparallel hype surrounding this year’s programs. The Gators will host the Troy Trojans in this week’s match-up and again will be big 36 point favorites with bookies this weekend. Troy is coming off a disappointing first week outing in well they fell to Bowling Green as what many considered an upset.
The Trojans were favored by a little more than a touchdown on the road at Bowling Green, but could not stop the Falcons passing attack and were beaten 31-14. The weak pass defense from Troy does not bode confidence well considering they will take on one of the best offenses in the SEC this Saturday. However, perhaps the Trojans can surprise the nation and keep things closer than their 36 point spread. Probably not though.
Troy will enter the contest taking on the role of David vs. Goliath. The Trojans are led by quarterback Levi Brown. Brown threw 28 for 44 and 263 yards in last week’s lost. The air attack is the forefront of the Trojans strength on offense. However, they will go up against one of the very best defenses in America meaning it will be much harder to move the ball. Still, the passing game will likely be the way the Trojans have success if any.
WR Tebiarus Gill had a big game last week catching 8 passes for 102 yards. Gill needs similar numbers this week if the air assault is to remain effective. Running back DeJuan Harris is a player that had a lot of success for the Trojans a year ago racking up just less than 1,100 yards. Harris was not able to get going in the Bowling Green loss, but rest assured he will get some carries this Saturday to get things rolling again.
Florida looked very good in their opener given they were taken on a much less talented team. However, Florida has made good teams look very bad as well. Heisman hopeful Tim Tebow threw 10-15 passing equaling 188 yards and a score. Tebow also punched in a 1 yard touchdown run as well. Tebow relinquished call of duty to backup quarterback John Brantley in the latter part of the game. The sophomore did fairly well keeping the Gators attack firing completing 8 of 12 passes and scoring 2 touchdowns.
The Gators rushing attack was also very effective behind tailbacks Jon Demps and Emmanuel Moody. Both players combined for 175 yards in just 14 carries and two touchdowns. Not to mention a host of other players got a few carries that totaled a ridiculous 369 yards on the ground in the 59 point mauling. The popular perception is the Gators passing game is the key success of the team, but in reality it is the running game that gives them the true opportunity to battle for a 2nd straight National Championship.
The Gators defense is the big strength on the team. Remember this is the exact same unit that shut down Oklahoma in the National Title Game. The Gators returned all 11 starters to that side of the ball, and they are the guys that could get them through the brutal SEC schedule later in the season. Although, the Gators defense did relinquish over 300 yards of total offense against the less impressive Charleston Southern team.
Perhaps that could have been due to some back-ups that received playing time, but still you would expect better. Florida is well aware they will be going up against an offense that has had success over the past few season. The Gators defense will get the opportunity to make up the difference from their performance in week 1 when they take on Troy and rest assured defensive coordinator Charlie Strong will have his guys ready to play.
The Trojans defense was thought to be the biggest strength of the team heading into 2009, but they failed to live up to those expectations against Bowling Green. Rest assured their will be an even better offense lining up across them this week meaning they must figure things out rather quickly. The Trojans defense ranked in the top 35 overall in 2008 holding opponents to just a little over 300 yards. With so many starters returning, Troy expected the defense to be the least of worries.
However, they may need to recalculate that thinking after their loss to Bowling Green. The defense will have plenty of threats to worry about with Tim Tebow and the Gators elite offense comes out to play. The Trojans defense gave up 339 yards through the air last week, if that is to continue look for Florida WR Riley Cooper to have a big game as the playmaker on the outside for the Gators.
Jay’s Pick - I have learned not to bet against Florida no matter what the line indicates. Take the Gators -36. They can score 70 in this game “if they want to”.