No. 18 Florida Gators (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. No. 23 Tennessee Volunteers (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS)
College Football Week 3
Date/Time: Saturday September 15th, 2012. 6:00PM Eastern
Where:Neyland Stadium Knoxville, T.N.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread:Fla PK/TEN PK
Over/Under Total: OFF
Two age old SEC rivals collide this Saturday evening when the no.23 Tennessee
Volunteers host the no. 18 Florida Gators inside
Neyland Stadium. After several mediocre seasons, both Florida and Tennessee
are fighting their way back to the top of the SEC. The no. 23 Volunteers
are perhaps the biggest surprise thus far this season in the SEC. Tennessee
pounded North Carolina State in the opener 35-21 and then crushed Georgia
State 51-13 last week. The Volunteers offense has been extremely impressive
and we will get to see if Tennessee is ready to make a run in the SEC East
this year when they host the Gators this Saturday night.
Florida rained on Texas A&M’s SEC debut party last week by outlasting the Aggies 20-17. Despite a pair of shaky offensive performances, the Gators defense has helped propel the team to a 2-0 start. Still, the offensive woes have to be a concern for Head Coach Will Muschamp. Florida has averaged just 336 total and 155 passing yards in each of their first two contests this year. QB Jeff Driskel has statistically been strong completing 23 of 32 passing for 276 yards and 1 score. However, Driskel has been errant on a few throws and it is apparent the coaching staff lacks confidence in his throwing ability. As a result, the Gators have kept the football on the ground much of the way they did for the entire 2011 football season.
Florida tailback Mike Gillislee has been solid in the run game carrying the ball 38 times for 231 yards. Gillislee has already posted 4 rushing touchdowns through the Gators first two ball games and you can expect the senior ball carrier to see plenty of touches this Saturday. Still, the concerns linger around this Gators offense and if they have the firepower to keep pace with a fast scoring offense like Tennessee. Surely, the Gators defense will be up to the challenge but the offense will still have to come up with some big plays to help their cause.
Tennessee may not have the defensive talent that Florida brings to the table. However, the Volunteers do sport a salty offense led by junior QB Tyler Bray. Bray has been fantastic in the first two games completing 73.8% passing for 643 yards and 6 touchdowns. If you remember, Bray put up solid numbers at the beginning of 2011 before breaking his thumb and missing significant playing time. Bray is off to another great start and this time he may become a household name across the nation if he continues to post stout numbers.
Sure the Volunteers can connect on the long ball, but they can also run the football effectively as well. Tailbacks Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane both have more than 100 rushing yards in the first two games. Neal is the guy that will get the bulk of the carries and already has 3 rushing touchdowns to his resume for 2012. Florida has a very solid defense that should be able to play well against the run. However if the Volunteers’ tailbacks can find some room to run, they may be able to keep the Gators defense on their heels.
These tough SEC games are always won by the team that can make the big momentum shifting plays whether it is a big offensive touchdown or a big defensive turnover. Tennessee may have the offensive edge but they have also had ball control issues through the first two games. If the Volunteers expect to get back to the next level in the SEC, they need to play well in all aspects of the game when the Gators roll into Knoxville.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think this will be a hard fought game by both teams and it may come down to the final possession. Still, I think the Volunteers find a way to win this game with their edge on the offensive side of the football. Florida has real concerns on offense and I think they will be playing from behind most of this game. Take Tennessee!
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