NCAA Football Betting Favorite: Florida -9.5
SEC conference play starts for both of these teams with a showdown in the Swamp this Saturday afternoon. It’s always a battle when the Volunteers take on the Gators. Both teams enter this one at 2-0, but this one will be their most important game yet. Derek Dooley is looking to take Tennessee football back to the top of the SEC. Will Muschamp is in his first year as the Gators top man, and he is expecting a lot from his team this season. Which team will start off SEC play with a win?
Tyler Bray wasn’t the starting quarterback for Tennessee until late last year, but since he has taken over the job the Volunteers offense has been much better. Bray has quickly become one of the conference’s best signal callers. No quarterback in the country has been more impressive than Bray in the first couple weeks of this season. He has thrown for 698 yards and seven touchdowns. Bray has yet to throw an interception this year. Tauren Poole may only be 5’10, but he is a physical runner for the Volunteers. If Tennessee is going to win this game, they’ll need to establish some type of a running game.
The Volunteers defense has been better than last year, but there is still plenty of room for improvement on this unit. The front four returns just one starter from a year ago, but there is plenty of depth on the line. When Janzen Jackson was kicked off the team, it really hurt the Volunteers secondary. Tennessee allowed 230 yards per game through the air last year, and I expect the pass defense to be vulnerable again this year.
Will Muschamp’s first two games as head coach of the Gators have gone very well. In two games, the Florida defense has allowed a grand total of three points. John Brantley struggled through last season, but he appears to have a pretty solid grasp of Charlie Weis’ offense this year. Chris Rainey is playing like an absolute star so far in 2011. Rainey is averaging 7.2 yards per carry, and he is also the team’s leading receiver with 110 receiving yards. Jeff Demps is a speed burner in the backfield, and he gives the team a home run threat. Expect Demps to be a big part of the game plan for this weekend.
The Gators defense has been smothering so far this year. Before we say they are the best in the country, it should be pointed out that the team’s first two games were against Florida Atlantic and UAB. Even though those two teams aren’t too talented, the signs from this defense have to be extremely encouraging for Florida fans. This defense has speed all over the field, and there is no apparent weakness in this unit.
Bray may be the best quarterback in the SEC right now, and Tennessee has a chance to surprise some people this year. I think Florida wins this game, but I like Tennessee to keep it close.
Free College Football Pick: Tennessee +9.5
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