(2-0, 1-1 ATS)
(1-1, 1-1 ATS)
Bitter rivals collide on Rocky Top, as the Tennessee Volunteers look to beat the NCAA football odds in Week 3 as they take on the Florida Gators.
Things certainly don’t feel the same for the blue and orange this year without QB Tim Tebow around. So far in wins against the Miami Redhawks and South Florida Bulls, there really hasn’t been that much doubt about the outcome of the games, but the feel from watching the games is that the Gators have never totally been safe and out of the woods in any circumstance. It’s a scary proposition to hit the road with QB John Brantley for the first time, especially in a place like Knoxville, where 100,000+ people are all going to be dressed in white and orange in one of the most deafening venues in the country across all sports. The Gators are also probably going to be missing the services of RB/WR Chris Rainey, who was involved in an assault charge this week. That really only leaves RB Emmanuel Moody and RB Jeffrey Demps in the Florida backfield. Demps isn’t a prototypical runner, but he does have a TD of at least 70 yards in each of the L/2 weeks. Still, if you take those two TD totes away, he is averaging less than four yards per carry.
The Volunteers have one very impressive game and one very depressing game under their belts. Last week’s loss to the Oregon Ducks was a crippling one, as no one expected the U of O to be able to march into Rocky Top and deliver that type of a beating to a once proud program. The fear of losing two straight home games by at least three TDs is a very real possibility in Knoxville right now. All of the pressure in the world is going to be on QB Matt Simms and RB Tauren Poole. Simms hasn’t quite proven that he has the ability to lead this offense yet, but we must remember that he has only had two starts in his career. Simms has gone 29-of-53 for 332 yards with a score and a pick to start the season. Poole has really been the workhorse of the bunch, carrying the ball a whopping 40 times for 272 yards and three TDs. If Poole can’t find some holes in the Gator defense, the Volunteers are going to be in for a long day, as the pass rushers for Florida are going to be making a living in the Tennessee backfield to make life a living hell for Simms.
This game could be significantly more interesting than last year’s 23-13 decision was in Gainesville, as the Vols really only played that game to stick in front of the 30 point NCAA football line. That just won’t be the case this year. New head coach Derek Dooley knows that his job is immediately going to be on the line just three games into his career at UT if he gets blown away in this game. Florida hasn’t impressed us yet. At least we know that the Vols can play defense. Expect a sloppy game that the hosts should be able to at least hang around in.
Selection: Tennessee Volunteers +14