A pair of SEC rivals meet at the Rocky Top as Tennessee welcome Florida to renew old animosity in Saturday’s College Football Week 4 action.
This time around, the matchup has the added benefit of both teams being in the AP top 25 with a ton at stake in the Eastern Division standings.
Here’s what you need to know about this week’s showdown.
how to watch
When: Saturday, September 24
Time: 3:30 pm East
TV: CBS Network
Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
Odds, point spread, betting lines
Line: Tennessee -11
Moneyline: UF +310 UT -500
FPI Pick: Tennessee 87.4%
What do you need to know
1. Alligators want to run. That’s the strength of Florida’s offense right now, and it has the back and protection to give Tennessee’s defensive front a real test. UF is averaging 212 yards per game for a total of 8 touchdowns coming in, has over 600 total yards in 3 games and averaging 6.4 yards per carry. Overall, the unit doesn’t make too many mistakes and goes up against a Vols D who had some tough times against Pitt’s rushing attack two weeks ago.
2. What does Anthony Richardson appear? The Gators quarterback has had ups and downs this season, but he still hasn’t established himself as a competent pitcher. He has no pass TDs, has made 4 interceptions and is hitting just over 53% of his attempts. It’s not ideal, especially since Florida doesn’t seem to have that real, deep perimeter threat to help it. Still, AR is 3rd on the team in the race, and leads that unit with 3 points on the ground.
3. Vols will win if they can run. Balance this offense, and Tennessee should take this one – comfortably. Hendon Hooker is a maestro, hitting nearly 70% of his shots with 6 TDs and no pick for the 3rd-best all-out offense in college football, and has 2 running scores to his credit. He’s dealing with a talented receiving body good for 15 ypc with 2 targets already over 200 yards. UT lines up against a Florida defense that is the worst in the SEC on 3rd down and has the back to move the chains and keep the Gators out of the field.
Florida vs Tennessee: Fast Facts
+ Florida beat UT on the road in 7 of their last 8 appearances
+ Tennessee scored at least 30 points in 6 straight games
+ UF has scored over 31 in the last 4 against Tennessee and at least 26 points in the last 7 in a row
+ UT is 5th in FBS with 2nd in SEC with 371.3 passing ypg
+ Gators kept Tennessee on 21 or fewer points in 5 straight games
+ Tennessee is 10-0 leading at halftime under Josh Heupel and 0-6 losing
+ Florida is 2nd in the SEC and 5th nationally with 6.4 yards per carry
+ Vols are 10-1 under Heupel leading after 3 quarters and 0-5 when not
+ Florida had 300 rushing yards in 12 of the last 13 against the Vols
+ UT is 9-3 under Heupel when scoring first and 1-3 when opponents do
+ Gators have 200+ yards in 8 of their last 16 games total
+ Tennessee allowed 0 points in the first half at home this year
+ Florida allowed 2 sacks this year, 10th lowest on FBS
Don’t expect another 60-point game from the Vols, who play against the likes of Ball State and Akron. This looks more like the slug fest UT had on the road against Pittsburgh, with a lot of sweaty yards on the ground and a few units going nowhere.
Florida may have no other choice given their quarterback’s below-average performance so far. Tennessee don’t have that problem, as Hooker leads a capable, balanced offense that will have the benefit of playing at home.
The Gators will run the ball well enough to keep it close all day, but it lacks the big play ability of Hooker and his targets, who should have the advantage especially on third down, a major weakness for Florida, and get a victory over a rival that will feel like an important test passed, precisely because it was close.
Forecast of the college football headquarters: Tennessee 36, Florida 27
According to AP’s top 25 survey
- Ohio State
- Oklahoma State
- NC State
- Penn State
- Awake Forest
- Texas A&M
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