On Saturday, the Florida Gators will take on the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks as they prepare for the SEC opener in Lexington against Kentucky a week later.
As we saw this past weekend, no team should be taken lightly, and there is no doubt that Dan Mullen won’t allow his team to look past this weekend’s contest.
The following are our staff predictions for the game:
I expect a much more polished performance this week. The fundamental errors that were rampant vs Miami have been the focal point over the last week and will continue to be worked on this week. Any remaining issues should be concealed by the massive gap in talent between these two teams. Florida will improve to 2-0 on Saturday night and they will make it look easy in the process. Florida cruises, 49-3
Saturdays in The Swamp are back! I assure you the team, Coach Mullen and all of Gator Nation is looking forward to this year’s home-opener. Coming off of a sobering win against Miami two weeks ago, the Gators have had plenty of time to address any issues ahead of Saturday’s matchup. We can expect to see a much more refined performance from the Gators as the talent gap between Florida and UT-Martin is much greater than the one we saw two weeks ago. I anticipate Lamical Perine and the Gator backfield to bounce back from an uneventful game one and really generate some offense for the Gators. The defense will have a field day with the Skyhawks and Coach Mullen will have an opportunity to rotate a lot of secondary guys into the game. Feleipe Franks will be charged up after a week of ruthless criticism and have a big night before getting yanked in the third quarter (assuming the scoreboard allows Mullen to make this move). Florida will head to Lexington 2-0 coming off of a convincing win over the Skyhawks. Gators roll, 52-13.
Week 2 for the Gators should be much easier for the Gators, although Tennessee-Marin put up 42 points on Northwestern State in week one they’ll be lucky to get a single touchdown in this affair. It’s the home opener in the Swamp, and Gator Country is as excited as ever, so I completely expect the energy from the Gators to be off the charts.
For Mullen and staff, I would look at this game as a way to not only gain confidence heading into SEC play next weekend in Lexington, but also as a game to get some of the newer guys some experience and allow the veterans to sort of show out. UT-Martin throws in the towel at halftime, on the way to a Gators win 42-6.
This game is just a formality, as the Gators will certainly defeat UT Martin.
Skyhawks head coach Jason Simpson has done a dandy job with the program since taking over in 2006, holding an 80-68 record in now his 14th season at the helm.
Simpson has never defeated an SEC team in eight tries, and he should go 0 for 9 on Saturday.
However, sports bettors should proceed with caution if they’re thinking of putting cash on the 41.5-point favorite in Florida.
The Gators have a lot of issues to work out from their Week 0 matchup with Miami, namely penalties and ball security. And while Skyhawks haven’t defeated an SEC opponent under Simpson, they’ve kept the scoring differential under 40 points in five of eight attempts.
I’ve got the Gators not covering the spread by a touchdown. UF wins 45-10
UTM against SEC programs since 2008:
2008: Auburn 37-20
2010: Tennessee 50-0
2011: Mississippi State 55-17
2014: Mississippi State 45-16
2014: Kentucky 59-14
2015: Ole Miss 76-3
2017: Ole Miss 45-23
2018: Missouri 51-14
Florida should win, and honestly the game should be decided well before halftime. It will be interesting to see how long Mullen sticks with his starters as they prepare for the SEC opener.
As Dan Mullen stated in his Wednesday press conference, a key interest is who plays as QB2. Undoubtedly, it will be dissected by the media and fans alike. While Franks is locked in as the starter, will Kyle Trask or Emory Jones get the snaps with the second team offense? We will find out on Saturday. Gators win 52-10
Florida and Tennessee-Martin are set for a 7:30 PM kickoff. The game will be aired on ESPNU. You can follow @ChompTalk and @MikeyPfeffer on Twitter for live updates of the contest.
What are your predictions, Gator Nation? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook.