Florida celebrated Homecoming with a dominant victory over a top-ten opponent. This week they take on the exact opposite role. The Gators will head into a hostile Death Valley as LSU celebrates their own homecoming.
The following are our staff predictions for the game:
Florida is going to face a major challenge when they take on the Tigers Saturday night in Death Valley. When we made our staff predictions before the season began, I said the Gators’ only loss would be to LSU. Joe Burrow is having an incredible season and the Tigers have scored more than any other team in SEC history, through their first five games. However, as it turns out, the Gators match up quite well with LSU. If the Gators can minimize mistakes, they can absolutely pull off the upset. I like the Gators to win, 24-21.
I told Brian before writing this, I would much rather pound my forehead on the keyboard and let that be my prediction. Update: I still feel that way. Nonetheless, here we go… Three sets of Tigers in three weeks — odd. But this Tiger team is different. This Tiger team is better. And this Tiger team could present serious issues for the Gators. It pains me to say it, but Joe Burrow is good — if not great at throwing the football. Yet, if I’m being honest, when you look at the teams he’s played, the luster dims. “But he beat Texas!!” I know. And I’m not wowed. The Longhorns have lost their curb appeal, in my eyes. They could get it back with a win this weekend, but nonetheless, I’m just not impressed with LSU’s resume. Between that and the fact that the Tigers are already getting emotionally invested in this football game, I’m going to be a homer, here. I’m going to take the Gators, on the road, in Death Valley, on a night game with a full moon. Every possible factor is against the Gators. However, Dan Mullen’s game management and Todd Grantham’s defensive strategies will prevail. 28-24, Gators.
Gainesville was insane last weekend, with homecoming, College Gameday, and Florida upsetting Auburn, it was good chaos in Gator Country. This weekend, the Gators are taking on yet another top ten team in the likes of LSU. The Tigers are an incredible offensive team led by the SEC’s best passing quarterback, and some tall, athletic receivers to pass to. You can expect this game to be played at a fast pace as both teams feature two pass dominant quarterbacks. This is a game that Florida won last season in Gainesville, but this year Dan Mullen and squad head west to Baton Rouge, and I think the number six ranked Tigers get revenge on the Gators, 34-24.
While stopping the run helped Florida achieve success over Auburn, the Gators’ focus must shift to stopping the SEC’s No. 1 passer in LSU’s Joe Burrow (372.9 yards per game).
However, Florida represents the SEC’s No. 2 passing defense (183.3 yards per game) and leads the conference in sacks (26). With a showdown between two dominant units, this contest will be decided by who can make plays in the red zone.
The Tigers have not been denied in the red zone once this year, scoring all 31 times they have visited. But the Gators’ opponents have only scored five times in 14 red-zone visits. Florida’s defense thrives off turnovers, but Burrow has only thrown three interceptions this season compared to 22 touchdowns. He also has two high-quality, red-zone threats in Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson, the SEC’s leading receivers.
While UF has red-zone weapons of its own (most notably tight end Kyle Pitts), LSU’s top-end talent will give the Florida defense more problems than it can handle.
The Tigers will come out victorious in Death Valley, 31-21.
The Gators are heading into a hostile environment riding the high of a dominant effort against Auburn last week. LSU made the move to a spread offense this year and the results have been sensational. Despite his struggles last year, Tigers QB Joe Burrow looks like a bonafide Heisman candidate this far.
The key to this game will be establishing a running game, keeping the defense off the field, and limiting mistakes. A tired defense could crumble against an offense with the capabilities of the LSU O.
Due primarily to the environment, I’m taking LSU 27-23.
Florida and LSU are set to kickoff at 8:00 PM EST. The game will be aired live on ESPN. You can follow @MikeyPfeffer and @ChompTalk on Twitter for live updates. Also make sure to check out Own The Fourth Quarter featuring Michael And Will Miles of readandreaction.com.
What are your predictions, Gator Nation? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook.