The 2020 season is finally set to get underway. The Gators will travel to Mississippi to take on the Rebels of Ole Miss.
Here are our staff’s predictions for the 2020 season opener:
Ainslie Lee: A big third quarter bolsters Florida in this one. A slow start is expected, but for both teams, naturally. I trust Mullen when he says he believes they could’ve taken the field weeks ago. The Gators will look significantly more polished than the Rebels, especially as Kyle Trask and UF’s offense finds their rhythm. Plumlee will have his way with Todd Grantham’s defense early, but adjustments will be made and the Rebs will have to look to their unproven passing attack. Florida covers the spread and then some. 35-17, Florida.
Angel Wells: The Gators will need to establish the ground game early as they take on the Rebels in Oxford. I expect Florida to start slow in the first half due to a shortened off-season. Injuries may become a factor in this matchup due to the lack of proper off-season training as well. However, I believe the Gators prevail over an optimistic Ole Miss team in nail-biting fashion. Gators win,27-23.
Brian Fox: Florida enters the game as a 14.5 point favorite. While the Gators are certainly the more talented, deeper team, the spread seems ridiculous to me. With little spring practice and a short fall camp, I expect an ugly, slow start. Florida rolls, but it should be closer than two touchdowns. Gators, 27-20.
David Soderquist: I think Florida covers the spread here. Florida has experience returning on the offensive side of the ball at quarterback and some elite pass catchers in the backfield. Ole miss has lost a lot on defense but returns some key players on offense and Plumlee has flashed his abilities as well. Will be a battle at the beginning but Florida’s defense ultimately wins this game for UF. Gators win, 34-17.
Michael Pfeffer: Ole Miss has a winning record against the Gators. They are 12-11-1 and have won three of the last five meetings. They also have home field advantage. But let me tell you what else they have. They have a brand new head coach that has had very little time to implement his new offensive scheme. They have had an enormous problem with COVID-19 which has further limited their preparations for the season. And they have a secondary that is a little suspect. On the other hand, Florida has a proven starting quarterback, lots of weapons on both sides of the ball, and Dan Mullen. I like the Gators in this one. Gators win, 35-17.
Payton Titus: I think Florida feels it has something to prove in 2020. Its players have been itching to line up against anyone not in Gators garb for weeks now. Florida’s No. 5 AP Poll ranking is the highest slot it’s filled since 2012. All of the preseason accolades, like being pegged as the next SEC East champions in the SEC Media Poll, and anticipation for the matchup have the Gators riled up. Between the new leadership in coach Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss and the return of key Florida players in Trask and Kyle Pitts, I say Florida takes this one. I’m not sure if we’ll see a blowout we’ll see in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Saturday since both teams have some dust to shake off that accumulated over this prolonged offseason. However, I definitely don’t think it will be close. Gators win, 27-14.
Florida and Mississippi are set for a noon (ET) kickoff from Oxford, MS. The game will be televised on ESPN.
What do you think will be the final score?