Coming off the biggest win in the Dan Mullen era, Florida welcomes former starting QB Feleipe Franks and his Arkansas Razorbacks teammates to Gainesville.
The following are our staff’s predictions for the Florida – Arkansas game.
The Arkansas Razorbacks will ride into The Swamp on the back of a familiar face: Feleipe Franks. In what it likely to be one of the biggest stories in college football this week, this game is shaping up to be a fun one after hearing the Gators’ defense talk about how excited they are to hit Franks and not get in trouble for it. However, riding the high of a big win against Georgia last week, mixed with the emotions of Feleipe’s return, the Gators will have to steer away from complacency. Albeit improved, Florida’s defense still had some hiccups last week and it should be thankful the Bulldogs couldn’t capitalize. However, we know as well as anyone that Franks has a talented arm and the Razorbacks’ receivers have taken quickly to the former Gator quarterback. This game, like most this season, will hinge on the defense. And if Todd Grantham’s unit falters, Kyle Trask and Co. must be ready to bail it out. The Florida-Arkansas matchup is bound to be full of emotion. But there’s no reason Florida should keep it close with Sam Pittman’s team. I’ll take Florida 42-24.
If it looks like a trap and feels like a trap, it must be a trap, right? Everything about this matchup is so trap-ish. Florida comes in off a massive win in Jacksonville to face their former quarterback, who, no doubt, wants to light up the scoreboard. Meanwhile, Arkansas, who many thought might go winless this year, has played really good ball, led by their transfer under center. Franks will likely make some plays against the Florida secondary, but the Gators talent on offense should be enough to win this game handily. Florida, 38-24.
I think Florida is a way more talented team here and possibly on both sides of the football. Arkansas and Franks have been impressive but they have not faced a team quite like Florida. I know they forced 6 interceptions on a mighty Ole Miss offense led by Matt Corral but I don’t think Corral is the quarterback Kyle Trask is. Trask was easily able to put up points against one of the best defenses in the league last week. Even barring the injuries Georgia had, they still have a ton of talent on the defensive side of the ball. I think Trask has another good game here. If Florida gets pressure on Franks and they will have a field day. The only thing I am worried about for Florida is the defensive backfield and giving up the deep plays. Arkansas scores some points here, but Florida scores just that much more. Florida wins 51 – 27.
Brian said it above, this just feels like a trap game. So Florida should be on the attack early to dispel any doubts. The Razorback defense hasn’t exactly been a pushover this year thanks to Barry Odom. Arkansas linebackers Grant Morgan and Bumper Pool are one and two in the SEC, respectively, in total tackles. Pool’s also seventh in the league in tackles for loss. Hudson Clark is T-1 with three picks! But, despite facing some good offenses, they haven’t faced Kyle Trask and Co. Additionally, another intriguing matchup for the Florida defense as the Feleipe Franks Reunion Tour rolls into town. Statistically, Franks plays much better on the road. His TD:INT ratio is 9:0 and he completes 73 percent of his passes outside Fayetteville. It’ll be a matter of execution considering both sides probably have the book on each other. Arkansas also has some cats who can make plays on offense like De’Vion Warren averaging 20 yards a catch or Treylon Burks with almost 15 YPC. However, the Razorbacks are very susceptible to allowing sacks. They’re one of the worst in the conference with 19 allowed, just over three per game. Things could be dicey early, so it won’t be an easy win but I expect Florida to pull away. Florida 35-17.
Florida will be facing another solid defense this weekend, when the Razorbacks come to town. But, hey, it’s the SEC… Right? Everything that my colleagues have said is true. However, this week’s a little bit different. First, there’s no way that the team isn’t going to be up for a showdown with their former quarterback. I don’t care how much they like each other, these guys are ultra competitive with one another and they want to walk away with permanent bragging rights.
Next is the fact that Barry Odom will be coaching. Sure, he’s 2-2 against the Gators but he was thrust into this position suddenly. On top of that, he will be working double-duty as he is still handling his defensive responsibilities. This could prove to be a little more difficult without having the advantage of being able to see the entire field, making the little adjustments based on what look the offense is showing him. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Dan Mullen, it’s that he disguises his offensive sets very well.
Finally, the battle between Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask is not an even one. Even when we aren’t comparing their specific skill sets, Trask has more weapons around him and a better offensive line (feels good to say that, doesn’t it?). On the other hand, Franks can extend plays with his legs but this also forces him to sacrifice accuracy. He will be forced out of the pocket for most of the night because of a porous offensive line. Inevitably, this will lead to mistakes. This is a better than advertised Arkansas football team but there are too many things working against them, this week. Florida wins 42-24.
Florida and Arkansas are scheduled to kickoff at 7:00 PM from The Swamp. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN.
You can also check out the latest episode of The Gridiron Growl Podcast, where David, Brian, and Jake preview the Gators’ matchup with Arkansas, just click play on the following audio player: