r opening the season with a 35-14 win over FAU last week, the Gators will head down the I-75 corridor to Tampa to face South Florida at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday.
The two programs have met just one time on the gridiron, a 38-14 Gators victory at The Swamp in 2010.
The following are our staff’s predictions for this week’s matchup:
And, for those keeping score at home, Faith actually landed on the right score in the FAU game. Faith Buckley 1, the rest of us, 0.
Last week I opened with… “this is a game that, on paper, shouldn’t even be close…”
While I still agree with that sentiment, I didn’t foresee the struggles that Florida would endure in the passing game. Unfortunately, through one week of cupcake action, I don’t have a lot of answers for this Gators team, in fact I’m full with even more questions.
The problem is, Florida is about to face an even worse opponent this week and my guess is, they’ll look like world beaters. And, all is forgiven, right?
Florida is a 28-point favorite and if they don’t cover, I’d expect a slaughter at the hands of Alabama one week later. USF is a terrible team and UF should take every opportunity to correct the mistakes from last week and put the Bulls away early. Gators, 51-14.
Based on USF’s horrific 45-0 loss last week against NC State, I am led to believe that Florida will take the cake. The Gators held the advantage throughout the FAU game’s entirety but ultimately won by a smaller difference than intended. In my opinion, the winner of the game is undeniably the Gators, but the quarterback of choice stays in question. Will Florida put No. 15 Anthony Richardson on the field in hopes of replaying last week, or will it give Emory Jones another chance to prove himself? Gators: 45-9.
The week 2 matchup with USF should prove to be less of a challenge for the Gators. The Bulls are coming off a 45-0 loss to NC State whose program is known to be subpar at best. Defensive lineman Zachary Carter had a field day behind the line of scrimmage to record a strip sack and three tackles for loss in the Gators’ win over FAU. After a great start against the Owls, Carter will keep his energy going to shut down the mediocre Bulls offense. This will also be a “prove it” week for Emory Jones to see if he truly is comfortable under center and can lead this team to the top of the SEC East. But I still expect backup quarterback Anthony Richardson to take a few snaps in the first half to keep the Bulls defense on their toes. I think Jones will find his comfort in the pocket to connect with his receivers and tight ends. Gators 40-3.
The Florida offense left a lot of points on the field last weekend. The offensive line did a good job opening holes, which resulted in 400 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, the passing game needs a lot of work before the Gators host the top-ranked Crimson Tide. Dan Mullen has had them working on those mistakes- reads, decisions, timing, and accuracy. They should be able to correct some of them against a porous USF defense that surrendered 45 points and 525 yards of total offense in just 66 plays. Defensively, the Gators defensive front looked strong. NC State racked up six sacks against the Bulls. The Florida secondary should be better in coverage this week. Two more things must happen: The back end of the Gators defense must create some turnovers and Florida has to get a FG attempt or two in this game. Gators 48, Bulls 3.
The Gators and Bulls are set to kickoff from Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium at 1:00 PM on Saturday. The game will be broadcast live on ABC.