It’s about to get real in the Swamp.
No. 11 ranked Florida is set for a home matchup against No. 1 ranked Alabama to open SEC play. The Gators currently trail the all-time series, 14-21. The two teams last met in the 2020 SEC title game where the Crimson Tide pulled out a 52-46 victory.
This year’s edition of the series sees a pair of teams that start the season 2-0. Florida has dominated two “group of five” opponents while Alabama has routed Miami and Mercer in the leadup to conference action.
The following is our staff’s predictions for the Florida – Alabama game:
The Gators have lost seven straight to Alabama and it’ll be a tall task to get the W here, but Florida does have a few things going for them. Perhaps the biggest, is that this game will be in The Swamp and freshman Tide QB Bryce Young has never played in an environment like he will on Saturday. Additionally, the Gators have had a very vanilla offense over the first couple of weeks, and even Jacob Copeland says there is still a lot for Florida to show off against Alabama. At the end of the day, I just don’t think Florida has what it needs on defense to keep this game in reach into the fourth quarter. I’m expecting a close game through the first half with Alabama pulling away late, 45-21.
Another week of college football, another set of predictions. Florida just came off a 42-20 win against the unranked USF Bulls and now sit at No. 11 in the AP rankings. Alabama, on the other hand, takes the reigns with the No. 1 spot in the AP rankings after beating out Miami and Mercer by over 30 points, respectively. Can Florida take the cake in this matchup? Possibly, but unlikely. While the Gators put up a close 52-46 SEC Championship game, Alabama is, well, Alabama. The question one again lies in the Florida quarterback situation. Put in freshman Anthony Richardson or keep Emory Jones as starter? Can Bryce Young help the Crimson Tide inch towards their third win? Alabama: 52-20.
I wish I could break the seal and say that Florida will win this game but I have a gut feeling that Alabama will run away with the game early. Emory Jones seems to be Dan Mullen’s favorite quarterback to lead the snap count but Jones’ momentum only comes to a halt whenever Anthony Richardson is placed on the field. The dual-quarterback scheme may work against lower tier opponents like Florida Atlantic and South Florida but Bama coach Nick Saban has probably seen enough tape to know how to shut down both players. The Bama defense will show up and most likely shut down the Gators offense in the first half to make it a rather large score margin. Alabama 41-14.
There’s an old quote out there that goes something like, “If you have more than one quarterback, you don’t have a quarterback.” Alabama’s Bryce Young has his spot locked down with a 70.8 completion percentage and 571 yards in two games played. Florida coach Dan Mullen, however, has taken to the tag-team approach with quarterbacks Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson. Richardson became Florida’s lead rusher against USF last week with 115 yards and a touchdown. His 152 passing yards bested his fellow quarterback by one, yet Richardson did so on three completions. Jones went 14/22 for 151 yards and one touchdown. The back and forth gives me and plenty of other college football fans flashbacks of Georgia’s Jake Fromm/Justin Fields debacle from 2019. Regardless, the duo packs a punch. If they hope to stay within reach of a win, the Gator defensive line must maintain pressure on the poised Young to help the secondary contain such an explosive receiving crew. Alabama’s defense will have to stay on its toes as Florida’s offensive pendulum swings between two dual threat quarterbacks. With conference rivalry flowing deep in the veins of players and fans alike, this contest will be intense. An afternoon kickoff in a sold out Swamp will only turn up the heat. Alabama 45-27.
Florida and Alabama will kick off from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at 3:30 PM on Saturday. The game will be broadcast live on CBS as the SEC game of the week.