It's been a while since these two Sunshine State rivals have met, and Miami-Florida will probably wish it was a while longer after the Florida Gators cover the big spread on Saturday.
Amazingly, the Gators have lost their last six meetings with the Hurricanes, although this is the first meeting between these two rivals since the '04 Peach Bowl (Miami won, 27-10). That's worth pointing out because from '05-'07, while the Gators have gone 31-8 (including winning a national championship in '06), the 'Canes are just 21-16 (12-24 ATS!) during that span, including a 5-7 mark last year.
Florida 'warmed up' for its meeting with Miami by trouncing overmatched Hawaii last Saturday in "The Swamp," beating the Rainbows 56-10. Tim Tebow was asked to do very little but the Florida defense was in midseason form, holding the Rainbows without a TD until the game's final two minutes. Florida's secondary returned two interceptions for touchdowns, plus Brandon James threw in a 74-yard punt return TD as well.
Miami opened last Saturday with a 52-7 home win over Charleston Southern, christening its new home (Dolphin Stadium) after spending seven decades in the Orange Bowl. True freshman QB Jacory Harris accounted for two touchdowns. Harris started only because first-string QB Robert Marve (a red-shirt freshman) was serving a one-game suspension for disciplinary reasons. Marve is expected to start here and ironically will square-off against Heisman-winner Tim Tebow. A "side story" to this game is the fact that Marve broke Tebow's state high school records for yards and TDs.
Expect Tebow to bring his "A-game" for this contest against a Miami defense adapting to its third defensive coordinator in the last three years. The Hawaii 'cover' makes Florida 6-1 ATS in their last seven home games and Miami, with just eight returning starters, is just 3-7 ATS on the road the last two years, including blowout losses at Oklahoma (51-13) and Virginia Tech (44-14) last season. Lay the points with the Gators.
Free Pick: Florida -22½ (-110)