Toledo vs. Florida 12:20 PM ET
Current Line: Florida -23.5
Current Total: 56.0
The Toledo Rockets and Florida Gators both open their season at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida on Saturday. A full capacity crowd of over 88,000 is once again expected at “The Swamp”. The Gators have won 23 straight home openers with their last loss coming in 1989 versus Mississippi. Florida is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 lined home openers. Toledo has lost 6 of their last 7 and 8 of the last 10 season openers.
Will Muschamp enters his 3rd season as the head coach at the University of Florida. In his first 2 seasons the Gators have gone 18-8. Last year the Gators had a terrific 11-1 regular season. Unfortunately the season ended on a sour note as the Gators were 33-23 upset losers to Louisville as a 14.0-point favorite in the Orange Bowl. Florida has had no shortage of quality depth since Urban Meyer was hired in 2005 and has carried over to the Muschamp regime. That depth will be tested this season as they return just 3 players on defense and 6 on offense. One of the 3 returnees on defense is 3rd team preseason All American defensive end Dominique Easley. The senior started 11 games a season ago recording 4.5 sacks, 4 tackles for losses, and 26 tackles overall. On offense junior quarterback Jeff Driskel returns for his 2nd full year as a starter. Last season Driskel threw for 1646 yards, completed 64% of his pass attempts, threw 12 touchdown passes, and had just 5 interceptions. Driskel can also beat you with his legs running for 413 yards in 2012.
Check out my picks on the SEC Season Wins Totals!~
Matt Campbell enters his 2nd full season as head coach of the Toledo Rockets. Toledo was 9-4 a year ago. Campbell also coached the Rockets in their 2011 bowl game after Tim Beckman left to take over as the head coach at Illinois. The Rockets were 42-41 winners in that 2011 bowl contest defeating Air Force. This is a Toledo program that’s gone 26-13 over the last 3 seasons and has gone to a bowl game in each of those years. The Rockets opened last season on the road at Arizona. They gave the Wildcats all they can handle before falling 24-17 in overtime, while covering against the college football odds as a 10-0-point underdog. The Rockets then proceeded to win their next 8 in a row before finishing 1-3 in the last 4.
Toledo returns 9 players to an offense that averaged 31 points and 445 yards per game. The offense will be led by senior quarterback Terrance Owens. Owens started 10 games a season ago and threw for 2707 yards while completing 61% of his passes, good for 14 touchdowns versus 8 picks. The Rockets also possess a game breaking running back in senior David Fluellen. The 6’0 and 215 pound back ran for 1498 yards and averaged 5.8 yards per carry in 2012. He became the 7th running back in the last 8 seasons to break the 1000-yard barrier at Toledo. Another player to watch for is senior wide receiver and kick returner Bernard Reedy. Reedy had 1113 yards receiving, averaged 27.6 yards per kickoff return, and 11.1 yards per punt return a year ago. The biggest question mark for the Rockets will come on the defensive side of the ball where only 3 starters return
We know the Gators will hold the edge in this game in overall team speed. The concern for the Gators faithful at least early on will be the lack of experienced starters on both sides of the ball. The defense in particular will be tested by a Toledo offense that possesses players at the skill positions that are more than capable of inflicting some damage. I’m predicting this game to be a lot closer than people are expecting. Ultimately the Gators will wear their MAC opponent down by the 4th quarter and prevail. However, the better than 3-touchdown point-spread is a bit steep in my opinion. I have a small lean toward the Toledo Rockets plus the big number for my College Football Picks here.
College Football Picks: Toledo to cover at Bet 365