The Florida Gators look to build off a big upset over Georgia this Saturday when they travel to Nashville for a college football betting clash with the Vanderbilt Commodores.
Among the upsets a week ago, none was bigger than the Florida Gators taking down Georgia at the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Florida head coach Will Muschamp was hailed a genius and had quite a few people in the mainstream media talking about it being a 'job-saving' victory. It won't mean squat, however; if Muschamp and the Gators can't beat the Vanderbilt Commodores this weekend in Nashville, and beat them soundly.
Florida and Vanderbilt boot the ball a little past 7:30 PM (ET) on the SEC Network. The Gators are expected to win by 14½ along with a 45½ total showing up on SBR's live NCAA football odds, that spread up a half from the start while the total has dipped a half.
A second consecutive loss in this series for Florida will mean Muschamp won't even survive the end of the 2014 college football season. Florida owns this series 35-10-2 and had a 22-game win streak in the books before the 'Dores came to Gainesville last year as 10 point 'dogs before pulling off a 34-17 upset.
The Gators are 16-7-1 in Music City over the years, winning the last 11 meetings, and the most recent four have all gone 'over' the totals.
Gators Hope To Gallop On Ground Again
Florida certainly deserves most of the credit for the 38-20 win at Georgia last week, but let's face it, this was also a Bulldogs defense that simply broke down against the run. The Dawgs had been allowing just more than 100 YPG rushing before the Gators broke off 418 on them.
The good news for Muschamp was seeing Matt Jones, who had been bothered by a knee injury, break free for just under 200 yards, which wasn't even enough to beat out Kelvin Taylor's career day with 197 on the ground.
Florida is going to miss a couple of key players for this one as neither Keanu Neal (ankle) nor Trenton Brown (knee) will suit up in Nashville. Neal, a sophomore safety, is third on the team in tackles and leads the Gators with three interceptions. Brown's a senior leader on the offensive line and been a starter since midway through 2013.
Doubtful for Saturday is true freshman Gerald Willis, one of the top defensive line recruits from the Class of '14, after he suffered a high-ankle sprain in the upset over Georgia.
Tough Season Continues For Vandy
The 214 season pretty much went out the window for the Commodores when James Franklin departed for Happy Valley. What momentum Vanderbilt was building under Franklin all but ended, and Derek Mason's first year on the job got off to a horrible start on the recruiting front.
Vanderbilt does have wins over UMass, Charleston Southern and Old Dominion, which would be quality wins if we were talking college hoops. Injuries have certainly been part of the problem, especially at quarterback where freshman Johnny McCrary was the fourth to start under center for Mason and the 'Dores a couple of games back at Missouri. Still, Vandy looks to be ready to assume it's position as the 'Dore-mat of SEC football for several years to come.
All signs point to a fairly enjoyable evening in Nashville, though a little on the cool side perhaps. The thermometer should be in the mid-to-upper 40s when the clubs kick things off at Vanderbilt Stadium, the skies mostly clear and a westerly breeze around 9-12 mph.
If Florida can generate a similar rushing attack, the Gators should be able to romp past a Vandy run defense that ranks in the second half of the nation. That may be easier said than done, and I certainly don't expect a 400+ yard effort on the ground like last week. But I do expect the Gators to have enough to beat the spread for my Free College Football Pick.
Free NFL Pick: Florida -14.5
Season: 49-29-1 (+17.10)