(8) Florida (0-0) vs Miami FL (0-0)
When: Saturday, August 24, 2019
Where: Camping World Stadium,
Time: 7:00 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Florida -7.5/50.5
The 150th season of College Football will kick off Saturday night with a terrific in-state rivalry that – in my opinion – must be played every season around this time. The Florida Gators and Miami Hurricanes haven’t played since 2013 but both programs are trying to regain their once national prominence with high expectations this campaign. Florida head coach Dan Mullen took over a 4-7 team and quickly turned them into a 10-win program after an impressive 41-15 Peach Bowl victory over Michigan as 4-point underdogs. The Gators finally found an offense last year and went from 22.1 points a game in 2017 to 35.0 in 2018 while possessing one of the best defenses in the country. Miami will begin the season with a first-year head coach in Manny Diaz, but he’s no stranger to this program, serving as the defensive coordinator the last three seasons. He took over for Mark Richt who abruptly retired in the offseason after a dismal 7-6 campaign. The Hurricanes began last season with a loss to LSU then reeled off five straight wins before the offense went dead. They rebounded by winning their final two regular season games but were manhandled by Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl. Miami has won seven of the last eight meetings and holds a 29-26 series edge all-time. Saturday’s game will be played at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
The defense is still in good hands in Miami even though Diaz will hand the duties off to Blake Baker. Diaz invented the famed “Turnover Chain” and once again will have his defense creating turnovers just like they did last season. Miami was also the only defense in the country to average over 10 tackles for loss per game and knows Mullen’s schemes well when he was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach under the now Florida coach for two seasons (2010, 2015) at Mississippi State. Diaz has settled the quarterback battle for now and is going with redshirt freshman Jarren Williams over Ohio State transfer Tate Martell and last year’s sometimes starter N’Kosi Perry. Williams will have last year’s second-leading rusher DeeJay Dallas (634 yards, six touchdowns) and top two receivers Jeff Thomas (35 catches, 563 yards, three TDs) and tight end Brevin Jordan (32 catches, 287 yards, four TDs) as his primary weapons. Miami will get next week off before opening ACC play at North Carolina on September 7th.
The Gators will be led offensively again by quarterback Feleipe Franks, who took control of the starting job as a redshirt sophomore and threw for 2,457 yards and 24 touchdowns with only six interceptions in 2018 to help bring the program back to life. Including the big bowl win over Michigan, Florid averaged 45 points a game and at least 400 yards in their final four games under Franks and much of his offensive weapons return. Leading rusher Lamical Perine (834 yards, 7 TD) and the top seven receivers from 2018 return including Van Jefferson (35 receptions, 503 yards, 6 TD). Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will have second-team preseason All-America CB CJ Henderson back on the field along with seven other starters from last year. Florida will also have a bye week before facing UT Martin on September 7th.
I hate to lay the points in a game like this but the Gators have the edge at both quarterback and defense in this one. I’m not sure if Miami’s redshirt freshman QB will be ready for this Gators’ defense and Miami does not have the best track record in neutral site games, going 1-9 ATS in their last 10 tries. Miami will be improved this year, but I just don’t think they’re ready yet.
Pick: Florida -7 -125 (Buy the 1/2 point if its -7.5)
Hurricanes are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in August.
Hurricanes are 6-13 ATS in their last 19 games on fieldturf.
Hurricanes are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
Hurricanes are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 neutral site games.
Gators are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.
Gators are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games overall.
Gators are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 vs. ACC.
Gators are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games on fieldturf.
Under is 6-0-1 in Hurricanes last 7 games overall.
Under is 7-1 in Hurricanes last 8 neutral site games.
Under is 5-2 in Hurricanes last 7 vs. SEC.
Over is 4-0 in Gators last 4 games overall.
Over is 3-0-1 in Gators last 4 neutral site games.
Over is 5-1 in Gators last 6 non-conference games.
Under is 20-7 in Gators last 27 vs. ACC.
Hurricanes are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
Underdog is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.