After hearing all this hype surrounding Tyler Bray and the Tennessee passing game early in the week, I started thinking maybe I needed to enlist in the growing Vol Navy and pick the Vols to win Saturday’s game in The Swamp. I know many others around the SEC (and the country) who are doing that. But I’m not going there.
The more I think about this game and the many matchups (and possible mismatches), the more I think about what Will Muschamp has been saying since he accepted the job at Florida. The SEC is a line of scrimmage league. So I’m focusing on that and removing all the clutter — stuff like the fact Bray and his receivers could severely torch a young Florida secondary.
This game is all about the line of scrimmage. This is where the game will be won or lost. And this, in my opinion, is where the Gators have a pretty strong edge on the Vols.
UF’s defensive front will receive a huge boost this week with the return of end/tackle Sharrif Floyd, who could emerge as one of the league’s most dominant defensive linemen this season. The Gators were good without Floyd in the first two games. They could be really, really good now that he’s back. The Gators will be going against a very young UT offensive front that has a very big upside, and could become one of the best in the SEC. But that’s probably next season. Huge edge here for the Gators.
As for Florida’s offensive line, it has been efficient so far. It has opened holes for Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey and it has protected John Brantley, who has not been sacked this season. The UT defensive front is fast and aggressive, but there is little depth and there’s a good chance starting end Ben Martin will miss the game with a sprained ankle. Again, edge to the Gators.
Win the line of scrimmage, win the game. That’s my take on this one.
Prediction: Florida 35, Tennessee 21