In our NCAA football pick Florida plays Tennessee. Both teams are 3-0 and in the SEC East. The Vols are favored at +5.0. This is obviously a huge game for both teams, and it is expected to be a close one. Scheduled to start 3:30 pm at Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium, the Gators have an 11-game winning streak in this series. The last two contests have been decided by one-point. A major complication for Florida is the fact that their starting QB Luke Del Rio is out with an injury. Austin Appleby, a graduate transfer from Purdue with a 2-9 record as a starter, takes over.
Florida Offense vs. Volunteers Defense
Appleby gets the nod at QB for the Gators. In their first three games, Florida averaged just over 33 PPG. That was with Del Rio running the offense. In three games, Del Rio had six TD passes and two INTs. That’s a lot of offense. But there’s good news on the offensive front as the Gators do bring a solid ground attack to the field. RBs Jordan Scarlett (33 ATT, 175 YDs, 5.3 AVG, 2 TDs), Mark Thompson (32 ATT, 166 YDs, 5.2 AVG, 2 TDs), and Lamical Perine (29 ATT, 161 YDs, 5.6 AVG, 1 TD) will need to be productive in this game.
The Vol defense has been good overall, but they have not shutdown opponents. In three games, the defense has allowed an average of 33 PPG. That’s against teams that are nowhere near the caliber of Florida. They are vulnerable to both the run and the pass. If they are going to keep the Gators in check, they will need contributions from Derek Barnett and Jalen Reeves-Maybin in taking down the QB and stopping the run. Injuries to key defensive players have put extra pressure and Barnett, Reeves-Maybin, and others.
Tennessee Offense vs. Gators D
Overall, Tennessee has been winning its games on offense. QB Joshua Dobbs brings a whole lot to the field as both a passer and rusher. He’s tossed six TDs, but he has also thrown three INTs. Dobbs has three rushing touchdowns and is averaging 4.4 YPA. RB Jalen Hurd (4.2 AVG, 2 TDs) is an important part of this team’s scoring.
Junior WR Josh Malone (9 REC, 21.8 AVG, 4 TDs) can be a game-changer.
The Gators D has performed well thus far, limiting opponents to a total of 14 points. Bryan Cox and Jarrad Davis are major performers on defense who will need to pressure Dobbs and contain him. We like the Gator defense in this game, and think that they will keep this game close.
NCAA Football Pick Florida Plays Tennessee
In our NCAA football pick Florida plays Tennessee, we feel if the Gators can perform well on the ground, eating up yards, scoring, and controlling the ball while shutting down the Tennessee offense, they will keep this game close. We think they will. Thus, we’re taking the Florida Gators at +5.0 in this game. Will they win it outright? Maybe not, but we do expect the final score to be within the spread.