Is this the SEC East championship game? At the very least, it’ll go a long way to determining the division champ. Check out the Florida vs. Tennessee fearless prediction and game preview.
Florida vs. Tennessee Game Preview
Date: Saturday, September 24th
Game Time: 3:30 pm
Venue: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN
Why Florida Will Win
The Vols are better. They’re more talented, they’ve got the experience, and they’re at home in one of the program’s biggest games in a long, long time.
But it’s Tennessee.
The team was more talented, experienced and were at home against Appalachian State, too, but it was one right bounce away from losing.
Outside of a Virginia Tech turnover-fest in the second half, the Vols haven’t played anywhere near the level they’re supposed to over the first three games with an offense that doesn’t seem in sync and with way too many empty drives.
The Florida defense hasn’t faced a real offense yet, but it’s been beyond terrific so far destroying UMass, Kentucky and North Texas allowing under 400 total yards and just 14 points this season. Jabari Zuniga – with four sacks – and company have been destroying opposing backfields, while Florida’s O line has allowed just one sack so far.
Tennessee’s offense isn’t going to find itself this week, because it’s Tennessee.
Why Tennessee Will Win
It’s Austin Appleby.
It’s never a positive when you have to go into a big game with a backup quarterback, and it’s doubly bad when you have to go into a big game with a guy who couldn’t cut it at Purdue.
Appleby is a big, mobile option who’ll step in for a banged up Luke Del Rio – who’s out with a knee injury – and now he has to carry the offense by not making mistakes and letting the defense get the job done. However, turnovers did him in at Purdue, and he only completed 2-of-5 passes in no-big-deal time against North Texas.
Can he hit third down play after third down play – more like fourth down play after fourth down play – to do to the Vols what Will Grier did last year? Tennessee’s D hasn’t been great on third downs, but it’ll take its chances with the No. 2 guy.
And then there’s Tennessee’s rough start. To spin a negative into something that sounds decent, the Vols have been tested and they’ve been able to come through. It’s an ugly 3-0, but it’s 3-0. Florida has yet to break a sweat and hasn’t dealt with any adversity.
What’s Going To Happen?
Tennessee beat Florida in a 30-28 thriller in 2004. The Gators have won 11 straight since then finding various ways to make Volunteer fans feel sad including wins by a grand total of two points over the last two years.
You never, ever, ever, ever, ever mess with a streak, unless the other team is playing a Purdue quarterback.
Joshua Dobbs will handle himself well under the pressure, but it’s going to be an ugly grind of a game. The Vols will finally snap the run, but it’s not going to be anyone’s game for the ages.
Florida vs. Tennessee Prediction
Final Score: Tennessee 20, Florida 17
Line: Tennessee -7, o/u: COMING
ATS Confidence: 5: Xmas in September – 1: Get out now … 3
Must See Rating: 5: The Magnificent Seven – 1: The Voice … 4.5