Why Florida Will Win
– Kyle Trask. Yeah, a few of his five interceptions have been really, really bad, but he’s been able to make up for them with a whole lot of big plays. He started out the season with four or more touchdown passes in his first six games, and then he took things up a notch by connecting on more big shots down the field.
He might not be the most talented quarterback in college football, but he might win the Heisman, Kyle Pitts is the best tight end in the game and is a mortal lock to win the Mackey Award, and Kadarius Toney, Trevon Grimes and the rest of the receiving corps have gone off.
Alabama’s secondary hasn’t been pushed all that hard since early in the season when it allowed back-to-back 330-plus yard passing games to Texas A&M and Ole Miss. It’s about to be in for an interesting day.
– It’s been lost in the various issues on defense, but the Gators get to the quarterback. They lead the SEC in sacks and are as good as anyone at generating tackles for loss, with the pressure coming from all sides.
15 different Florida defenders have produced at least one sack, and now they get to bring it against an Alabama quarterback who’s used to enjoying a light lunch while waiting for his receivers to get open. The pressure is going to be there from the defense, and …
– The pressure is sort of off the whole Florida team. It wasn’t expected to win this game no matter what happened against LSU. Now that the College Football Playoff is almost certainly off, it can just let it rip and hope that Alabama can’t handle being in a close game.
Outside of a few injuries and Nick Saban’s bout with COVID, there’s been almost no adversity whatsoever with this team. Maybe Ole Miss made things a little bit interesting, but not really.
Almost every game has been target practice in the first half, and a light scrimmage in the second. Florida has the offense to keep up, but …
Why Alabama Will Win
– The Florida secondary got whacked around a bit by Vanderbilt, Tennessee and LSU over the last month. The “it looks like (insert Vanderbilt or Tennessee or LSU) has found its quarterback” chatter on social media was off the charts.
Tennessee’s Harrison Bailey and LSU’s Max Johnson are two potential stars, but they’re not there yet. Florida’s D hyped them up to be the next Peyton Manning and Joe Burrow.
The Gator secondary hasn’t been that bad, but even with the pressure from the great pass rush, it’s struggling. That’s not a plus going against …
– Mac Jones has been brilliant. He hasn’t needed to be as bombs-away like Trask, but he’s not making any mistakes – just three picks spread out over the season – he’s averaging 11.7 yards per throw, and he’s connecting on 77% of his passes. It helps to have DeVonta Smith – he of the 83 catches, 1,327 yards and 15 touchdowns – and John Metchie to throw to, and Najee Harris to take the ball 20 times a game.
It’s Alabama. There are always going to be superstar skill talents, but this year …
– The offensive line is special, even for Alabama. Nick Saban almost doesn’t get enough credit for putting together a factory for superstar college offensive tackles. It’s not really the year to gush too much about anything being the best ever, but this front five is right there with his best. Hold off the Florida pass rush just a little bit, and uh-oh.