Tennessee prediction time

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I have a strong feeling about Saturday’s game in Knoxville, and my feeling is this: This is going to be a real four-quarter struggle for the Gators and they’re going to have to come from behind in the second half to win the game.

Granted, Tennessee fell apart in the second half last week after Oregon went up-tempo on the depth-shy Vols. But I don’t think Florida’s offense is good enough to do that, at least not yet. I see John Brantley and the offense struggling again, especially early in the game in the loud, hostile environment the Gators will be facing.

I know the Gators think they can pound the ball at the Vols with their downhill running game, but UF is going to have to generate a consistent passing game or the Vols are going to gang up on the run — and the UT defense is capable of stopping the run.

Another concern is Florida’s run defense. It was very suspect last week and the Vols have a running back who can cause a lot of damage. Tailback Tauren Poole is averaging 136 yards rushing a game and he’s a very hard runner who breaks a lot of tackles.

Florida played much better in the second half a week ago against South Florida, and Brantley and the offense seem to be gaining some confidence. Some early success in Saturday’s game would be huge for Brantley. The problem is the offense has gotten off to horrific starts in the first two games, and I’m not sure that will change in this one. I see a lot of negative plays happening for the UF offense in the first quarter.

The Gators are going to face a lot of adversity early. How they handle it will go a long way toward determining the outcome of this game.

I see this one playing out a lot like the 2006 game, where the Gators had to rally in the second half to pull out a 21-20 victory.

Prediction: Florida 21, Tennessee 20.

35 COMMENTS

  1. Robbie,

    Look a little closer next time…Vol’s rely on downhill running much more that Gators and have few options in the passing game…UF run defense struggled against QB runs and QB options by a far superior QB, not i-formation tailback runs…Gators D commit 8 early and force Simms to make plays…UF DB’s continue to force turnovers and give Brantley a short field…UF shows play action on offense and more downfield passing JB and DT have career days…this one gets ugly…UF 48 – 10

  2. worng wrong wrong, the gators will wear the vols down and the vols have not played against any defense at all – how can you not see the paper tigers for what they are

    Marshall – Livin the good life as a Gator in Tennessee!

  3. The only weakness I saw in Gator run defense last week was when their QB took off with the ball. Otherwise they shut down USF runners, so I don’t worry about the defense vs. run or pass. I think the key for Florida is to use the pass to open up the running game. That’s what happened in the second half when Brantley was slinging passes all over the field and the running game blossomed. They need to pass first and often and the run will take care of itself. I think the Gators blow out UT 42-14. Bet on it!

  4. I almost agree with you to the letter! It’s the numbers where we differ! I hate to say it and this isn’t a “trash my team” pick. I just worry about the youth and if we get behind early, it will be too much for the young guys to overcome. I, too, see a lot of mistakes which will result in the offense being on the field too much.

    I hope I am wrong, but, I predict a score of; UT 24 UF 17

    Please call me a bone-head if I am wrong! It will be the first time I appreciated being called such!

  5. I’m horrible at predictions, so I won’t bother. However, Simms isn’t the running threat that BJ Daniels is, so I think the D game plan will be different this Saturday. I don’t expect UF to blow them out, but I don’t think the game will come down to the final minute.

  6. I think we also have an edge on special teams!! We have some really fast players! Plus Oregon put 245 yards rushing…and now that is our game!!
    And the vols other than Poole they don’t have much in running backs.

    Also in 3rd downs…the Vols only had 5 conversions against Tennessee-Martin and only 2 against Oregon so TO ME!! this game is way more balanced that what Rob said here!!

    Gators 34 Vols 24

  7. I’ve been taking the opposite tack, Robbie, and believe this Florida offense is waiting to explode on someone. Tennessee looks ripe to me. Third game of the season, a bunch of guys who played over their heads against Oregon a week ago and were ultimately blown out. The Vollies surrendered 45 points in the last 33 minutes. I think UT comes out playing hard but the Gators will air it out, hit a couple of big strikes early and the rout will be on. So I’m going with my friend JPGator, about 42-13, and the Gators 2010 will be back!

  8. I have a gut feeling that our gators have found their stride. There has been a lot of “behind closed doors” issues that Urban has kept from the public…Chris Rainey, Will Hill and so on…distractions, distractions, distractions….but that has sorta been cleaned up by Urban stepping up to the plate and beginning to act like a Head Coach; pertaining to team players arrest and shoddy academic performances…yep, I am gonna stick my neck WAY OUT over the chopping block and say the Gators are hitting on all cylinders and ready for the SEC level of play! Gators 43, Vols 14…and they won’t sputter from the opening kick! GULP!

  9. Once again, the same old mealymouthed pessimism from Brockway and Dooley. Imagine that. I think you guys only do this because you like the I told you so moment and the Gators can’t be National Champs every year and can’t win every game so you are just playing the odds. That, and you probably both have grass stained visors enshrined somewhere in your dingy wood-paneled basements. I love him too but you guys have to let him go. Every other article from Dooley involves the OBC. And UM is never gonna let you hold his hand and blow in his ear, but you guys are journalists. That stuff shouldn’t matter.

  10. God I hate when people use college football stats as the sole reason behind a terrible prediction. Robbie, this isnt the NFL, Tennessees rushing stats have came against a D2 team and a good first half against Oregon. I pay no attention to those numbers. I feel that we win big. Key is going to be getting the offense going early and scoring the first few times we get the ball. And I think the offense is due, it a bomb waiting to explode. I believe Floridas defense can contain UT just as Oregon did, EASILY. UT isnt going to be running all those read-runs that USF did. At some point UF will need to make UT play catch-up. And once UT has to rely on Simms making plays throwing, its a done deal. Ball game. Knoxille isnt a very tough place to play, how many games has UT lost there in the last 5 years or so???

  11. The Gators have dealt with adversity for most of the off season and now into the season iteslf. This will be the game that brings them together again.

    We have built on each week so far, and it is time for things to start firing on all cylinders. My prediction….

    UF 41 – UT 20

  12. I agree that the hostile environment will give UT a lift early, as it did vs. Oregon, but UF will be able to load the box to stop the run(can ANY Pac-10 team play run D?), now that Will Hill is back, with Black moving up towards the line now. I agree UF’s O will struggle early(don’t they always?), but the D will keep UT in check, and eventually will force turnovers, and the O will make some plays. Also, UT’s punt coverage was horrific vs. Oregon, look out for Janoris there.
    Supposed to be 90 degrees in Knoxville tomorrow, our depth will be huge. If it’s close at halftime, I see UF pulling away in the 2nd half, 27-10 UF.

  13. Little has been made of the “patch-work” O-line we’ve been playing with the last couple of weeks. With the line back intact, the running lanes should be even a bit bigger this week. The defense will undoubtedly stack the box to limit Poole’s yards, forcing Simms to throw the ball, and we have some “hawks” back there waiting to feast on that. I suspect Neyland will be half empty mid-way through the 3rd quarter, and the Gators win something like 35-13.

  14. “Momentum,” is such a psychological factor in football. The Gators have the players to win big in Knoxville. Question is will they get down on themselves if things don’t go perfectly early? I believe they have the confidence in themselves to stay the course to a win. I still remember the UF-WVU game when Florida was down 14 points while WVU players cheap-shotted Fl running backs. Made the Gator more mad and determined. Hope the crown noise and hostile atmosphere will similarly movitate our Gators. Gators 35, Tenn 21

  15. I think the defense will keep us in the game until Brantley and the rest of the offense settle down and start making plays on stride. It may be the third quarter, but I think the Gators will find their groove and walk out of Neyland Stadium with a victory.
    I cannot predict the final score (although 21-20 seems a little funny to pick in my opinion Robbie, with all due respect) but I feel the Gators will get their W.
    I keep saying this all along, Gators: Just Play Football and forget about your surroundings!
    YOU EITHER LOVE US OR HATE US, GO GATORS !!!

  16. Robbie, I take it that you are not impressed with the Gators this year. I agreed at one time with you until the second half of both games. If we lose to UT as young and as thin as they are it will be like heck froze over.

  17. This game is all about stopping the run. If Florida does it and jumps out ahead, it’s all over. If UT does it and manages to hang around for a half, Gators win in the second half. Either way, Vols cannot play with us for 4 qts., turnovers willing. Gators win 28-17.

  18. Tennessee has:
    A brand new QB
    A starting Center who 6 months ago was a JC guard trying to walk on to Nevada
    A true freshman WR and a defensive back trying to give a credible receiving threat
    5 new starters on the offensive line
    A 220 lb walk-on at MLB
    A safety who was playing minor league baseball a year ago
    1 SEC caliber DT. They lost John Brown to grades and two other top players to injury.
    .
    UF walks away with this. If UT sticks around for 20 minutes, they earn a moral victory.
    .
    Don’t know what’s up with Sun writers today, This isn’t the day for doom and gloom. That’s in two weeks.

  19. And of course if you are totally wrong…you are going to say “Well I am glad I was totally wrong”…lol…funny There is no accountability in sports reporting..Whatever pops into your head. I know, I know, you have a feeling….If I made a prediction like this where I work, that I had a strong feeling we would outperform or undeperform the competition, and it fell flat on its face…I’d be fired. Of course this doesn’t happen in predicting sports…it is just a game after all right? You have a great job man!!!! What game are you going to say some sensational about next? Gotta do something to keep it interesting, right? lol

  20. Here we go again UF already has the game won why don’t you all just stay home and forfeit it you are so darn sure you won already. Reminder the game ain’t played in your mind or your mouth it is played on the field and that is why on any Saturday any team can be beat Remember Applachian State???????????????? GO VOLS

  21. BJ,

    Hope springs eternal, I know, but between the center who is going to get blown up on every play, and the QB who telegraphs his softly overthrown passes, how are you going to move the ball?

    How will you stop the run up the middle when your only good DT wears out? With your undersized walk-on MLB?

    If you can’t block at the point of attack, and you can’t stop the run off tackle, you lose. That’s football.

    Hoping and praying won’t change that.

  22. Two guys debating predictions over who will win a footbal game is like 2 ticks arguing over who owns the dog. It matters not a lick. Players go out on the field and play the game, and the outcome is decided by their play, regardless of what the sports writers, bloggers, the ESPN Game Day boys such as Corso, Mayday, Dr. Lou or pretty boy Kirk care to chatter on about. Of course, I guess that’s the fun of it, and I do love college football. Beats the NFL any day to me. Go Gators!!!

  23. Exactly where does this “down hill running attack” come from? We have speed on the outside with Demps, but thats about it. My only concern now is we have no real playmakers on the inside. Hines instead of Debose? And Debose sitting behind Thompson? Some good thoughts, but just cause they struggled in the beginning of game 1 and 2 doesn’t mean they will again here. I think the offense will be a lot more productive because they know they have to be. Gators, 24-14.

  24. We are better and deeper. They have at monster home advantage on a young team and a very big line in front of a good RB. If they don’t get intimidated and blown out in the first half they will be ok. I say UF by a few.

  25. “Travis Stephens was nearly unstoppable, running for 226 yards and two touchdowns as the fifth ranked Tennessee Volunteers ended a seven-game losing streak at Florida with a 34-32 upset of the Gators Saturday in Gainesville. The win – before a record crowd of 85,771 – earns the Volunteers the SEC East title and a berth in next Saturday’s SEC Championship game against LSU”.

    It is memories like this that make me concerned as to whether the UF defensive front is up to stopping UT today. Can Omar Hunter be a run stopper? Can our linebackers bring it a little more strongly head on? I am optimistic the offense will continue to improve and should be good enough in Knoxville, but the defense’s run stopping ability is still a question in my mind. I expect Will Hill will be busy, and I expect the Gators to win.

  26. Thank God I was wrong! For a while there, I sure felt I would be right! If we played a UT team with some depth, it may have been different. Give Dooley credit. he had them ready to play and if he keeps recruiting well, wemwill see the traditional battles again, soon! Go Gators!