The Gators own the Orange Bowl, right? They’re undefeated here, 3-0 (4-0 if you count the BCS national title game in 2008), while Virginia has never played in this game. So, huge advantage, Florida.
And, well, the Gators are a better football team, ranked in the top 10, and more talented in just about every area. That’s why they’re more than a two-touchdown favorite and why they should win this game to move to 11-2 and remain in the top 10. So, huge advantage, Florida.
But, there are two potential problems the Gators must contend with. The first one is themselves. If they’re not fired up and focused (and full of respect for their opponent), they could mess things up and find a way to let the Cavs pull the upset.
Having been around the players the last few days, I don’t think that’s going to happen. The Gators have approached this like every other game this season — with focus and relentless effort on the practice field. So, they’re good there. No problem.
Now, onto the second problem. And it’s a big, old scary one.
The dual-threat quarterback is capable of beating Florida with his arm, his legs, his dynamic playmaking ability. The Gators really haven’t faced anyone like him all season. Not only has he thrown for more than 3,000 yards, he also leads the Cavaliers in rushing. He’s a huge threat as a passer, an even bigger one when he’s in the pocket trying to pass and then scrambles out of it and into the open field. Once he’s there, look out. Bad things are going to happen to the defense.
Todd Grantham has had time to put together a sound game plan to prevent Perkins from going off and producing chunk play after chunk play. The Gators will bring pressure, but they need to be smart about it, stay in their lanes and keep Perkins contained. When he does break out of the pocket, the Gators need to be good tacklers and get him on the ground. Perkins is going to make plays, he’s going to break off some runs and complete some passes downfield, but UF needs to limit those explosives.
Perkins can beat the Gators. The fact they are well aware of that fact is going to make it harder for him to do it. He’s going to hurt Florida, but not quite enough.
Prediction: Florida 31, Virginia 20.