Fact or Fiction: Gators’ talented secondary will have multiple pick-sixes

Florida defensive back Brad Stewart Jr. dives for the end zone during the fourth quarter after intercepting a LSU pass and returning it for a TD at The Swamp on Oct. 6, 2018. The Florida Gators beat the LSU Tigers 27-19. [Lauren Bacho/Gainesville Sun]

Our Fact or Fiction segments have been doing well on our website. We have decided to continue with them right up until the SEC makes its decision about whether or not to play games. So here we go with Pat Dooley and Robbie Andreu of the Gainesville Sun embracing the debate: 

Item 1 

Florida had a streak of 14 straight seasons with an interception return for a touchdown snapped last season. This season, the Gators will have multiple Pick-Sixes.

 Andreu: By definition, multiple means more than one, so yes, the Gators will have a chance to have multiple Pick-Sixes in 2020. There are multiple reasons why, starting with the secondary, which will have all kinds of speed and talent roaming around back there. The corners (Kaiir Elam and Marco Wilson) are really good and instinctive and the Gators are deep and talented at safety. Throw in the aggressive style of play under coordinator Todd Grantham and a strong front, and this defense is going to score multiple points via the pick this season. FACT. 

Dooley: In four of those 14 seasons, Florida only returned one interception for a score. So it’s not like it’s a guarantee. It will be interesting to see how Todd Grantham plays with the defense, which is extremely talented but somewhat inexperienced. Blitzes sometimes lead to easy scores and I think Florida will be on the attack up front because the Gators feel comfortable with the secondary. And that will lead to some touchdowns. FACT.

Item 2

There will be more than 10 bowl games played this season, not including the College Football Playoff.

Andreu: There might be 10. There might be more. There might be less. There might not be any. That’s really where we’re at at this stage, with the season a little more than just a month away. We just don’t know what the virus is going to do and how it’s going to affect the season, much less the postseason. This is just a guess, of course, but … FICTION.

Dooley: There are two ways to look at this. On the one hand, the players love bowl games and could use a reward for getting through a season. On the other hand, do you really want to bring two teams moved to a city for almost a week? Of course, it all depends on where we are with the virus. I can see some of the long-standing bowl games being played and even see the teams flying in the day of the game. But the smaller, younger bowls will likely sit this one out. FICTION.

Item 3

All-SEC teams will not only add a non-conference game to their schedules, but a ninth conference game as well to make it an even 10.

Andreu: Ten sounds like a nice, round number for the season, and that may indeed be the SEC model that could possibly come out later this week. I’m not sure how doable the nine-game SEC schedule is, but there’s no question the league would like to keep its marquee non-conference games in play — Florida-FSU, South Carolina-Clemson, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Tennessee-Oklahoma, Auburn-North Carolina and LSU-Texas. FACT.

Dooley: Isn’t this the $64 million question? How many games will be played? The Big 12 is still making noise like it expects a 12-game season and we know the SEC doesn’t want to take a back seat to any other conference. There are some people within the conference who believe the league is going to follow an eight-plus-one model with the normal eight conference games and one non-conference. Whatever the case, I’m betting the under. FICTION.