Why Kentucky should win:
The Wildcats have exactly the kind of offense the Gators have had problems with all season: a throwing quarterback working behind an experienced offensive line with excellent and fast wide receivers. And you can throw in a sound running game. It’s the kind of balance that’s tough to defend, the kind of balance UF has failed to defend.
This is all setting up for a huge game for Heisman hopeful quarterback Andre’ Woodson, who should have a monster game if he has time to throw against the Gators’ young secondary. And the way the Gators have played defense so far, Woodson is almost certain to have time to survey the field. If he does, the ‘Cats are going to sail up and down the field and score lots of points.
On the other side of the ball, the UK defense has been giving up some yards and points, but this is a group that is much-improved from a year ago. The ‘Cats shut down LSU’s running game when the game was on the line in the fourth quarter a week ago and enters this game on an emotional high. UK will try to contain Tim Tebow and produce some turnovers.
The ‘Cats are playing a bend-but-don’t-break style of defense similar to what the Gators played a year ago. Teams are driving on them, but the ‘Cats’ are keeping them out of the end zone a high percentage of the time.
Why Florida will win:
Urban Meyer does not lose when he has more than a week to prepare for an opponent. He’s had two weeks to come up with a game plan for the Wildcats and it probably will be a good one.
In coming up with a defensive plan, there’s no question the Florida coaches spent a great deal of time studying the tape of the UK-South Carolina game, which USC won 38-23. The Gamecocks found a way to get some pressure on Woodson and threw off the timing of UK’s offense. It also helped produce two defensive touchdowns that killed any hope of Kentucky winning on the road.
Here’s the biggest thing in the Gators’ favor: the Wildcats have had a difficult time defending athletic quarterbacks who can run and throw and run the option. That, of course, is the definition of Tim Tebow.
The thought here is that Woodson is going to have a big game, but Tebow’s is going to be even bigger and the Gators will outscore the Wildcats.
Here’s another thought: the Florida offensive line played its best game of the season against LSU. It will play even better in this game.
Prediction: Florida 38, Kentucky 35