I’ve been hearing the comparisons all week between this season’s Arkansas game and last season’s Ole Miss game, that staggering upset in The Swamp. Certainly, there are similarities. Arkansas is from the Western Division and is led by a high-profile quarterback transfer from a traditional power. Last year, it wasJevan Snead. Saturday, it’s Ryan Mallett, the strong-armed thrower who transferred from Michigan and has been lighting it up lately.
The one big difference I see is that this Arkansas team appears to be much better than that Ole Miss team came in here and pulled the stunner. The Razorbacks have a lot of talent and speed at the skill positions, and a quarterback and an offensive scheme to make big things happen. Defensively, the Hogs are giving up lots of yards, but they come after you with lots of pressure.
Arkansas clearly has UF’s attention. But the Gators probably are more concerned with themselves this week. They’re trying to overcome some injuries, trying to find better balance in their offense, trying to develop a down-field passing game that has been mysteriously missing for most of the season.
Earlier in the week, Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said he would be surprised if his offense didn’t move the ball against the Florida defense. I will be, too. But moving the ball and scoring are two different things. I think the Gators will give up the most yards they have this season. But they’ll also come up with some sacks, interceptions and big plays that will make it hard for Arkansas to find the end zone. I seeUF giving up considerable yardage, but not that many points.
Offensively for Florida, it’s time to get going. Tim Tebow is healthy again, the Gators are playing at home and the Arkansas defense has been susceptible throughout the season. I have a feeling the Gators might actually come out passing in this game to set up the run. It’s been the other way all season, but change is good in this case.
Overall, there will be some nervous moments for sure in The Swamp for the UF faithful. But the Gators will gain control of this game late in the first half and get out with a very solid victory against a fast-improving team.
Score: Florida 38, Arkansas 17.