I’m having a strange feeling about this game. I smell an upset, I really do.
South Carolina has not been all that well offensively, but quarterback Stephen Garcia has improved dramatically. He’s got some talented young receivers who are making plays, and now, Steve Spurrier is going back to calling plays this week. If Spurrier opens things up a little and Garcia and those receivers perform at a high level, the Florida defense is going to have its hands full. If South Carolina scores early, especially a touchdown, this game could get really scary for the Gators.
The way the Florida offense is playing, the Gators are going to have trouble putting up a lot of points against a very good, very fast and athletic South Carolina defense. If Tim Tebow doesn’t get better protection, this could turn into a real meltdown game for the offense. Something tells me the Gators will be playing from behind at some point in this game. How they react to that will be huge.
One area where Florida appears to have a considerable edge is in special teams. UF’s are excellent; USC’s are very average at best (and very poor in kickoff coverage). If the Gators are a big winner in the battle for field position, it will take the pressure off of both the offense and the defense. And a relaxed Florida has been a more efficient Florida throughout the season.
If the Gators get past this game, it looks like they’ll be 12-0 heading into the SEC title game. UF will be a pretty heavy favorite against Florida International and Florida State, which will be without quarterback Christian Ponder. But now is not the time to look ahead. The Gators need to stay focused on this game and come out of it with a victory.
I’m sensing the upset. I can feel it, and I’m close to pulling the trigger on it. But I can’t. This Florida team will find a way to slug out another victory.
Prediction: Florida 17, South Carolina 16