Last week, I predicted the Gators would open their season with a 48-10 victory over Florida Atlantic. I didn’t get the score right, but I nailed the point difference — 38 points — so maybe I’ve got the feeling back after a lousy 2010 season picking Florida games.
Like John Brantley and Florida, my confidence is up.
Here’s my feeling on this game: It’s going to be a good test and a tough test that will get the Gators ready for the start of SEC play next week against Tennessee.
The UAB offense, led by senior quarterback Bryan Ellis, is going to have some success and score some points against Dan Quinn’s defense. Ellis has good skill players around him and he can really wing it, having thrown for almost 3,000 yards last season. This should be a great test for a young Florida secondary that is expected to start two true freshmen for the second week in a row. This is the kind of test those guys really need.
The Blazers have a new defensive coordinator, former Clemson and Memphis head coach Tommy West, and new excitement about slowing teams down this season, something they struggled with last season. UF offensive coordinator Charlie Weis doesn’t know exactly what to expect from the UAB defense, but he’ll come in with another great game plan and keep the Blazers off balance with his play-calling. I look for Weis to open up a little bit more of his playbook and I expect Brantley to be even sharper than a week ago, and get the wide receivers more involved in the passing game.
This should be a very entertaining game to watch — and a good one for the Gators.
Prediction: Florida 42, UAB 21.