I’ve been thinking all week that maybe I should stick with the safe pick and predict No. 3 Alabama will come into The Swamp and take down the young Gators. Many of my colleagues see this as a no-brainer. But they’ve been acting all week like Florida is facing the Green Bay Packers on Saturday instead of a great college team whose talent level isn’t all that much better than Florida’s.
Others say the Gators don’t have much of a chance. I say they have a very good chance. Las Vegas agrees. That’s why the betting line favoring the Tide has been dwindling all week.
In fact, I’m not going to waste anymore time on this. I’m going to go ahead and pull the trigger and predict the upset. Florida is going to win this game.
The Gators are going to do it with a strong defense that will prevent Trent Richardson from running wild and that will get after Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, who will be starting only his fifth game for the Tide and his first SEC road game. I see the Gators pressuring McCarron into some mistakes that can often hit an inexperienced QB in a hostile environment.
They’re going to do it by making some big plays on special teams.
They’re going to do it with an offensive game plan by Charlie Weis that will keep quarterback John Brantley in rhythm and keep that great Tide defense just a little bit on its heels for much of the night. Weis will find a way to create some openings for Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey — and that’s all those two need to make some big things happen.
They’re going to do it with the home-field advantage. The Swamp will be rocking like it never did last season. The fans are hungry. The Gators are hungry.
Time to eat.
Prediction: Florida 22, Alabama 19.