The last time the Gators traveled to Lexington two years ago, I was convinced the Wildcats were going to upset the Gators and end their long (now 28 games) losing streak to UF. The pick made perfect sense. UF had lost starting quarterback Jeff Driskel to a broken lower leg the week before against Tennessee, and backup QB Tyler Murphy would be making his first college start in a very hostile environment. My feeling at the time was the Gators were ripe, and if UK didn’t snap the streak it might be years before it had another chance.
So, I made the pick: Kentucky. And, of course, the Gators won. And, of course, I took a lot of good-natured ribbing from many, including some from within the athletic department (Kentucky! Are you serious?).
Now, two years later, I find myself having a similar feeling that I did in 2013: Kentucky is going to end the streak. The pick makes sense. The Wildcats are coming off an emotional win at South Carolina and they’re coming home to what will be a loud and energetic crowd seeking lots of Gator blood after 28 straight years of futility against UF. Conversely, the Gators are coming off a lousy (and embarrassing) performance against East Carolina. Even the usually strong secondary caved in, giving up more than 300 yards passing.
So, when you look at it logically, picking the ’Cats is a sound decision.
But I’m going with my considerable gut on this one. And my gut says Florida. A lot of that gut feeling comes from the vibe emanating from Jim McElwain and the players this week. They seem really locked in and focused after all that mess last week. The Gators seem to have come together. And they seem confident about this matchup and determined to play their best game of the season, which is it will probably take.
So, here’s to the gut.
Prediction: Florida 21, Kentucky 19.