Gators will play hard


On paper, this SEC Championship Game matchup looks like potentially the greatest mismatch in the history of the title game. Alabama’s defense is dominant; Florida’s offense is borderline inept. UF’s injury-depleted defense struggles against balanced offenses; Alabama’s offense has great balance and dynamic playmakers, including sensational freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts. The Tide is dynamic on special teams; the Gators are just OK.

When you look at all the numbers and stats and the way both teams have played coming down the stretch, it’s hard to find a path to victory for Florida. In fact, it’s hard to find a path to even keeping it a close, competitive game.

This has the potential to be the biggest rout in SEC Championship Game history, topping the 56-17 whipping Auburn put on South Carolina and Steve Spurrier in 2010. The only difference is I don’t see how the Gators have any chance of scoring 17 points against this Alabama defense, which has not given up a touchdown since Oct. 22.

Being around Jim McElwain and the players this week, I know the Gators are going to be inspired and play as hard as they can. I just don’t think it will be enough. The defense will keep the game respectable through the first half of the first half, but the Tide will have this game pretty much in hand by halftime.

With the injuries and lack of depth, things could really turn ugly in the second half.

Prediction: Alabama 31, Florida 3.

— Robbie Andreu