Picking Kentucky over Florida has been a popular pick around the country. And, when you think about it, it does make sense.
The Wildcats are 3-0, coming off a big road win at South Carolina and will be jacked (along with their fans) to end the Gators’ 30-game winning streak in the series. And the UK roster is deeper and more talented than it’s been in perhaps decades.
On the other side, of course, the Gators are struggling on offense, have some apparent holes on defense (poor tackling, in particular) and are stepping into a hostile and frenzied environment with a whole bunch of young players, including possibly two true freshmen starting at cornerback.
Take Kentucky. It’s a smart pick. And by no means an upset.
But, I’m just not ready to go there.
Here’s the main reason why: The Wildcats are not nearly as good as everyone seems to think they are. They struggled against Southern Miss. They struggled against Eastern Kentucky. Their win at USC looks good, but upon closer examination,is not that good. The Gamecocks were getting some hype going into that game after beating Missouri 31-13. But after seeing what Purdue did to Missouri last week, that USC win was unimpressive. Which makes UK’s win over USC less impressive. Does that make sense? Does to me.
Here’s another reason: The offense will continue to grow with Feleipe Franks and the talented young playmakers like Kadarius Toney and Malik Davis. Franks and the offense have a chance to steadily improve over the course of the season. The next step is Saturday night. On defense, the Gators have great overall speed and will successfully contain dual-threat quarterback Stephen Johnson, which will hamstring the UK offense.
So, there it is. I’m not going with the popular pick on this one.
Prediction: Florida 16, Kentucky 14.