Florida may have had a 10-win season in 2018, but I did not. What I had is a seven-loss season, going 6-7 in my predictions for Gator games. That having been said, my credibility as a prognosticator (if I ever even had any in the first place) is clearly on the line in 2019.
And I’m opening with what many are considering a tough game to pick. But I’m viewing this UF-Miami showdown in simple terms. If the Gators’ young and inexperienced offensive line holds up against an excellent Miami defensive front, Florida is going to win, pulling away in the second half. If the line gets overwhelmed, which certainly could happen, the Gators are going to open the season with a devastating loss.
For the last two weeks, Florida players — both offensive and defensive — have been telling us, the media, that the line has made great progress under John Hevesy and will do just fine, giving the playmakers a chance to make plays and score points. That’s talk. Now comes reality in the form of Miami’s defensive front seven.
Two things to consider here: Hevesy is a really good offensive line coach; and Dan Mullen has shown he can coach around a struggling, sometimes overmatched, offensive line, like he did at Mississippi State last season.
That combination works for me. And it will work for the Gators on Saturday night.
Get ready to give a game ball to Hevesy and the Big Nasties.
Prediction: Florida 35, Miami 21.