Tennessee is taking it’s first road trip of the season down to Gainesville to play Florida. This game will give any Tennessee fans some great memories and an ungodly amount of bad memories. The Vols haven’t won in the swamp since 2003 in Casey Clausen’s senior season. Since then Tennessee has lost it’s last seven trips to Gainesville and 13 out of the last 14 overall matchups. So, there’s a good reason why most Tennessee fans are hesitant to be optimistic about this game. But I’m going to tell you what not many people are and that I think this game is very winnable.
Who are they?
Florida is coming into this game no.9 in the country and 3-0 but I don’t think those numbers reflect this team. They are coached by Dan Mullen who’s in his second season as head coach after leading Florida to a win over Michigan in the sugar bowl. He coached 7 years at Mississippi State where he is the second all time winningest coach in school history.
Offensively the Gators aren’t the best team in the world. Last week vs Kentucky their long time starting QB Feleipe Franks went out for the season with a dislocated ankle, and they will have to start Kyle Trask who is making his first start since high school. History does tell us that backup gator QB’s usually light up the Vols but I’m not going to let history be the judge in this game. Florida’s offensive line is without a doubt their greatest weakness. They had to replace 4 of their starters from the 2018 season and have struggled so far this season. But, at wide receiver they’re solid. With Van Jefferson and Trevor Grimes in their senior seasons.
Florida had the best defensive line in the conference but last week vs Kentucky they lost second team all-SEC defensive end Jabari Zuniga. This should definitely give a boost to Tennessee because they don’t have the greatest offensive line in the world. But Florida’s secondary is still stellar with first team all-SEC CB C.J. Henderson. This defense is strong, but I still think Jim Chaney will find a way to move the ball on the gators. Florida defensive coordinator is Todd Grantham and the last 4 times Chaney’s offenses have gone up against Grantham’s defenses they’ve put up at least 31 or more points.
I realize most people are going to go with the Gators for many obvious reasons. Florida’s 3-0 and no.9 in the country and Tennessee is 1-2 with losses to BYU and Georgia State. That along with the fact that Florida has beyond dominated this series of late, but I see Florida as injury riddled, mess of a team. And no Tennessee isn’t a world beater, but I think they are good enough to win this game.
Prediction: Vols 23 Florida 20