1 Alabama vs. 11 Florida: College Football Game of the Week Prediction
The first marquee matchup in the Southeastern Conference kicks off this Saturday between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Florida Gators. The game between the two programs is a rematch from last year’s SEC championship game. Alabama won 52-46. This time, Florida gets the benefit of playing in “The Swamp,” but oddsmakers don’t seem too confident that Florida’s home-field advantage will disrupt the defending National Champions.
The Tide has picked up where they left off after winning their 18th National Title. Under Head Coach Nick Saban, Alabama is 14-3 against top 25 teams since 2018. The Gators will be the first test for quarterback Bryce Young in regards to the SEC. So far, Young has thrown seven touchdown passes and no interceptions and is completing close to 71% of his passes.
While Young has emerged as a Heisman Trophy candidate, the Gators have a quarterback controversy brewing. Emory Jones has been the starter, but Anthony Richardson has been solid when he has been on the field. In just two games this season, Jones has already thrown four interceptions. Richardson had 267 total yards (152 passing, 115 rushing) and three touchdown scores on just seven touches in last week’s win over South Florida.
It’s a tough challenge for either quarterback against number-one ranked Alabama. Bama’s defense has forced five turnovers and holding opponents to 67.5 rushing yards per game. For Florida to have a chance of winning this football game, they must play mistake-free football throughout the entire contest. Also, if Alabama commits any turnovers or errors in Saturday’s game, Florida will need to capitalize on those opportunities.
Their defense will also need to get off the field on third down. Because if they fail to do so, it will be a long day down in Gainesville, Florida. Saban loves to control the time of possession by utilizing Bama’s massive o-line to go along with their rushing attack. Florida will have to keep the big plays down to a minimum regarding defending Alabama’s personnel on the outside. They cannot allow a repeat performance of last year’s conference championship game when they gave up 52 points in a losing effort to the Crimson Tide.
It doesn’t matter who lines up on the perimeter for Bama; they continue to produce at an elite level. It is an area where Florida will need to commit its resources on defense. As for Alabama, their game plan for success should be simple. Keep everything in front of them and dare either Jones or Richardson to beat them through the air. Despite what Gators Head Coach Dan Mullen has stated about Jones making better throws than Kyle Trask, he has yet to show that he can consistently demonstrate those traits on the field.
Utilizing two quarterbacks in a football game is not a recipe for long-term success or whenever there’s a huge matchup. On Saturday afternoon, do not expect that narrative to change. Florida will have their moments where they will put up points against the Crimson Tide, but it will not be enough to put them away. Bama wins by two touchdowns.
1 Alabama 49, 11 Florida 35
Support the Strike 7 Sports platform’s growth by heading over to Fanatics.com and purchase officially licensed fan gear from the NFL, NCAA, and the NBA. Each purchase made through the text link below goes into the funding of the Strike 7 Sports brand. To proceed, click on the text link below and begin shopping.
Photo courtesy Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images.