GatorCountry brings you a new prediction podcast as we breakdown the Florida Gators vs. Kentucky Wildcats game on Saturday.
Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre look at keys on both sides of the ball that will likely decide Saturday’s game in Lexington, Kentucky.
Andrew and Nick also give you three players to watch for the Gators, plus predict three games and Florida’s game.
Andrew: What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, back, Friday podcast before Kentucky. You’re already in Lexington. Should be a good game. Kentucky announced it was going to be a sellout. Should be a little bit of noise up there in good old Lexington, the bluegrass state.
Nick: Yeah. They’re talking. They are certainly talking. They’re confident. Why are they always confident every year? I don’t get it.
Andrew: I don’t either.
Nick: Two years ago, that was the year. You know what I mean? It just seems like, I don’t know. I don’t get the Kentucky hype to begin with. I think they beat a very mediocre South Carolina team, and they beat two cupcakes other than that. Do we know if Florida’s any good? I don’t know if we do. I don’t know if anyone in the damn SEC East is good.
Andrew: I think there’s a lot of question marks out there for everyone. I think that both teams are coming in with some momentum in the game. I mean, like it or not, Kentucky going to South Carolina and winning was a big win for them, because any SEC win is big for Kentucky. I think the thing that kind of is funny to me, and people are already talking about storming the field. Do what? What are you doing?
Nick: Yeah. To me that’s counting your chickens before they hatch. You might not even have any eggs to be counting to begin with. I don’t mind rushing the field.
Andrew: I think it’s awesome.
Nick: I think it’s fun. I think it looks cool. I don’t know if I would do it personally, because I don’t know how safe it is, but I think it looks cool. I think it’s fun, so I have no problem with that, but to start planning it against a team that you haven’t beaten in three decades? I don’t get it.
Andrew: Exactly. I don’t know. I think the thing that you have to remember with Kentucky is they haven’t won in a lot of their fans’ lives. So that. It’s kind of like we said last year with Tennessee, and that was what are you bragging about? You haven’t done anything. There’s a fan on Twitter, before we went on to tape this podcast, that said, he was in our mentions, about you haven’t watched Kentucky this year. I have watched Kentucky this year, and I gave them props. I think they got a good quarterback that can make things happen, and I think that their defensive front seven is pretty good. I don’t think their defensive back group is that good.
It’s also what we always say, and that is make me believe it. Show me that you can win. I know it’s another year, but at the same time, their players know they haven’t won in 30 games. If it comes down to 4th and 7 to win the game, and they have to make a completion, that 30 in a row is going to sneak into their head.
Nick: I think we talked about this, not on the air though. I think it almost gets to a point where that streak weighs more on Kentucky than it does weigh on Florida. Last year I thought the 11 game streak against Tennessee, that’s more of a Florida thing, because that’s still fresh. This is so old that none of these guys remember Kentucky beating them, but the guys that Kentucky’s recruiting in the state of Kentucky, this is a huge game for them. Kentucky is almost, because of the history of the recent—not even recent—history of the series, it is almost like an afterthought to Florida fans, and to these kids growing up that Florida’s recruiting. To Kentucky, this is a big deal. I think there’s more pressure to end the streak than there is to potentially lose the streak by losing a game, if you’re Florida.
Andrew: Because it’s one of those things where Kentucky goes from just another Kentucky season to, if Kentucky wins this game, they can say, Mark Stoops can say, “I’ve got the program back.” Does that mean the program’s back to win a National Championship? No, but that means that he’s got a program that can now compete in the SEC. If he does win this game against Florida, I guess you do have to kind of talk about Kentucky being a contender in the East, because we don’t know how good Georgia is either. You have to say that. Again, make me believe it.
Do I think this is going to be a closer game than a lot of Florida-Kentucky games are? Sure. Whether we say it or not, the last few years have been a closer game in this series.
Nick: Not last year.
Andrew: Not last year, but you had the, what was it? Triple overtime game with Demarcus Robinson?
Nick: Yeah. I think it was double.
Andrew: Double, triple, something like that.
Nick: That was the last time they were in Gainesville.
Andrew: Yeah. That would have been four years ago, right? Yeah. So you’ve had some closer games that would make, you think 30 in a row, you think it’s 30 straight blowouts, but it has been some closer games. Again, make us believe that you can contend. Kentucky’s had this hype the last few years that they’ve done that, and then they haven’t been able to beat Florida, to be Georgia. Lately, those are the two teams you have to beat to get to Atlanta.
Nick: Yeah. It’s certainly not Kentucky. My thing is I don’t, I get this is the best team Stoops has had and this and that, and look at this rushing total, and they’re only allowing 57 yards a game, and that’s so great. It’s like, okay. The big problem with Kentucky when they face Florida is they can’t matchup in the skill positions. You can get these big run stuffers, get a linebacker that’s going to be all over the field making plays, but when it comes down to it, you just don’t have the same type of athlete. Even if you can matchup athlete, on the front you’re not matching it up in depth, and that’s when we start talking about teams like Kentucky, or teams like Vanderbilt, and the terminology we’d use is they can’t run with them for four quarters.
Nick: They’ll wear down.
Andrew: Let’s just be real with it here, Nick. Florida has two freshmen DBs in Henderson and Marco that are better than all their DBs.
Nick: I wouldn’t say that is even farfetched to say. Then you look at the teams that they’re playing. An Eastern Kentucky team which is an FBS team, or an FCS team, excuse me. Then a Southern Miss team where, really? Then you beat Will Muschamp. Sure, it’s on the road. If you want to win the SEC, and you want to get to Atlanta, you’re going to have to win games on the road. We don’t know what that team is. Jake Bentley, I think is going to be a great quarterback. Muschamp loves ruining great quarterbacks, and they lost Debo Wilson, their best player. No argument about it. Lost their best player at the beginning of the game. That hurts.
Andrew: Right. Here’s the thing too.
Nick: Not from a physical standpoint either, right? It hurts from a mental standpoint. Now the rest of the team is like, “Crap. That’s our guy.”
Andrew: That’s what I was going to say too. Here’s the thing. Am I being a little bit of apologist for Florida? Yes. They played Michigan Week 1. Okay? Had they played Eastern, Western, South Dakota, whatever, like they usually do in Game 1, had Game 2, then you played Tennessee, you’re going into this game thinking, “Okay. Let’s see what Florida’s all about.” Florida did get exposed.
Nick: Some people got all butt hurt that I put, just reported stats the other day. Yeah. Get it. If they played Northern Colorado, the stats would be better. Cool, man. If they throw for 5,000 yards against Kentucky, guess what? I’m going to post stats again on Monday, and they’ll look better than they did last Monday.
Andrew: Exactly. That’s the thing. Here’s the thing, Nick, and I’ll say this. That is teams make big jumps from Week 1 to Week 2 and Week 2 to Week 3. Guess what? This is Week 3. We’re going to see. I’m still in the belief, and I was a little wrong last week, but I’m still in the belief that they’re going to carry that momentum from Franks into this week. We’ll see. Maybe Nussmeier gets me again. It won’t be the first time. Probably won’t be the last time. Maybe he gets me again.
I’m holding out hope that they ride the momentum that Franks showed last week into that game, to end the game. I did. I thought he did some good things. I know he had the interception late in the game. I think that was 50% his fault, 50% C’yontai’s fault. C’yontai should have caught the ball. The rule of school is hits your hands, you catch it.
I’ve seen some stuff. Our buddy, Barrett Soleis, was telling me. He said, “Think about it. There’s a lot of things that you can say what if. If Malik has the touchdown, or if Kadarius catches the touchdown, you’re talking about a different game in the Tennessee game, and you’re thinking this was a team that played well in the 2nd half.” He said, “You could even go back to the Michigan game. Had the Mark Thompson run counted, what happens in that game?” Again, not being an apologist for Florida. I’m saying you can always, for each team, throw what ifs out there. Good thing about it is what ifs don’t count.
Nick: That’s certainly the case. Florida, I think my trepidation with Florida is, and the guys had been asked about it all week, and that is what’s the letdown? Is there a letdown? We talk about it all the time. You win a big game, and it’s hard to bring that juice into the next week.
Nick: It’s not just that. We’re talking about these guys are dealing with got your asses whooped by Michigan. Then you lose a game. You’re worrying about family and all the devastation that Irma caused to the islands, to the West Coast and coastal towns. Then you have an emotional game against Tennessee. You’ve got nine of your teammates that are out, suspended for, some of them, half of fall camp. Scarlett and Wells got suspended right before the first game. You’re only a month in, and they’ve been through, like what else can they go through?
My trepidation then would be is that a real thing then? You know what I’m saying? Is that a real thing where you could come out and just be emotionally spent? If you get hit in the mouth, not have that energy to come back with everything and fight back. Playing a little devil’s advocate here, because we don’t want to do a podcast for 50 minutes today and make it sound like Florida’s going to walk out there and win the game 75-0. I don’t think that’s going to happen.
Andrew: No. Here’s the thing. I can counteract your argument here with saying maybe that’s what they needed Saturday was that one thing to go their way to jumpstart. I think there’s arguments to be made on both sides. After everything happening, getting your ass kicked by Michigan, losing a game to hurricane, and then starting out slow, you needed that one thing to really jumpstart your game. You had that game, and you’re like, “Okay. Wow. We can do this.” You go out there and do it.
Nick: Like I said, I’m playing devil’s advocate. I can see it going either way. I think you’d probably agree with that too. Especially when you have a young team, one of those things can either way.
Another thing I’m looking for in this game, I think another matchup thing, if we’re talking about that, is what happens if Kentucky’s able to make Florida one dimensional?
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, I think that’s a very real concern with it. Then how does the offensive line play? This game, like every other game in SEC football, and really every game on the gridiron, will probably be won or lost up front. How does Florida block up front? Are they able to get some running lanes for the running backs? Are they able to protect Feleipe?
Then vice versa, does Florida’s defensive line get a ton of pressure on Kentucky? If they do, and they’re able to isolate and not let the quarterback beat them for Kentucky, I like your chances if you’re Florida. Vice versa, if Kentucky’s able to get a ton of pressure on Feleipe, I like Kentucky’s chances.
Nick: Have they been really even getting pressure though, in that way? I’m pulling up the stats.
Andrew: No. They haven’t. I think it was five.
Nick: Ever professional here. Yeah. They’re after Florida. They’ve got five sacks in three games. Florida’s got six in two. Not really getting pressure there. Let me see hurries. They don’t have it on this site. I think Feleipe is, I don’t worry about Feleipe when he’s under pressure. I think he has a good sense of fight or flight, you know. Does he stick in there and make a throw, versus time to get out of here, let’s run. I think he has a good sense of that. Listen, no one’s going to mistake him for Johnny Menzel when he’s running, but it’s like we said, he covers a lot of ground quick.
Andrew: He’s sneaky quick.
Nick: With those long strides.
Andrew: Yeah. He’s sneaky quick. He’s one of those guys that is kind of like a Big Ben, I guess you could say. Nobody’s going to tell you Big Ben’s going to beat you with his legs, but if you rush him, can he go get the 1st down? Absolutely he can. That’s Feleipe. I mean, you look at the game against Tennessee, had he not escaped the pocket, you’re going to overtime there. That’s something there.
Something else, Nick. The SEC Film Room was on Wednesday night for Florida. They were replaying everything, replaying the final play. Mac said something that kind of stuck out to me. He said, “Before the play happened, on the sidelines Feleipe said, where do we need to get? What’s the line of scrimmage we need to get for Eddy? He said, we have one time out, right? He kind of went over the whole scenario of what was about to transpire.”
Nick: What was the biggest knock that you and I heard about Feleipe Franks last year?
Andrew: Didn’t understand the playbook. Didn’t understand. The mental part wasn’t there.
Nick: What does that tell you, in that moment.
Andrew: He’s calm.
Nick: You’re not losing. Yes. Calm. That he gets it. That he’s processing things. That things are slowing down for him. In that situation, if you’re not confident, calm, and you don’t trust that you know what to do, you’re walking over to your coach with ghost white face trying not to soil your pants. He’s walking over and saying, “Hey, where do we need to get? What hash does Eddy want to be on, left or right?” Those little things. That, to me, is the first sign of maturity.
Nick: I think that’s the biggest growth we’ve been waiting. We never questioned the physical talent. For us, it was always, and what we were told, always it’s between the ears. He’s got to be able to know his playbook. He’s got to earn it. He was never not confident. Throwing three picks in the spring game as an early enrollee. His confidence never waivers, but you have to have confidence that you know that playbook, and that gives you confidence to do everything else.
Andrew: It’s kind of like what we said before, and that is can he process things? Can he slow things down, and can he understand when to take chances and when not to take chances? What I was going to say, that to me showed that things had slowed down for him.
Then for the old Feleipe, the Feleipe coming out of high school, to go back through the play, it was the same play they ran against Tennessee with Calloway. The play call in the read, or not the read, excuse, the play call was to go on the dig route to Josh Hammond. The read said that wasn’t open. Old Feleipe forces that to Josh Hammond, because guess what? That’s what Mac told him to do. Feleipe understanding now the play, realized Josh isn’t open, so guess what? Somebody else is. Look down field, Tyrie’s open. Boom.
Nick: Not even that. It’s while saying Josh isn’t open, Jawaan Taylor just got his butt whooped. So I can’t stay here either.
Nick: I can’t sit here and wait for Josh to get open. I got to move. While in the presence of mind to move, and keep your eyes up.
Andrew: Exactly. That’s what it is. If you look, Josh was going to come open, but by the time he was going to come open, the game clock is over.
Nick: Yeah. You got no time left. Catches the ball at the 40, and then he can out to this heroic game winning 60-yard field goal, 55-yard field goal. There’s no time left. We’re going into overtime. Then Lord knows what happens when you get to overtime.
Nick: Nobody knows.
Andrew: Smart play by Feleipe. I know we’re going to back to the Tennessee game, but I brought that up to make my point that it’s a situation where Feleipe’s learning, and I’m hoping for more than anything that Nuss will take the handcuffs off of him and let him go out there. Once again, we said this before, and I’ll say it again. Kentucky is a team that you can go out there, if you throw two picks, Florida as a team should be able to rebound from that. They should be able to rebound from that, so let him go back and just kind of see where things are, and see if he can go in and make this play, and run this offense officially.
Nick: Take the kiddy gloves off. Right?
Andrew: Right. Take it off. Take it off. Go out there and do it. Again, can’t say it enough. Offensive line. You got to protect on both sides. Florida’s offensive line, Kentucky’s defensive line. Got to protect.
Nick: Where do you see this game being won or lost?
Andrew: I mean, part of me wants to take the easy way out and say with Feleipe, with the offense, but I think Florida can score enough points there. I’m going to say it’s going to be won or lost by how well Florida’s able to control Kentucky and quarterback play for Kentucky. You can’t let him get outside the box and just be running around, because that will be an issue.
Then, on offense, Florida’s got to find a way to run the ball a little bit. You can’t not run the ball in this game and put your defense on the field so much. I mean, one thing you’re going to say with this Kentucky team is with Johnson at quarterback he’s going to make some plays. Don’t let your defense be out there 75, 80 plays a game and have to defend him, because Reese and those guys are going to get tired. You still don’t have linebacker depth. Keep your offense on the field as much as you can.
I think that was something Mac said that kind of caught my attention this week. He said, “Some of this this week is going to be with how we keep them off the field.” Part of me thought, “Okay. You can do that by running the ball.”
Nick: I agree with all those points. I think, for me, it’s nothing on offense. I do think you can get in trouble if you become too one dimensional. For me, it’s going to be, like you said, the linebackers and the defensive ends, specifically the ends, gap sound. It’s so easy to get away from it. Jachai Polite playing weak side end, fires off the ball, and the tackles not there. Where’s the tackle? I can go make a play. Boom. He cuts in, dips his right shoulder, turns in to go make a play. All of a sudden, boom. Now you don’t have contain. Now what would have been, if he just sits there in his spot.
I think that’s where, especially younger players, get into trouble is the play is just for me to keep contain, set the edge. Something in the play happens, and it goes from I know I’m only supposed to keep contain here, but I think I can go make a play.
Nick: Then you miss that tackle, and then instead of doing your job and forcing the guy back inside, back into a crowded inside for no gain or one gain or a short gain, boom. Now he’s around you, and hell of an effort from Jachai to catch up to John Kelly, but that’s not going to happen every week. You’re not going to be able to catch up to a running back every week.
To me, it’s you have so many young players on defense, everywhere, and it’s not just the line and the linebackers. It’s CJ Henderson. It’s Marco Wilson.
Andrew: Chauncey Gardner making a damn tackle.
Nick: Let’s see if he’s even interested in making a tackle this week. Chauncey Gardner. Then if you’re looking at if Duke Dawson can’t go, for whatever reason, I suspect that he can. I’ve been told that he will go, but if he can’t go, now you’re looking at CJ McWilliams too. You’re looking at a potential of your entire front line of the secondary is freshmen.
Andrew: Yeah. Here’s the thing too. I think tackling is going to be a big thing, especially with the guy like Johnson at quarterback, Stephen Johnson at quarterback. Can Florida tackle? That’s going to be a key. Then, like you said, Jachai had a big game. Can he calm it down a little bit? I say that in that he had a big game. He’s been talked up in the press conferences and all that about his hustle.
Granted, Jachai played great, but don’t let that go into Week 3, this week, into the next week, and say, “I’m just going to haul ass up the field.” You can’t do that. You have to still play your assignment football. Okay. If your assignment is go attack the running back, then, yeah, haul ass up the field. If your job is to keep contain and keep Johnson in the pocket, then you can’t haul ass up the field.
Nick: Yeah. Not to single him out, but I do see probably the end I’m most concerned about keeping contain would be Jachai.
Andrew: I’m not picking on him at all, like you said, either. Jabari did struggle a little bit with that, a little bit. Once again …
Nick: Even veteran players struggle with it sometimes. It’s so tough. Your competitive nature and your human nature takes over. I know I’m supposed to sit here, but I’m confident that I can go. No one’s blocking me. No one’s here. In the moment, you don’t think that’s by design. They want you to fire off the line, see nobody there, and then try to do more than you’re supposed to, and then, boom, you hit him with a counter or an RPO. You hit him with something that now you’re not in position for.
Andrew: That’s a good point. It’s by design for them to not do that. You have a situation where you have to say, “Okay, why am I being left open? Is this just a missed block by them, or is it a situation where they’re setting me up?” You have to remember that. Just let your instincts take over. That’s the thing. Mac always says he wants his guys to play fast and not hesitate. That’s the thing as a defensive end. Just play your game. If you get a great jump off the line, fine. Do that, but keep contain as you go for the quarterback. You can keep contain and go for the quarterback. We’re not saying that at all, but it’s keep contain.
That’s a big thing, and then tackle. Chauncey, put your tackling helmet on, dude. Just go tackle.
Nick: Something else I want to see, and I think we saw it a little bit last, really only once. I want to see some return the ball. I think Brandon Powell too many times, Tyrie’s maybe only a yard or two into the end zone. Let him come out. He wants to come out. The opening kickoff last week, when Brandon Powell almost had to like tackle him. He’s only two yards, three yards deep. Why not take that out? Tyrie showed after Kelly got hit with the unsportsmanlike conduct, and then you back him up. Tyrie showed that he can make something happen. He can make people miss. He’s got good speed. I’d like to see more out of the punt return and the kick return game.
Andrew: Yeah. Here’s the thing. Granted, I’m going to get killed for saying this, Nick, but I still don’t like Tyrie back as kick return.
Nick: He did show something, but there’s another guy.
Andrew: Okay. It takes a killer instinct to be a return guy. You have to go in there knowing what it is, but you just have to get it and go. It’s a situation where Brandon Powell almost shouldn’t tell you. You should know. You see the ball? Okay. You have a spot in your mind that says, if I’m in this spot in the end zone, I’m not taking it out. If I’m in this spot in the end zone, I’m taking it out. Don’t be hesitant with it. Catch it and go.
I’m still in the proponent I want to see Toney back there. I think my buddy Nordo does too, but we’ll see.
Nick: It almost feels like they’re kind of waiting for it, but you’re not going to surprise anybody. With what people are seeing from Toney right now, as far as when he’s getting the ball, you’re not going to surprise anyone if you stick him back there for kickoff.
Andrew: Who cares if it’s surprising someone? That’s my thing. Toney’s a weapon. I say this, and I say this kind of jokingly, but at the same time, doesn’t every team go into the game respecting the other kick returner? You know what I’m saying? I don’t understand the whole we need a surprise.
Nick: I don’t know if any of Florida’s kick returners, or punt returners, have really demanded respect since Brandon James.
Andrew: Yeah. You know what I mean though? You don’t go into the game, I don’t know. I don’t understand the whole surprise thing. Kadarius is a weapon. I say this, the offense is struggling.
Nick: I guess say surprise, because I can’t wrap my mind around why he wouldn’t have done it already, unless he’s terrible at it, which I don’t think he is.
Andrew: Here’s the thing. It takes a dumbass to be terrible at kick return. You read the blocks. You go do it. You know what I mean?
Nick: It also takes a certain level of crazy, because you’ve got 11 guys running full speed at you, and you’ve got to run full speed at them. They’re going to be some nasty collisions there.
Andrew: I can tell you this. Kadarius Toney ain’t scared of that. You can bet everything he ain’t scared of that.
Nick, got that out of the way. Kind of got that. Let’s go into our predictions. Let’s talk some predictions this week. Still another bad week of football as far as big time games. Some good SEC games, but besides that just kind of whatever.
Andrew: Let’s start with the worst of them all, and that is Texas A&M and Arkansas, down in Jerry’s World. Arkansas’s wearing those special unis for Jerry Jones. Both teams are struggling mightily.
Nick: Yeah. Arkansas, I think, not historically, but Arkansas under Brett Bielema struggle early. They have those late pushes, and they’ve beaten LSU a couple times towards the end of the year. A&M just got so much going on. They’re such a dumpster fire. I’m going with Arkansas here.
Andrew: I’m reading something here, Nick, where the former Texas A&M athletic director said he had no idea and nothing to do with Kevin Sumlin’s contract. Doesn’t sound like a lot of support over there for Mr. Sumlin, and he’s on a hot seat. Who’d you go with?
Andrew: I’m going to go with A&M, just because of the pressure fire for them. I just don’t think Arkansas is that good. I don’t think A&M’s that good either, but I’m going to go A&M, reluctantly.
Andrew: I’m not even sure.
Nick: The next one is probably easy. Bama and Vanderbilt.
Andrew: Yeah. I’m interested to see this game, Nick, because Vandy’s defense is pretty good. I think their offense kills them in this game. Again, I think Alabama wins double digits here, but I’m interested to see how close this game is here.
Nick: Tell me what you think about this. I have some friends that went there, and one of my buddies and I were talking about. He said, “We don’t have an elite runner.” He said, “Bo runs too high up. He’s not breaking tackles. We don’t have the elite pass rush that we’ve had in previous years.” He said, “I think this might be the worst team Alabama’s had since maybe their 2008.”
Andrew: This isn’t as good an Alabama team.
Nick: What do you think?
Andrew: Their defensive front of pass rushing is not as good as it was. I mean, they’ve still got so many weapons on offense, and the back end of their defense is still good. I mean, then we talk about they ain’t got that elite pass rusher, but good luck running against them. I mean, they’re going to be one dimensional, and sooner or later one dimensional teams are going to get sacked. A bad Alabama team is still better than a good Vandy team. I’ll say it’s closer than in past years. Still double digits. This is a game that I’m going to watch.
Nick: I think this is a game where Alabama wins by 10 or 13 points. I think Alabama takes it into the 4th quarter, and people are starting to look at that game, people across the nation are starting to tune into that game and thinking, “What’s going on over here?”
Andrew: Is Vandy that good, or is Alabama struggling?
Nick: That Vandy environment can almost lull you to sleep. I don’t know if you’ve been there for a game. It’s so small, and the way it’s set up is open. It’s like sound doesn’t get trapped. It can kind of lull you to sleep, especially for an Alabama team that’s used to playing in front of 120,000 at Bryant Denny, playing the Mercedes Benz Superdome. All of a sudden you show up to a stadium that looks like something you might have played in in high school. You can kind of start getting put to sleepwalk.
Andrew: Yeah. We’ll see. Again, I think it’s closer than a lot of people expect, but still think they win double digits in the game. We’ll see. I’ll be watching it.
The other game is Bulldogs versus Bulldogs. Mississippi State goes to Georgia. Who you got?
Nick: I am going to go with Mississippi State.
Andrew: I’m going to go with the Bulldogs.
Nick: Yeah. You’re going to have to specify which Bulldog you’re going with there, buddy.
Andrew: I’m going to go with the Bulldogs that win. That’s my team. Whichever Bulldog wins, that was my pick. Can I stick with that?
Nick: You will not be getting that. Nope.
Andrew: I don’t have as much faith in Mississippi State as you do, buddy. Georgia. Georgia wins. I think it’s a close game. Here’s the thing, Mullins starting to pick up that interest again. People are starting to talk about him being a big time candidate again. Guarantee one thing. His ass won’t be stupid and stay at Mississippi State this time.
Nick: You got to get out of Starkville. Do you think, let me put this out for you, when we go to Starkville next year, is Dan Mullin the head coach of Mississippi State?
Andrew: No. No.
Andrew: No. I don’t think so. I will say Fitzpatrick, I think it’s Nick Fitzpatrick, their quarterback, I do think he’s a better player than he is. Maybe LSU isn’t too terrible, and Mississippi State’s just that good.
Nick: LSU’s kind of a dumpster fire. I mean, Fitzgerald, he’s accurate. He’s completing 61% of his passes, seven touchdowns, just one interception. Obviously, you start to factor in the rushing game with him too. He’s got five rushing touchdowns, 240 yards, averaging more than 7 yards a carry. Their running game, I think, is where it was like when they had Dak, and they had some of those guys. What do you think of a Dan Mullin offense? I think that’s what their running right now. They’re running at that level.
Andrew: That’s what I was going to say. It’s a Dan Mullin offense where the quarterback is going to do those things to be successful. I’ll go Georgia. Going to go Georgia. Closer game than expected.
Nick: I think I almost talked you out of it there.
Andrew: Here’s the thing. I went into this day not having a pick. I didn’t have a pick, because I just didn’t know. I don’t think Georgia’s that good. I think Notre Dame’s a mediocre football team. I just don’t believe in Kirby Smart as a coach. Then again, I don’t believe in Dan Mullin as a coach either. I’m going to give the edge to Kirby, because it’s at home. Closer than expected.
Nick, I think we both are not going to pick against the 30 in a row.
Nick: No. I’m picking Florida. There’s no doubt in my mind.
Andrew: Same thing. Florida wins. Give me, I mean, you don’t like to do scores, but give me something.
Nick: I think it’s a game that, like last year, could get away from Kentucky, even though it’s at home. It’s like I said, I think we’ve laid out the couple concerns that we have for Florida. If you’re Florida, keeping contain, stuff like that. I don’t really see anything else really. I think when it comes down to it, the reason Florida’s won the last 30 years is they have better athletes, and they have better players. That’s not different this year.
Nick: It wasn’t different last year. We had Matt Jones. He’s a fan, and is very successful as a radio show, but he’s a fan. Even national people, who aren’t Kentucky fans, are saying that. Kentucky’s such a trendy pick. I’m not buying. I don’t care you beat Eastern Kentucky. I don’t care you beat Southern Miss. I don’t care that you beat Will Muschamp. What has Will Muschamp done? Nothing.
Andrew: That’s a good point.
Nick: Beat Florida, and I’ll come around to my Kentucky hype. Everyone’s drinking this Kentucky Kool-Aid, but not me.
Andrew: It’s kind of like Vandy. It’s like do I think Vandy is a better team? Yeah, but I don’t know.
Nick: Stay tuned. I might pick Vandy next week. Who knows?
Andrew: Maybe. I don’t know. Whatever. Do what you got to do. Florida, 31-17.
Nick: Write that in.
Andrew: It could be worse. I don’t even know if they score 17. That’s my pick. Nick, it’s my turn to go first. Right?
Nick: It is. We didn’t even do this. Normally we pick our players before the show. We didn’t do that.
Andrew: I did this on purpose.
Nick: You’re going to get some live reaction. Probably so you can cheat, and go back and forth.
Andrew: Probably so. First pick, I’m going to run with it once again. Quarterback, Feleipe Franks. Handcuffs come off. The man does something this game. Does well.
Nick: I’m going to go with Kadarius Toney getting his first touchdown of his career. Of the season, and also of his career.
Andrew: Okay. I can do that. Hey, rep them 251 boys. Man, I want to go with a running back, because I think this is the week the running game gets going.
Nick: Go ahead and pick away.
Andrew: I might as well. I’ll go with Perine again. I was going to say Malik, but it seems like his touches are limited. Not picking Mark. I’ll go LP. I think this is a week that the running game gets going.
Nick: All right. I’m going. CJ Henderson has gotten two picks, a bunch of notoriety for turning up the touchdowns. I think Kentucky tries to go to the opposite side of the field, and that’s where Marco Wilson will be waiting. I’m going to pick Marco Wilson.
Andrew: I thought you meant you were going CJ.
Nick: No. I’m thinking they’re saying, “This freshman’s got two touchdowns on this year. This freshman has scored almost as many touchdowns as their offense.”
Andrew: I was going to say.
Nick: Let’s try the other kid.
Andrew: If you didn’t go Marco, I was going to go Marco. I’m going to go here, Nick. I know we kind of said we wasn’t going to go this way, but I feel like David Reese has a good game. I’ll say he has to do something, but if he can keep contain on Johnson at quarterback.
Nick: He’s got to get double digit in tackles.
Nick: It’s got to be 11, 12.
Andrew: That’s fine.
Nick: Against this team, this Kentucky team, where they’re just going to run the ball with both of you on the backs of the quarterback, you’re looking at a 13 tackle game.
Andrew: That’s fine. I’ll tell you what. I won’t do that. I’ll go Jabari. I’ll go Jabari. Jabari has a good game. I think he’ll get at least a sack in the game. I’ll go Jabari, but I am on record as saying I think Reese is a key to this game, and I think Reese will have a big game. I’ll go with my third pick as Jabari.
Nick: Where do I go with my last pick, Spivey? I don’t think our buddy Cece has a sack yet.
Andrew: Okay. That might be a good one then.
Nick: He has one. I’m going to go with Cece Jefferson. I think Cece will get on the board, get his second sack. Is calling one sack good enough to get a win?
Andrew: Sure. I’ll give you that.
Nick: I think one sack and multiple tackles for loss, as long as he’s not getting bear hugged all game.
Andrew: And not losing containment.
Andrew: He was bear hugged the entire game.
Nick: Cece’s probably the last defensive end that I’d be worried about losing contain.
Andrew: Absolutely. He was bear hugged all game last week. That’s why I lost. Nick, we’ll have tons of coverage. Guys, if you haven’t joined yet, come check us out. We’ll get you a special deal. Got some good things going on. Recruiting’s been good. Had a ton of recruiting stuff. Nick, tell everyone where they can find us. We’ll get out. We’ll see everyone on Monday.
Nick: www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. News going up throughout the day. We’re up here in Lexington already. One of the few people that will be up here for the game, so make sure you’re following us on Saturday. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter, @GatorCountry, and on Instagram @TheGatorCountry. Me, @NickdelaTorreGC, and him, @AndrewSpiveyGC.
Andrew: I know the audio was a little shaky today. Nick’s in Lexington in a hotel room, so a little shakier than normal. Be back to normal on Monday. There you go. As always, guys, we appreciate it. As always, guys, chomp, chomp. Go Braves. Butch, get another loss.