Gator Country’s Friday prediction podcast is loaded with information as the Florida Gators prepare for battle with the school out west on Saturday night in Gainesville, Florida.
Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre give you their keys to the game on both sides of the ball, plus tell what they think the Gators need to do in order to win this rivalry football game.
Andrew and Nick like always give you their three players that they think will have big games, plus they give you their prediction on how the game will turn out on Saturday.
Andrew: What’s up, Gator Country? It’s rivalry week. It’s coming to an end. You guys are listening to this on Friday, that means 24 hours until the Gators and the school out west gets underway. Nicholas, are you ready to see the Noles fall, or what?
Nick: Absolutely. I grew up to parents who went to Florida, grew up in south Florida, which is a ton of Florida State fans. For me, growing up, more so than any other rivalry this was kind of the game I always looked forward to growing up, more so than Georgia or Tennessee or anyone like that. Florida/Florida State is just different. There’s a different feeling about it. Maybe it’s because it’s in state rivalry, but there’s just a nastiness to this rivalry that other rivalries don’t have.
Andrew: Yeah. Only thing that I like about Florida State is one thing, Nicholas, and one thing only. You want to guess what it is?
Nick: The tomahawk chop, which your Braves stole.
Andrew: Oh, oh, oh-oh, that’s right. Go Braves, as always. Yes, that is the only thing that I like about the Noles. Danny Kanell is probably the worst thing about the Noles.
Nick: This is the thing, if you’re listening to this podcast stop complaining about Danny Kanell. Stop complaining about First Take and Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith, because that’s what they’re employed for. They get people talking. If you hate them, tune them out.
Andrew: Here’s the thing.
Nick: I don’t follow Danny Kanell.
Andrew: I think he really believes what he says.
Nick: I don’t follow him on Twitter. I don’t listen to any time he’s on a radio show. I don’t listen to anything on TV. I don’t give him views. If Danny Kanell stops getting views, stops getting talked about on the Twitter, then he’s irrelevant, and he doesn’t have the job. He’s not in the place that he is. When you bring him up, and you tweeted him, and you watch the shows that he’s on, you listen to the radio shows that he’s on, you’re giving him numbers, and that keeps him employed.
Andrew: I think he really believes half the stuff he says.
Nick: I don’t know. It’s kind of like a shtick, you know what I mean? You get stuck in something, and it’s like this is kind of working for me.
Andrew: Kind of like me and Tennessee and Georgia.
Nick: Maybe, but you actually don’t like them. He doesn’t like Florida. That’s for sure.
Andrew: He hates Florida. I think we should lock him and James Bates in a room and see who would win. I think my money’s on Batesy.
Nick: You always take a linebacker over a quarterback.
Andrew: Always. Always. What about we can lock him and Jacquez Green in a room together, and see who comes out. My money’s on Quezy.
Nick: I’d probably take Quezy too.
Andrew: Quezy is a little, he was a speedster. He’s probably got quick jabs. I’m going with Quezy. Nicholas, it is here finally. We get to talk about this. Finally we get to talk about old Jimbo and his bull crap in Tallahassee. Nick, about the only thing good on that offense is Dalvin Cook.
Nick: All year long this has been Dalvin Cook’s offense. They go as he goes. That’s where it is. That’s where they are. Kind of like I think you and I talked about. It’s like, Treon is the best option Florida has at quarterback. That’s what it is. That’s what’s Florida State’s offense is. Whatever Dalvin does, that’s how they do.
Andrew: I agree. This is something interesting that I was going through. I was kind of looking at their two losses that they have at Florida State compared to their wins. When they win the game they find a way, in their wins they’re finding a way to complete passes, get the passing arch, but in their losses they only have 50 some total yards more passing than rushing. It’s not good. That’s not good at all. Even if you’re Florida that’s not good. Unless you’re Georgia Southern or Georgia State or Georgia Tech that’s not good football. The thing is Maguire, Golson, whoever it is, is just not a good quarterback. I don’t think they can beat a guy like Vernon Hargreaves, Jalen Tabor.
Nick: To me it’s like Golson wasn’t good at Notre Dame. What did you think? He has a new jersey, so he’ll be better?
Andrew: Everybody thought Jumbo was going to be the quarterback whisperer, but come on.
Nick: Get out of here.
Andrew: Come on. That’s only one person, and it’s Jim McElwain. I’m with you. That’s the thing. Why did people think he was going to be better? Let’s also get this up, and that is that Florida State has been depleted with their offensive line, much like Florida. I’m going to go ahead and say it. I think this is a game that could rival four or five turnovers in a game between the two teams. I don’t think Treon plays turnover free, and I don’t think Florida State plays turnover free. I think this is a game that turns into a turnover battle, special teams battle.
Nick: Hold on, we need to preface that, because you that, and I think Gator fans might start throwing up. It’s a special teams battle, but I think it is going to be a close game. When you look at FSU’s defense, SMag doesn’t scare you. Sean Maguire doesn’t scare you. Golson doesn’t scare you.
Andrew: Did you call him SMag?
Nick: That’s what they call him on Twitter. It’s a shortened Sean Maguire, SMag.
Andrew: That sounds like something nasty.
Nick: Bro, I’m just trying to keep you up. You know me.
Andrew: You’re trying to keep it lit up in this thing.
Nick: Just trying to keep you wavy, trying to keep you fresh, up to date. FSU Twitter calls him SMag. I’m going to call him SMag.
Andrew: Whatever you got. Here’s a stat that I’m going to throw at you. FSU has allowed a 50 yard punt and two 40 yard punt returns already this year. Antonio Callaway, I’m looking at you.
Nick: Hello. Yeah. The quarterbacks don’t scare you. Ermon Lane’s doing more blocking than catching.
Andrew: Ermon Lane can’t go nowhere without Dalvin telling him where to go.
Nick: I really don’t think Florida State’s passing attack scares you. You can kind of cheat against the run. Dalvin Cook has kind of made a living this year off of guys trying to arm tackle him. So Florida really needs to be sound in their tackling. They need to make sure they’re wrapping up. Kind of what they’ve been doing all year really well. You rarely ever see one guy having to make a tackle, and it’s like, if he doesn’t make the tackle he’s gone. Florida does a really good job of gang tackling and getting bodies around the ball, getting helmets to the ball. It might be he breaks a run outside, Quincy gets him, wraps up a leg, and then you’ve got three guys around there to hold him.
It’s just Dalvin does a good job of moving, and he can break those arm tackles, so Florida needs to, when they bring people up, they need to make sure they’re wrapping up, playing sound football, because Dalvin Cook will make you pay if you try to just throw an arm out there to stop him. I do think Florida can sell out against the run and say, “If you’re going to beat us it’s going to be because your quarterback did it.” I don’t think Florida State can win it that way. They have to win a game through Dalvin.
Andrew: It’s a thing that I think is what is good for Florida is they faced a guy like Michel, faced Fournette. They have faced Jalen Herd. Don’t get me wrong. I think Dalvin Cook is up there with Fournette and Henry as the best back in the country, but what I’m saying is they faced guys like him, so they understand the philosophy that goes into it. Really what LSU did was LSU was able to hit a few passing plays to beat Florida in the 2nd quarter, and then when that went away their offense went away. I think that’s what Florida has to do here is sell out.
I will say this. What does the defensive line do with some injuries and some guys questionable in the game? How does that stack up? Khairi Clark’s got to play big. Caleb Brantley’s got to play big. Joey Ivie coming back is big, if he’s able to really go.
Nick: To me, obviously if you’re missing a guy like Bullard and McAlister, those are really good players. These are great players, and you never want to have them out, but to me I think the biggest impact might just be a smaller rotation. If you’re asking Khairi Clark to play 30 plays a game, Khairi, you can give me a good effort 30 plays. If I’m asking you to play 50 plays now, 55 plays, these guys aren’t used to it. Florida is so deep on the defensive line, and that is something you can tell me. I don’t know if you agree with me, but I really questioned how good they would be on the defensive line going into the year, because I thought there’s a lot of talent, but we just haven’t seen them do it yet. Florida’s been able to rotate like 11 guys on the defensive line. That’s incredible.
Andrew: Especially a guy like Khairi Clark, who’s a guy that hasn’t played a ton. It’s good to rotate him in, and then even like Cece. I will say this. This is something Mac brought up on Monday. Khairi played a lot more in the FAU game. Cece played a lot more. Their bodies are ready for this. It’s a night game. It won’t be hot outside. If you can’t get your juices ready for FSU, then something’s wrong with you. That can work two ways.
Nick: I hate to say that it’s an excuse, because you and I aren’t trying to make excuses for the team. After winning the SEC East it’s kind of easy, and people might say you can’t ever take a game off. You can’t take a play off. Once you accomplish your goal it’s kind of hard to get up, especially for the FAU or for a South Carolina. It’s like, even if we lose this game we’re still going to Atlanta. There’s none of that this week. This is a game based on pure hatred. There’s no fear of the team not getting up for Florida State.
Andrew: If it is you need to check your pulse.
Nick: Jake McGee said it best. “If you can’t get up for these next two weeks,” speaking of Florida State and the SEC Championship, “You don’t need to be playing football at this level.”
Andrew: No. Absolutely not. That’s exactly what it is. Then, for me offensively is this. Figure out a way just to get the offense to have some kind of rhythm. Play turnover free football, and things will go. You look at last week against FAU. If they don’t turn the ball over like they do it’s not as close of a game. That’s just kind of where it is. We laugh about it and say, turnovers are going to happen, but no. When they play turnover ball they’re winning football games. That’s exactly what’s going to have to happen. Florida State’s defense is okay. It’s good. It’s not great. Allowing 333 yards a game, almost 5 yards a play. Allowing a pretty good amount of rushing yards, over 1,500 in the season. Florida should be able to do stuff.
Nick: You know what I think the difference is between the defenses? I think because FSU does have very talented players, Demarcus Walker, Jalen Ramsey. There are very talented players on that defense. I don’t think they play as well as a unit. Kind of like Antonio Morrison has been telling us, and some of the older guys have been telling us. There were a lot of individuals on that 2012 defense, which is a great defense. There were a lot of individuals. Florida’s really playing for each other, and it kind of sounds cliché, but they’re really playing for each other. I think Vernon Hargreaves is just as excited as Jalen Tabor when Jalen Tabor gets an interception. There’s really not any individuals. Ego hasn’t crept up in anybody on Florida’s defense. To me, that’s really the difference between why Florida’s defense is great and FSU’s is good.
Andrew: Yeah. Every starter did come back, right? Pretty much. I know Dante started, but McAlister played. This is an experienced defense that is there. My thing that’s going to be interesting is just to see what Florida’s offense comes out looking like. I don’t know why, but I just have a feeling Mac has something up his sleeve. I go back to a quote from Greg McElroy. He goes, “Mac will have something up his sleeve for rivalry games.” I think if you ask Mac, “Are you comfortable bringing the offensive game plan you brought for Carolina and FAU to Florida State?” He would laugh at us. Where does it go differently? We’ll see. I still say, get to the perimeter. Throw those stand passes. Throw those screens. Throw that stuff to the perimeter. Find a way to get Kelvin to the perimeter, and that’s where you beat FSU. I continue to say that, and it happened last year as well. Get it to the perimeter, and let’s see what happens.
Nick: Yeah. Can Florida do that? We’ve talked about Jake McGee being able to set the edge.
Andrew: But he hasn’t set the edge well lately. That’s the difference in this team. I said this to you last week. I said, “McGee almost looks a step slower.” I don’t know what it is, if it’s he’s trying to help Sharpe more, but that is the difference in this team today than it is LSU or Ole Miss. Before the toss plays, the stretch plays, McGee and Sharpe were able to get the edge, and any movement that was coming up the middle Kelvin was able to beat. Now he’s having outside coverage happen to bounce it back in, and there is no way to bounce it back in.
Nick: That’s true. That’ll be something to look for this week, because I do agree with you. If you can get it out and get Kelvin, get these guys out in space, Florida can probably take advantage of Florida State. What about some, we’ve been getting a lot of questions, and I really don’t have a good answer to it. Where are the kind of stand passes and some of these screen passes that are quick tosses, quick throws, something easy for Treon to do, possibly get some confidence going? If anything, you can go back to the ECU game where the offense was struggling, and the touchdown drive that puts them ahead was just screen pass, stand pass, screen pass, stand pass. Just to D Rob all the way down the field. Where has that been? Is it maybe a thing where if Florida shows it too much, because of Treon’s size, you start getting defensive ends standing up and being able to bat that pass down? I just can’t really come up with an idea of why we haven’t seen more of that.
Andrew: I think you and I talked about this a little bit on Monday. I don’t know if it was on here, or if it was just you and I talking.
Nick: We talk a lot.
Andrew: I think that it might be a little bit of both. I think it might be that. Someone asked me about the crossing patterns and the slant routes. It’s tough with Treon.
Nick: The crossing patterns and the slants are different though, because that’s something over the middle, over a bunch of gigantic mountain men.
Andrew: Right. What I’m saying is I think a lot of the stand passes and that kind of stuff is that’s plays that are there. That’s plays that are there all the time, and I really think these last two games Mac has tried to get more stuff involved with Treon, and get him to evolve as a quarterback. You see it in the Vandy game. You go back and watch it. They did do a lot of stand passes. It’s really been these last two games they didn’t, and I think going into the game Mac thought, we shouldn’t need those plays. They shouldn’t need those, but I’ll say in the FAU game I thought they should have, because the running game was so bad that those stand passes, that kind of stuff, is an extension of the run game. I thought that that’s why maybe they should have. If they don’t do it this week or next week, then I’m going to start to wonder what’s up.
The thing for me, and someone said this today on Twitter. They said, “Maybe Mac should hold some stuff back for Bama.” No. This is two games. You’re in the conference quarter finals right now. Next week is the semis, and then it’s the NCAA semi-finals, the Final Four, and then it’s that. You’ve got to go like this is an Elite 8 football game. Let’s go, or a Sweet 16 football game. You’ve got to bring your table to find a way to win to get to Alabama. It almost needs to be this is a win at all costs game.
Nick: Mac said it. He said, “We’re on a championship run.” He’s not talking about the SEC championship. I can tell you that confidently. When he says we’re on a championship run he’s talking about playing four more games, not just getting to Atlanta and being happy with a bowl game. I don’t think you’re holding anything back against Florida State. If Jim McElwain and Doug Nussmeyer feel that Treon running strictly read option this week is the best way to beat FSU, then I think you’ll see it.
Andrew: Exactly right. You look at this game. I understand you’ve got to get your guys ready for Atlanta, and you’ve got to be healthy going for the SEC Championship game. You want to win that, but this is a game you must win in order for that next game to be important. I mean, of course, if Florida loses this game going and winning the SEC Championship and keeping Alabama from the national championship would be great. No doubt about that at all, but I’m saying you need to win this game. I don’t know.
Here’s the injury report for this week. Let me say this, and you tell me if you think, you look at the guys that are doubtful, Jonathan Bullard, McAlister, Taven Bryan. I think those guys are legitimately hurt, because if they were guys like where it was a couple weeks ago where it was let’s hold them out unless we need these three guys would play if they could.
Nick: Absolutely. These guys would play. When you look at that list on doubtful, Jon Bullard is a senior. There’s guys on here that are key players. Probable, you really like to see Caleb Brantley, who missed last week. Antonio Morrison you like to see that. David Sharpe, obviously. I don’t you or I thought Brandon Powell’s injury on Monday was very serious. Getting Joey Ivie back would be huge, still listed as questionable. He’s been out a month already. He would be huge to get back.
Andrew: He’s a dog. I say a dog, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. He’s a guy that’s going to do that dirty work in the trenches.
Andrew: He’s a guy that it doesn’t matter if you split his nose wide open. He’s okay with that.
Nick: He might play harder after that. He might enjoy that.
Andrew: Yeah. Go back to your list. Sorry for interrupting.
Nick: To me it’s kind of the doubtful is tough. Three defensive linemen, one of them is your best pass rusher. Jonathan Bullard is your best pretty much everything, other than pass rusher. He does everything for you, defensive end, defensive tackle, nose tackle. Wherever you need him to play, he’s got you. Then Taven Bryan from a depth standpoint. He’s been playing a ton this year. If the three that are doubtful are out, if you can get the other guys, the other nine guys on the list, playing and available, I think you’re good. Thomas Holley’s questionable. I don’t think he’ll play. Let’s say the other eight guys, Martez Ivey, Jordan Sherit, Joey Ivie, Cam Dillard, Brandon Powell, Sharpe, Morrison, Brantley. If you can get all of them in, I think Florida will be okay. They would take that, given where we were on Monday with this injury report.
Andrew: That’s exactly what I was going to say. You start to look at the guys, and having Bullard out hurts. Having McAlister out hurts. I will say this. That’s not right, what I was going to say. Those guys are your pass rushers, for sure. It is better that a guy like Brantley’s back, a guy like Ivie is back, up the middle to stop Dalvin Cook on Saturday.
Nick: Yeah. That’s important. When you’re looking at Dalvin, Bud mentioned it. In high school he had a lot of those pop warner tendencies, wanted to bounce everything out. Since getting to Florida State he’s done a really good job of running between the tackles, running behind his pads. To me, getting those guys that make you think twice about running between the tackles, that’s important.
Andrew: That’s exactly right. Let’s make those guys bounce it, and if they bounce it then you’re hoping a guy like Morrison, or your corners of Brian Poole, those guys are there. That’s kind of where I think that this team has to go with it and see. We’ll see. As Mac says, “You got to have 11 guys trot on the field.” I think they’ll have that on Saturday.
Nick: I don’t think they’ll go out there with 10.
Andrew: You don’t think so?
Nick: That would be a bold strategy.
Andrew: Can they play with 12?
Nick: Maybe. Maybe we can petition the NCAA.
Andrew: Maybe. We’ll see. It’s there. The good thing is guys like Justus Reed, playing pretty good ball. Jordan Sherit, when he’s healthy, is playing good enough ball. Bryan Cox is playing good ball, and Cece’s playing good ball. I think you’re okay there as far as defensive end goes. We’ll see definitely on that going forward on Saturday. Again, I’m going to go that it’s going to be a high turnover game, and I think that it’s going to be a game that’s won on special teams. I say special teams, and I’m going to throw something out that should make Gator fans feel really good. That is that Florida State has had one punt, one punt, Nick, that has been returned over 10 yards. One punt.
Nick: That’s not good.
Andrew: They have no punts returned over 20 yards all year long.
Nick: Is that good?
Andrew: Antonio Callaway last week had how many? Two returned over 40 yards. He’s been a guy that’s done that. it’s a situation where I think they’re fine. Here’s the breakdown, real quick. Florida’s had 14 punts returned over 20 yards, and FSU has one.
Nick: That’s pitiful. Johnny Townsend, when we’re talking about FSU not being able to return punts, Johnny Townsend doesn’t have many punts returned on him to begin with.
Andrew: Yeah. Exactly right. You wonder how that goes in effect. Then Aguayo is the better kicker of him and Hardin. It is what it is. Now do I think Hardin has the opportunity to come in and kick the shit out of the ball and hit a 60 yarder to win the game? As far as talent goes, absolutely.
Nick: He made four last year.
Andrew: Mentally I don’t know. We’ll see.
Nick: He made four last year against Florida State, his first four.
Andrew: Also we don’t have Will Muschamp trying to throw to a defensive end on offense.
Nick: You’re referring to the offensive defensive end position.
Nick: It was a new one in the Muschamp playbook.
Andrew: That one that’s no longer.
Nick: Credit Will Muschamp for being creative, trying to invent something new on offense.
Andrew: He was trying to invent the new offense. It was like how can I figure out a way to recruit all defensive players, and still fill in an offensive team? How can I figure out a way to have 85 monsters?
Nick: Maybe he just looked at the positions and said, “This one’s name is defensive end. This one is tight end. They both end in end. They’re probably interchangeable.”
Andrew: Quarterback, cornerback. Running back. I don’t know what that, linebacker. I don’t know. Nick, last week I absolutely destroyed you.
Nick: It was a very poor showing by me.
Andrew: It was. It was like I slapped you in the face, kicked you down.
Nick: You nailed it. I did the exactly opposite. I did as well as Johnny Manziel having that video released of him sipping champagne in the club during his bye week.
Andrew: You know why it is Nick?
Nick: Because you’re the goat?
Andrew: That’s right. That is right. Maybe I should share some secrets with Mark Richt and Les Miles or Butch Jones and those morons. Maybe I should share. No. I don’t like to be that way. Anyway, I’m going to go ahead and be the man again this week, but you got first pick. Who you going with for number one?
Andrew: What’s up?
Nick: Tuesday was a dark day for me.
Andrew: It was?
Nick: It was a dark time, dark day for me. Tuesday it was announced, and it was released that Johnny Townsend would not be a Ray Guy finalist.
Andrew: You know what that means?
Nick: That means I’m picking Johnny Townsend. We talked about how big turnovers and special teams will be. I think it kind of gets forgotten about how important and how big field position comes into a game that’s close like this. I think Florida has a huge edge with Townsend, not being able to return his punts, being able to flip the field, let Florida’s defense work with more grass behind them. I think Johnny Townsend has an impact this week.
Andrew: I’m going to go with the automatic pick, so go ahead and give me one point. I’m going #3, Antonio Morrison. Last games a Gator this week. If there’s one guy that may shed a tear that nobody expects it may be Antonio Morrison. I think he gets emotional.
Nick: Maybe. I’m trying to think. I’ve never come close to seeing him with that kind of emotion.
Andrew: He’s going to miss the game at Florida. You know as well as I do.
Nick: Yeah, he definitely is. To me, he might be a guy that gets pissed off. Why do I have to hold these flowers and hug my parents before a game? We’ve got a football game to play. He might maybe drop a tear after the game, but I think he’s the kind of guy that gets upset when they’ve got stuff that’s going on on a football field that’s not football. Since you took your guaranteed point I’m going to take my with Jarrad Davis. I think both of us are agreeing that Florida State’s going all in. If they’re going to win the game it’s going to be Dalvin, and with Florida’s defensive line possibly missing some people, probably missing some people, that’s putting more on the linebackers. We’re going to just split the linebackers.
Andrew: Since you didn’t take your second pick I’m really thinking about stealing your second pick.
Nick: That’s unfair.
Andrew: That’s unfair?
Andrew: Okay. As long as you say it as good as I say it when I announce him. Next one I call it, I said it. Special teams is going to happen. AD, all day, to the house, Callaway has a big game. Not so much on offense, special teams he finds a way to get one into that south end zone on a punt. 81 is pick #2.
Nick: Great pick. Love AD, all day Callaway. My third pick is Taylor gang. I’m not going to steal Mick’s line. We’re going to go with Taylor gang, Kelvin Taylor. I just got a feeling. I think this is also Kelvin Taylor’s last game in the Swamp, not a senior, but I think he will leave school early. I think he has that in the back of his mind, last game. No one’s talking about him. Everyone’s talking about Dalvin Cook, and let’s be honest. I know how everyone feels about Dalvin Cook. He’s a hell of a player. Sometimes, whether you like what he did or not, you kind of just have to tip your hat to him, but I think Kelvin’s been asked a lot about Dalvin this week, has heard a lot about Dalvin all year. I think he’ll come into this game also thinking it could be the last time he plays in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, with a little extra juice.
Andrew: I think Taylor made is there. Most of the time when I call it I call him with 100 yards. Last week he was 2 short. Still a good game for him. My third one is going to be representing my Atlanta Falcons this week. Bryan Cox, Jr. going to big things for 94.
Nick: You’re predicting that Bryan Cox, Jr. rises up this weekend?
Andrew: That is right. He’s going to rise up this weekend against the Noles. He’s going to take the chop back to Atlanta, where it belongs. 94 steps up for 90 and 14. He’s going to take the 9 and the 4, put it together, and 94 it is. Bryan Cox has a big game.
Nick: I think that’s a good pick. Bryan Cox has been playing easily the best football of his career, and he’s kind of a guy that isn’t really vocal about it, but when you’re around him you can tell that he feels some type of way about Florida State. I’m not sure why. He also is a south Florida kid. There’s a lot of Florida State fans here. A lot of people who aren’t Florida fans will say that Gator fans are obnoxious. Any team that you’re not a fan of is obnoxious, but Florida State fans in south Florida are really obnoxious. Maybe that’s what it is with Bryan Cox.
Andrew: Nick, I wanted to pick this guy. You wanted to pick this guy, but we don’t pick this guy, because every time one of us pick him he has a bad game. I’m going to go ahead and give us both a point for Jalen Tabor, because he’s going to get some picks this week.
Nick: We’ll tell them. I’ll tell the listeners. We pick our players before the podcast, and we switch back and forth each week. If I picked first one week, Andrew picks first the next. He says, “Who do you want this week?” The world Jalen was coming out of my mouth, and he goes, “You can’t pick Tabor.” I was like, “What?”
Andrew: No Tabor. No Tabor at all this week. That kind of brings me to a point real quick, Nick, and I’m going to make it short, because this is an argument you and I could discuss for a while. A lot of people are saying he’s the best cornerback on the Gators team, and I’ll admit I think he’s playing the best ball of right now.
Nick: That’s a different statement.
Andrew: I think Vernon is the best corner on the team. I think they’re two different type of corners, and I think that that is what, a guy like Tabor’s getting more balls thrown his way, but Tabor’s the more physical guy. Vernon is the more cover guy.
Nick: There’s more than one way to skin a cat.
Andrew: Exactly, and there’s more than one way to play cornerback. That’s how they do. Nicholas, let’s go real quick.
Nick: Real quick. I think there’s a distinction that’s there.
Nick: Jalen Tabor is having a better season than Vernon Hargreaves. That doesn’t mean he’s a better player. He’s having a better season.
Nick: Will he be a better player than Vernon Hargreaves? Maybe. Who knows? I think he’s having a better season. I don’t know if that makes him a better cornerback overall. I think they’re both very good at what they do. I don’t know that you necessarily need to say one is better than the other.
Andrew: Right. This is a point that I’ve made as well. It’s kind of like Kelvin Taylor. Kelvin Taylor is what he is. He’s not going to do anything differently. Vernon Hargreaves is what he is. He’s a smart guy. His mental makeup is there. Jalen’s going to get better. He probably has more to grow into as a corner than Vernon does. That is no disrespect to Vernon. That’s a lot of respect to Tabor and the player he could be.
Nick: Yeah. I don’t know. Vernon’s great. I’m not going to take a shot at Vernon. Vernon’s a great guy.
Andrew: I didn’t want to take a shot.
Nick: I don’t think you were. I was going to say something, and I just don’t know how to say it without it coming off a certain way. Vernon is a great cornerback, and I think he will be a very good cornerback in the NFL. If we’re talking about NFL I think Jalen Tabor might even have a little bit more upside with how big and physical receivers are getting. I think you look at guys like Richard Sherman and these bigger defensive backs, I think Jalen Tabor kind of fits the mold a little bit better for what the NFL is using and looking for right now. I think maybe a better NFL future, but as far as right now for the Gators they’re both fantastic. I think Jalen Tabor is having a better season. Vernon Hargreaves has four interceptions. He’s not having a bad season.
Andrew: Then let’s not forget that there’s also a pretty good other corner on the team in Quincy Wilson.
Nick: He gets overlooked. Not by us, but he gets overlooked a lot.
Andrew: To me he’s the guy that’s kind of like Vern in that he’s just a guy that’s going to be in the spot he needs to be. There might be a time or two he gets beat, but he’s a smart football player and is going to be where he needs to be. That’s exactly what he is. Let’s go ahead. Let’s make some picks real quick, Nicholas. Got the Iron Bowl this week.
Nick: We had to pick some stinkers last week, but now we’ve got a slate of great games.
Andrew: Absolutely. Iron Bowl this week in Auburn, Alabama, in the plains. Who you got?
Nick: Willy. Willy Muschamp gave up almost 700 yards of offense to Alabama last year with a better defense at Florida than he has this year on the plains. No shot. Alabama, roll tide, not even close.
Andrew: I told you something earlier this week, and I told you that this is the game. This is a game that I would not be surprised to see Auburn win. It’s a rivalry game, and in that rivalry game the team that is always the underdog, or the team that is not talked about, always finds a way to jump out early. Always finds a way to jump out early, but it’s Will Muschamp on that sideline. Any other defensive coordinator, and I’m picking Auburn, but no. The tide rolls this week. The tide rolls. Saban rolls. See you in Atlanta, Nicky. We want Bama.
Nick: It’s Alabama.
Andrew: Definitely. Here we go. Let’s go to the next one. The trees versus the Irish. Who you got?
Nick: Is the game in Stanford?
Andrew: In Stanford.
Nick: At California?
Andrew: In California.
Nick: We’re going with Stanford at home.
Andrew: In the forest.
Nick: The forest. Save the trees. We’re going with Stanford at home.
Andrew: Stanford at home. Okay. Buckeyes or the Harbaughs?
Nick: You didn’t give your pick.
Andrew: I didn’t give my pick. I’m going Stanford, and I’m going Stanford to win by 10 out there. My God, if the playoff committee puts Stanford ahead of Florida after they beat Florida State I’m going to be pissed off. Pissed off. Get that straight. Pissed off. Nick, you and I are going to have a podcast on that damn college football committee as well, but it’ll take way too long for this podcast. Buckeyes in the big house, who you got?
Nick: Jim Harbaugh this week went to the grave of Bo Schembechler. He played for him, famous Michigan coach, the coach he played for. Went to Bo’s grave and with a maize hammer smashed buckeye nuts. Smashed buckeye nuts in front of, or on, Bo’s grave. This guy is crazy. I love Jim Harbaugh. He is nuts on the sideline. He is an interesting, weird guy. Crushing the opponent’s mascot next to a tombstone. I’m going Michigan with the upset. I think Ohio State’s a fraud. They haven’t played well all season, and they were finally exposed last week. I think Michigan exposes them further this week.
Andrew: Not so fast, my friend. Not so fast, my friend. Michigan is a fraud too. They’re a fraud too. Their bullshit khaki pants, #10 in the country is exactly what I just said, bullshit. Ain’t happening. Buckeyes roll this week, because Michigan’s overrated. Buckeye is big.
Nick: I got a stat for you. Since 2001 Michigan has won guess how many games?
Andrew: Michigan since 2001. 72.
Nick: No, since 2001.
Andrew: In the rivalry?
Nick: Yeah. From 2001 till 2015 against Ohio State.
Nick: Two. They won in 2003 in Ann Arbor, and they won in 2011 in Ann Arbor. This game is in Ann Arbor. I think Michigan gets their third.
Andrew: Go Bucks go. Go Bucks go. Last, but not least, the Sooners and the Cowboys in Cowboys’ stadium. Who do you got?
Nick: Do we know that status of Oklahoma’s quarterback? Is he out?
Andrew: I think he’s in, but I’m not sure. No clue.
Nick: I’m going pistols in the sky, waving them high, OK State. Let’s go Cowboys.
Andrew: Let’s go Cowboys. Oklahoma’s overrated too. They got beat by Texas. Because they put you #3 in the playoff committee, go Cowboys go. Mike Gundy is 40, and he’s a man, so I am going that one. All right, Nicholas, it’s time for the mascots. Who you got this week? Is it Gators, or is it Noles?
Nick: Let’s let you give your pick first. I think people know who you’re going to pick.
Andrew: I’m going to let you go ahead and make a pick this week, because I have a joke afterwards. I’m going to let you go ahead and make a pick.
Nick: All right. I am going with Florida.
Nick: I’m picking the Gators this week. I’ve put on my Albert head. I think Florida just finds a way to win. I haven’t been happy with just finding a way to win over FAU and Vanderbilt, but I think there is something to that. You know what I’m saying? I think there is something to finding ways to win, even if it’s against teams that you should be beating handily. This is kind of a game, a rivalry game, two teams that are very similar offensively and defensively. I think it’s kind of maybe those winning close games, playing close games, learning something about yourself, maybe that helps Florida this week.
Andrew: What’s your score?
Nick: I’m going with the under. The under is 40, which means I got to give it something like Florida wins 21-17.
Andrew: 21-17. Nicholas, Nicholas, Nicholas, Florida State 24, Gators 10, in the Swamp. The Gators’ playoff hopes are over. Until Treon proves he can do it, and until the offense proves they can do it, I have no faith against this defense. 24-10, Noles.
Andrew: 24-10, Noles.
Nick: What just happened?
Andrew: 24-10, Noles roll on Saturday.
Nick: I have joked about losing control of the podcast in the past.
Nick: I have been in total control of the podcast. In real life I’ve been in total control of the podcast up until this moment. What just happened?
Andrew: I’m calling Treon out. I’m ready to say it, 3, make me feel wrong. No faith whatsoever in 3. No faith in 3 whatsoever. I’m going to go ahead and call it. 24-10, Noles win. Playoff hope over with. Find me a quarterback.
Nick: I am speechless.
Andrew: Find me a quarterback.
Andrew: Find me a quarterback.
Nick: We’re dropping the mike on that.
Andrew: Find me a quarterback, and I’ll change the prediction. Will Grier can find a way to play I’ll change the prediction. 24-10, Noles.
Nick: @NickdelaTorreGC on Twitter. If you’re angry, I know you were all angry at me on Tuesday night, but if you’re angry, he’s @AndrewSpiveyGC on Twitter. It’s GatorCountry on Twitter. TheGatorCountry on Instagram. NickdelaTorre on Instagram. Website is www.GatorCountry.com. You can address all of your hate mail this week to Andrew.
Andrew: To @ButchJones.
Nick: CC Butch Jones on the hate mail. He didn’t tell me about that one, guys. I don’t even know what’s going on. What just happened?
Andrew: The realist. I’m a realist, my man. I’m a goat. I’m a realist, and I don’t have faith. I have witnessed enough of the Jeff Driskel era to know that quarterbacks don’t get fixed in one week.
Nick: That’s true. That is true. Man, dropping it like it’s hot. Andrew Spivey.
Andrew: Drop it like it’s hot. Drop it like it’s hot.
Nick: That was good.
Andrew: That was pretty good.
Nick: Surprised yourself.
Andrew: It was. I was surprising myself. Anyway, Nick, we’ll have big recruiting news. This list is jam packed of prospects, five stars, four stars, three stars, two stars, one stars. Of course, myself is a seven star. You, Nicholas, are a six star, I guess. Maybe. Maybe a four star. Hit us up on Gator Country. My man, David Bowie, our photographer, great guy for Nicholas and I. We’ll have plenty of great photos from the rivalry weekend. Boy, do I hope I’m wrong. I hate losing. I have no problem to say that I hate losing and hate the Gators losing. Prove me wrong, Treon. As always, go Braves. Butch, Mark, you suck. Rivalry week sucks, because I don’t like Florida State.
Nick: You stay classy, Gator Country.