GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we bring you our Friday predictions for the Florida Gators vs. Tennessee game on Saturday night.
Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre breakdown their keys for the Gators against Tennessee on both offense and defense.
Andrew and Nick also give you three players to watch for Florida on Saturday, plus predict other games around the country.
Andrew:What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. It’s hate week, Nick. Tennessee hate week that is. We’re at Friday for our prediction podcast. Time for the Gators to go up to Neyland and get some revenge.
Nick:Last time they were there didn’t end well.
Andrew:No. You and I were making fun of fans for leaving at halftime.
Andrew:So it’s your fault.
Nick:It’s my fault. It’s always my fault. That was a fun trip. To me, I’m looking forward to making this trip, because I think that stadium is going to be wild. It’s Florida week. They always get up for Florida week, but a night game, give those people 12 hours, 10 hours, however long it is, to tailgate, drink some adult beverages before they go. I think that’s going to be a packed stadium, and the stadium is going to smell like booze.
Andrew:I’m eager to see that, to see how that crowd is. I’m with you in that I think it will be a good crowd. A lot like Florida fans, and that is they believe, and they’re giving time to Jeremy Pruitt just like Florida fans are giving time and supporting Dan Mullen. I do, I think that that’s going to be a rocking crowd for that game. Tennessee’s stadium is definitely astadium that can get loud. That game you and I were at two years ago, where Tennessee came from behind to win, got loud at times as well.
I think it’s a challenge to the team to go into this. Their first hostile crowd, first road game. How does all that go? How does Feleipe Franks make his checks? How does the line go about that? On the defensive side of the ball, have to get their checks in and that kind of stuff. Of course, it’ll be quiet when the defense is out there. It’s a road game. It’s a different atmosphere. You’re in a hotel after plan ride, all that good stuff. How are you going to adjust to all that? Questions, but none of these guys, for the most part, will be making their first road trip, so it should be business as usual.
Nick:Before we break into the game, I want to ask you a little bit about the betting line.
Nick:So, it opened at Florida -6. Florida’s the six-point favorite. The line has shifted about a point and a half, to 4.5. What do you think? I think a lot of people were surprised when the line opened at six.
Andrew:I told someone, I did my radio show on Monday with Mark Moses down there in the Tampa area, and he was talking to me about it. He said, can you believe it, six points? I said, yes and no. I guess I get it, because somebody had to be favored. Basically, you were saying Florida was a nine-point favorite, because you get three points for being the home team. Did they expect Florida to be nine points better than Tennessee? That was kind of where I was at.
I guess, I get the point of Florida being favored, just because of Tennessee not really looking good, even in their cupcake games, but to end up being a nine-point favorite? That was kind of misleading, in my opinion. This game is never a blowout.
Andrew:What was your thoughts?
Nick:Maybe I’m just down on Tennessee. I don’t think they’re very good.
Andrew:I think they’re awful.
Nick:Yeah. I was talking to a friend on Sunday, before the line came out, and he asked me, where do you think it’ll be? I think it’ll be at 5.5 or 6. So, I hit the nail on the head. I think six is a fair number. If I was a betting man, I’d probably take Florida -4.5, but we’ll get into our prediction later, I also wouldn’t be surprised if Tennessee won the game outright.
Andrew:Yeah. Again, I see this game as a game that is going to be decided late in the game. I’m with you, in that I think Tennessee is not a good football team at all.
Nick:Vegas doesn’t think either of these teams are good, because the over-under is at 47.
Andrew:I also know that Florida’s not very good. I say that laughingly, because who knows what offense is coming out? Who knows what Feleipe Franks is coming out with? I also know that the secondary for Florida is depleted. I also know that missed tackles are there. When you figure all that stuff in, to me that’s why I say is Florida nine points, honestly, better than Tennessee? They should be, but with all those things figured into it, are they? I don’t know. Again, Tennessee’s running game is just okay. Their quarterback play is just okay. I think Dan Mullen said that best on Wednesday on the teleconference. He said he’s a lot like Feleipe, and that’s kind of true. They’re both a guy that has big arms, can make plays, but also are prone to make mistakes. When you go on the road, you can’t do that, for sure.
I will say that I think Florida’s running back group is much better than Tennessee’s running back group. But when you factor in the offensive line play at both of them, they pretty much equal out as far as that goes, because who knows what Florida offensive line is going to show up?
Nick:You really think Florida’s offensive line is as bad as Tennessee’s? I mean, they’ve been getting …
Andrew:I don’t know. That’s the thing, Nick. I don’t think they’re as bad as Tennessee’s, by no means.
Nick:I mean, Florida’s played two bad teams, but when Tennessee played the only good team they’ve played this year …
Nick:Yeah. West Virginia. That offensive line was terrible. I think people forget a little bit, because Tennessee has looked better the next two weeks, forget like I was worried for Jarrett Guarantano, however you say his last name. I was worried for like his general health.
Andrew:Even in the two cupcake games they didn’t look good.
Andrew:That’s what I’m saying.
Nick:What I was saying, when you said I don’t know which line’s better. I’m thinking, jeez, Florida’s line is not playing great, but I don’t know if they’re that bad.
Andrew:I guess I shouldn’t have worded it like that. What I was saying was when you factor in offensive line and running backs for both, who do you give the edge to? Probably Florida, but at the same time, who knows? Because we’ve seen this Florida offensive line be really bad, and then we’ve seen at times this Florida offensive line be okay. Again, I think Florida should win the rushing edge. I do. I think they should win the rushing edge in the game.
I just, I really do, I worry about the middle of the offensive line with Tyler Jordan, Nick Buchanan, and Fred Johnson. That’s just a worry to me. Then I guess too, Nick, when we talk about Tennessee’s rushing game, does Florida tackle them when they get to them?
Andrew:It’s a question mark. I think you and I can both make the argument that Florida’s defensive line was in the Kentucky backfield more times than not making plays. They just didn’t finish the tackles, finish the play.
Nick:I think I would give Florida’s offensive line and running back group the edge in this game. Tackling, to me, is a huge issue. Yes. Again, I’ve said this all week. I think Florida ends up winning the game, not to spoil my prediction, but I think that it has to be won by getting the ground game going. I said this on the message board, Nick, and that is which team is able to get play action going? Both secondaries are banged up. Both secondaries have some weaknesses. Which secondary bites on the play action and gets beat over the top? A big play over the top for a long touchdown could end up being the play that gets one team over the top this week. It could be the game winner again. You saw it last year. You could see it again this year.
For me, there’s just so many factors that when you look at it you can say the same thing about the opposing team. One thing I give Florida the edge, and again, we can say whatever about Tennessee, Florida’s more experienced. I think that’s the thing. Dan Mullen’s more experienced. He’s been in big games. Jeremy Pruitt has never been in a big game as a head coach.
Nick:As head coach. Okay. Yeah. I mean, he’s coached in some really big games, but not as a head coach.
Andrew:Has he ever made a decision? I would say both you and I would agree Nick Saban is not giving Jeremy Pruitt or any coordinator, for that sake, the final decision on anything. On Saturday, the final decision lays on Jeremy Pruitt’s back. What he does is going to be there. I think that, when we take everything off the table, as equal as a lot of things are, Dan Mullen is a better football coach than Jeremy Pruitt. Dan Mullen’s been there. That could end up being the thing. I would say this. Dan Mullen’s coaching staff is better than Tennessee’s coaching staff. You give me Dan Mullen calling plays over Clay Helton, I’m taking that any day of the week.
Nick:What about Chris Rumph?
Andrew:He’s not a linebacker coach. Listen, I like Chris Rumph. I think Chris Rumph is a phenomenal person. I think Chris Rumph is a good defensive line coach, and I don’t think nobody can argue that. Florida’s defensive line was good under him. I do think he, per se, gets more credit for recruiting that so, but I don’t think he’s a linebacker coach. You have a defensive line coach coaching linebackers. That’s just, for me, Nick, when I see that I see Jeremy Pruitt saying, you know what, I don’t care about the coaching of the linebackers. I want Chris Rumph as my recruiter.
Nick:Yeah. I think it’ll be fun for Cece and Jachai and those guys to see him before the game, but I agree with you. I don’t know why you put him, he’s never really coached linebackers, I don’t think.
Nick:Other than this year.
Andrew:Here’s my question, does Charlton Warren just tell Van Jefferson and those guys, run deep, those DBs that I coached can’t cover you.
Andrew:Yeah. We asked Charlton. We spoke to CharltonWarren, and for anyone listening that doesn’t know, he was Tennessee’s defensive backs coach last year. Somebody posed a question about the hail Mary. His response was, there you go, it wasn’t a hail Mary. He’s right. A hail Mary, when people think hail Mary, you line three guys up on one side of the field or four guys up on one side of the field, and you throw the ball as far as you can, trying to get a touchdown on that play. So, it wasn’t that, but he did not want to talk about that last play of the game last year, because it was his group that got burnt. No one’s really wanted to talk about it this week.
Andrew:Well, as a DB coach, I can understand that. He doesn’t want to talk about that.
Nick:Do you believe, both Jeremy Pruitt and Dan Mullen said, I haven’t watch the game from 2017?
Andrew:I never want to call anybody a liar.
Nick:I get why you wouldn’t. Florida doesn’t look like what it did when McElwain was here. Those aren’t the plays they’re running. Why would I go and watch that game if I’m Jeremy Pruitt? The same goes for Dan Mullen. What is watching that game going to help me? That’s not what Tennessee is going to look like.
Andrew:Here’s the thing that I think you have to remember too, Nick. Listen, do I think they’ve watched the full game? No. But I think they’ve watched parts of the game, because when you see Jarrett, however you say his name, you go back, and you look and see how he did against Florida. You go back, and you look at different things. I don’t think none of them has watched the full game. Mullen’s probably went back and pulled some Mississippi State, Alabama games against Pruitt’s defense, that kind of stuff. I think both of them have probably watched bits and pieces of it. Have they watched the end of it? Probably not.Fully? Probably not.
Like you said, there’s really no reason to. I do think that you look at some of the matchups and how those guys went up against each other in the matchups, for that sake. Again, last year’s game was last year. It’s completely different. Pruitt’s running a different style of defense. Mullen’s running a different style of offense. Grantham’s running a different style of defense. Clay Helton and those guys are running a different style of offense for Tennessee. So, not a lot.
I will say this, Nick. Tennessee’s special teams isn’t near as good as Florida’s, and that could be a key this week.
Nick:I think that is a key this week. Pruitt was asked about that a bunch. He was asked about that a bunch on the SEC teleconference. He said Freddie Swain is dynamic. Basically he said, listen, he went up against Dan Mullen a bunch of times and said, Dan Mullen teams are always good on special teams. They always good specialists, kicker, punter. They always have speed, and they’re always well-coached. I think we’ve seen all three of things. I don’t think that’s coach speak. We get a ton of coach speak all season long, and I don’t think that’s coach speak. I think you see the difference of that just on the guys on the field. These guys weren’t on the field. Chauncey Gardner, LamicalPerine, those kinds of guys weren’t playing special teams under Jim McElwain, and they are now. Tyrie Cleveland is a fricking gunner on punt. He wasn’t playing special teams last year.
Andrew:No. Completely. You look at guys like Damien Pierce. They’re not giving the effort they’ve given this year last year. Not Damien Pierce, because he wasn’t there, but guys like Damien Pierce aren’t giving that effort that they gave this year last year.
Nick:It wasn’t asked of them. Now it’s being demanded of them.
Andrew:Right. I mean, you look back, Nick, when you look back at the Urban years in this Tennessee game, Brandon James was always a staple in this game. I think all but one year he had a kick return for a touchdown, either a punt or a kickoff. Rivalries are won with the little details. A little detail this week, we’re talking about how closely matched up a lot of these guys are and the inexperience. Nick, let’s just be honest. Neither one of us trust either one of these offenses to go 75 yards to win a game at the end of the game. Do we?
Andrew:Exactly. A blocked kick by either team this week, we trust that they can get points somehow or another if they get the ball on their 30. We trust that. Florida’s got McPherson that can kick it. We trust that they can a lot more get points that way than they can going 75 yards in the game.
Nick, let’s go ahead and dive just a little bit deeper into the offense and the defense here. Give me your key for Florida on offense. We talked about the running game. Give me a more specific key there, and then I’ll give you mine. Then we’ll move to defense.
Nick:I think my key on offense is really just going to be just protect the ball. You can’t, like you said, when you’re getting in these games, it’s the little things that matter. I think this will be a close game. I don’t think Florida can lose the turnover battle and come out and win this game. To me, the key is turnover battle, and then I still want to see that list of offensive guys that are touching the ball, I still want to see that get smaller. I know everyone asks, where’s so-and-so, where’s so-and-so? It’s like, listen, I don’t care who it is, but you don’t want 14 guys touching the ball.
To me, you need to find your playmakers. You need to find those guys that are difference makers and just get them the ball. If that’s only Kadaris Toney, Van Jefferson, Jordan Scarlett, and Lamical Perine, cool. Ride those four. Find six, seven guys, four receivers, two running backs, and lean on them. I don’t need the leading pass catcher, the leading receiver, to have three catchesfor 36 yards, and then seven other guys also have 1-2 catches. Find somebody. Find your advantage. Find your difference. Find the guy that is going to go and make plays. I’ve been calling for that ever since the first game.
Andrew:I would say my key is pretty much along what you just said. Figure out a way to get the ball into Van Jefferson, Toney, Trevon Grimes’ hands.
Nick:Right now, we talked about it, and I don’t want to say we’re wrong yet, because I’m not ready to give up on Mullen and the play calling. I think it’s way too early for that. KadariusToney, if he’s in the game and catches a pass, we said it. We texted during the game, and we’re like, I know exactly what the next play is. Toney just caught a screen pass, so now he’s going to go in the wildcat, and then he’s done.
Nick:They’ve done that three games in a row. It’s like, you’re running the same two plays with him, and that’s it? That’s all you got for him? Is that all he can handle? I’m not ready to believe that either, that that’s all he can handle.
Andrew:Right. I’m going to throw an X factor at you, Nick, that I think shows up this week. Kemore Gamble, a guy who I think when you turn on the tape last week he should be given assist for two touchdowns. Blocking, he is by far your best pass blocker and run blocker for tight end. By far. I don’t even know if there is a close second with him within 50 points, percentage points. It’s that much difference. I think you have a X factor that that’s the key for me, Kemore Gamble.
I’m going to throw this out there, Nick, and that is I think you see some new wrinkles this week. I’ve talked to some people. I think you see some new little wrinkles this week. I don’t know if that means Emory Jones playing at quarterback some, or if that means Kadarius Toney playing some more wildcat quarterback. I think you see the whole playbook. I think Dan knows this is a game you need.
Nick:Yeah. You kind of alluded to that on Wednesday.
Andrew:Yeah. Again, from talking to some people around and that kind of stuff, I’m just in that boat. Again, I could be completely wrong. They could be just playing around with that in practice for the heck of it. Who knows? I think they do, and they go out and some things are shown. I do think that when you look at the stats this week it’s a lot less people involved, but the guys that need the ball are more involved. At the end of time, Nick, at the end of the day, that is what you need. Toney having six, seven touches a game. Jefferson, Grimes, Tyrie leading your team in receptions. That’s what you want.
I was talking to some people about Kadarius Toney this week, and they said, I don’t understand the whole perception he needs eight catches. Why not four catches and four rushes? Kadarius is not the most polished receiver in the world, but you could make the argument he’s your best athlete on the offense. Find ways to get him the ball without him running a 30-yard go route, seam route, whatever you want to call it. Find ways for that. I think that’s a big key.
Nick:I agree with you there. Let you start on the defensive side now.
Andrew:On defense, Nick, my key is play fundamental ball. Play technique ball. Defensive line, get some pressure, but get pressure by playing good, fundamental techniques. Setting the edge. What sounds like the easiest thing out there, but it hasn’t been the easiest thing, wrap up. For me, that’s it. Play fundamental ball and wrap up. If you play those things, defensively you will be fine. Defensively you are so much more talented than the offensive side of the ball that Tennessee is going to put out there.
Nick:Yeah. To me, it’s just tackling. That’s my key. I agree with everything else you said, but I think it doesn’t matter if you set the edge. It doesn’t matter if you get to the quarterback. You can get to the quarterback and not tackle him. To me, it’s just tackling. It’s probably something we shouldn’t have to talk about, but I feel like we talk about it every week on every podcast for the last five years.
Andrew:Let me ask you this, Nick. This was a question we were talking about on the message board with a couple people. Someone said, Grantham can’t blitz because of the secondary. My rebuttal to that is, you can’t sit back either. I think that Grantham has to mix it up. I think he has to be okay with giving up some passes for the sake of getting pressure. I just think that can’t sit back either, because when you sit back they’re going to pick the secondary apart if they have all day. That’s any good quarterback. Especially without Marco Wilson there.
If you blitz and bring the house, you’re going to leave some areas open, but for me you have to be creative there and mix it up. You can’t just be full blitz mode, and you can’t be full coverage mode. You have to be somewhat mixed. You have toroll the dice a little bit and trust that when you blitz you’re going to get there, and when you don’t blitz your secondary is going to hold up and stay in coverage until the four-man pass rush makes the play. That’s my argument there. I could be completely wrong. I’ll ask you the same thing that people on the message board are asking.
Nick:Do you think Florida’s offense line will give Feleipe a clean pocket? They’ve been better in pass pro than in run blocking.
Andrew:I think, for the most part, they can, but I think it all depends on how the running game gets going, Nick. If Tennessee knows they’re having to pass, and they can get some pressure, they’re going to turn it up.
Andrew:You know as well as I do that the guys from Florida that are at Tennessee right now, and Jeremy Pruitt as well, that if Feleipe Franks is having to drop back and pass and pressure is in his face, he’s going to make a mistake.
Nick:Tennessee, only five sacks this year. Same amount of tackles for loss as Florida, which is 20. I think it’s kind of gut check for me for the offensive line. I know you’re tired of getting called out, but until you put it together on the field, it’s going to happen.
Andrew:Right. Here’s my thing, Nick. If what I predict to happen, some wrinkles on the offense and some quick game, that kind of stuff, if that stuff happens, you can very easily offset the blitzing by dumping it to Toney. Because guess what, if you’re blitzing, you have less guys back in coverage. KadariusToney is not a guy that you want out in space. Trevon Grimes is not a guy you want out in space. You get those guys out in space with room to run, good things are going to happen. They’re going to hit pay dirt sooner or later.
Nick:We haven’t seen that since the first pass that Trey Grimes caught at Florida, which was a touchdown.
Andrew:Yes. Let’s see it again. I mean, it’s Tennessee week. It’s Mississippi State, and it’s LSU. I’m just hitting those three games again. Their stretch gets longer and deeper and harder, but those next three games you’re going to have to be creative with your playmakers in this game, these next three games, more importantly, to win the game. You cannot expect your defense to win these football games and get zero offensive production. You just cannot whatsoever. Again, for all the troubles Florida has at quarterback and offensive line, I think they’re okay at the other three spots. Tight end with KemoreGamble, receiver with the guys we mentioned, and at running back.
Nick:Yeah. You caught me a little off guard with the Kemore Gamble prediction. I think he had a great block last week. Right, it was last week?
Nick:I haven’t really seen him targeted a whole bunch.
Andrew:I’m just saying, for me, Nick, and when you listenand you talk to Mullen, he says the little things pay off to get more snaps. For me, what has C’yontai Lewis done to get more snaps? For me, nothing. Are you in agreement with that?
Nick:That’s your Bama boy.
Andrew:It’s my Bama boy, but he’s done nothing. Morel Stephens, beside catching a wide open touchdown that you and I would have caught, what has he done?
Nick:I don’t know. Mullen was asked on the teleconference Wednesday.
Nick:What would his assessment of the tight ends be. He said, I thought they were playing pretty well. He said, obviously, we want more production. We want more production from every position. Every week, when the released the guys that graded out champion, C’yontai Lewis is there every week.
Andrew:Yeah. I mean, I don’t know what he’s grading out his champion at. I don’t, will never question their grading or anything like that, but I do think that Coach is lying a little bit when he was saying he was happy with the tight end position. I think that was coach speak. I want to see more of Gamble. When we’re calling for all the playmakers, let’s see a jump ball to Mr. Lucas Krull up in the end zone, in the red zone. Let’s do that. Let’s see that stuff.
Nick, here’s an X factor too that I think we haven’t discussed enough. We talked about it a minute ago, and that is I’m not sold that Jeremy Pruitt is a good Saturday head football coach. I think he’s a good recruiter. I don’t think he’s a very good Saturday football coach. I think we’ll see that this week, and Pruitt will either have the chance to flip me off and tell me I’m wrong, or prove me right.
Nick:This is first, I mean, West Virginia is a test. I think that’s a really good football team in West Virginia.
Andrew:I give him a pass, because that was Game 1.
Nick:Game 1. You didn’t get the same opportunity that Dan Mullen had to ease in with Charleston Southern, but this is different. Like Florida opens up with Michigan last year. Huge game.
Nick:But it’s different. It’s a rivalry game, and this is his first game being head coach. I know Alabama-Tennessee is a huge rivalry, maybe even bigger than Florida-Tennessee, in the eyes of a lot of people. Some Tennessee fans will tell you the Alabama game is bigger than the Florida game. Probably depending on their age. But it’s different when you’re a head coach, and being a head coach in this rivalry. To me, yeah, this is probably the first big test. There will be situations throughout the game, where like you said earlier in the podcast, it’s time for you to make that final decision.
Andrew:4th and 1 on your own 40.
Nick:Yeah. 4th and 1. Whether it’s go for it 4th and 1, you’re down in the red zone, and you’re settling for three, or you’re trying to get seven. Tons of little decisions. The play clock is 40 seconds, something like that? That goes real quick when you’re the head coach, and you’ve got 20 people yelling at you. Hey, am I getting special teams ready? What am I doing? Are we going for it? You got everyone yelling at you. The stadium is going crazy. That 40 seconds goes real quick. So, how do you handle those situations? When you’re the defensive coordinator, you dial up the play, but it’s up to the head coach to say we’re not doing that. For me, in my eyes, watching Jeremy Pruitt to see how he handles this.
Andrew:I just say this, Nick. When you talk to people who’ve been around him, he’s always been a guy that’s a little hotheaded, always been a guy who doesn’t exactly listen to everyone and thinks he’s the man. That is Willie Taggert 2.0, in that’s what you hear about Willie Taggert. I’m going to be interested to really see how he is.
I say this jokingly, but not jokingly. We all remember how Will Muschamp was. Will Muschamp could never be calm and make a calm decision when at Florida. To me, that’s kind of what Jeremy Pruitt is. Jeremy Pruitt will make the brash decision right off of his first move, not think twice about it. That’s never a good idea if you’re a football coach. We all think our team can get it on 4th and 1. No doubt about it. 4th and goal on the 1, we all think our team is going to do it, but you have to take a step back and say, what if we don’t? Am I okay without scoring here? Am I okay with my defense have to stop them on the 40-yard line? That’s the kind of decisions a first year head coach has to go through, and I personally am not sold that Jeremy Pruitt is capable of making those decisions.
Nick:I mean, you’ve watched him his entire career. You’ve watched him longer than I have. Like Trey said, back to your box set of Two-A-Days. You’ve watched Jeremy Pruitt at Hoover and all through, so I believe you. I want to see it.
Andrew:Exactly. Here’s the last thing I want to say before we get into predictions, Nick. At the end of the day, Florida, go into this game. You’re the Florida Gators. Tennessee has been your little brother forever. Go back to that. Remember that. You go into Neyland, remember that. What is it, Nick? 13 out of the last 14? Is that right? Wins?
Nick:What was your stat again?
Andrew:13 out of 14? Or 12 out of 13 they’ve won, something like that.
Nick:Let’s see. They won 11 in a row. Tennessee won the first two. So, 12 out of the last 13.
Andrew:12 out of the last 13. Remember that. Go in with that pride and that confidence. As Mullen said, go in there wanting to win. Don’t be afraid to lose, but hate losing.
Nick:That’s just an attitude that I don’t know how, and I’ve asked Dan Mullen, and I didn’t really get an answer. I don’t know how you change that.
Andrew:I don’t know either. I’m just saying. Listen, this is the one thing that I will say that differs with Dan Mullen and Urban Meyer and Nick Saban, a lot of the elite of the elite, and that is they go into a rivalry no sugar coating. They go into their locker room and say, this game is bigger than the next game or the game before. Listen, it’s not bigger than next week for Dan Mullen. So, that’s a lie if he says that, because next week is personal. But go into this week, it’s a rivalry game. It means something. Do it for me. I don’t need to be hearing Tennessee fans.
Nick:They will be all up in your mentions.
Andrew:They will be all up in my mentions.
Nick, not a good, but okay weekend of college football. I want to start out west, Nick, with Oregon and, I done forgot who Oregon plays now. Stanford? Is that right?
Nick:You got it.
Andrew:Yeah. Stanford at Oregon. How do you see this one going?
Nick:Seven Stanford at Oregon.
Andrew:Oregon’s got things going okay, and Stanford, that big win against USC now looks like just a win. I have Stanford winning. I think Stanford is a better coached football team overall. I have Stanford winning, but I guess I wouldn’t be shocked if Oregon pulled off a surprise.
Nick:Yeah. My gut wants to sell Stanford, and it’s probably because of that USC win not looking as good now. You understand what I’m saying? I want to sell. A lot of me says they’re not for real. I am going to pick them this week. I don’t know. Actually, no, I think if they win this week then I’d be buying Stanford. I’d say, okay, they’re good. I don’t think Oregon is there yet. I think Oregon’s new coach, I think they’re still on their way, but that’s a tough road trip. That’s a tough place to play, Autzen Stadium. For me, I think Stanford, and I think I’ll know, especially watching the game late, know a little bit more about Stanford.
Andrew:Okay. What’s our next one?
Nick:Let’s go with the other nonconference game. TCU at Texas. Texas coming off a big win.
Andrew:I would say TCU wins this one pretty good. I think TCU is a good football team. I will say that I’m interested to see how Texas does in this game. For me, Nick, this is just me, I don’t think Texas is that good, but they did figure out a way to beat USC, which I don’t think USC is that good either. I want to see how this game goes for Texas, but I do think TCU wins.
Nick:I’m a big TCU believer. I think what you saw last week for TCU, and losing to Ohio State, was just a difference in stars and the difference in playmakers. Towards the end of the game, TCU just couldn’t hang. Came out hot, but just at some point, listen, we’ve got better players as Ohio State. We’ve got better players, and we’re just going to outlast you. I think that’s what we saw last week. I think TCU has better players than Texas.
Nick:I got TCU this week because of that.
Andrew:A game that I could be sneaky good, Nick, conference game, South Carolina and Vanderbilt, at Vandy, in Nashville.
Nick:Is that 3:30?
Andrew:No. I think that’s a late game, or early game.
Nick:Will Muschamp has an interesting past playing Vandy, including a loss. I’m going go …
Andrew:It’s a 3:00 game.
Nick:I’m going to go with the Commodores to have an upset.
Andrew:You stole my thunder, Nick. I shouldn’t have let you pick first. I’m going Vanderbilt as well. You go to Notre Dame. That’s a confidence loss, if that’s any way, shape, or form, I hate saying you can build confidence after a loss, but for a Vandy team to go to South Bend in a game nobody was hardly giving you a chance. I know Kirk Herbstreit gave them a chance. I’m going to say they have a shot in this game, and they win the game. Again, Willy Muschamp finds a way to lose.
Nick:You’re going with Vandy too.
Andrew:I’m going with Vandy too.
Nick:Wow. Now we’re both going to be wrong. I was hoping you would pick South Carolina, thinking I’d be right. Now that you picked them too, there’s no way.
Andrew:We’ll see here. You know I don’t like picking old Willy to win anything. Nick, A&M at Bama. Does A&M have a chance in hell?
Andrew:No. So, how bad is it?
Nick:What’s the spread? Alabama covers. I don’t know what the spread is, but Alabama covers. Until I see, until Nick Saban retires, I’m going to say Alabama covers. Alabama covers everything until Nick Saban retires.
Andrew:It is a 26-point line.
Nick:Oh, God. Screw it. Alabama covers.
Nick:Not close. I mean, they are firing on all cylinders, and still somehow Saban’s pissed off, and Saban is telling his team, who just scored 65 unanswered at Ole Miss, just we’re going to spot you seven. We’re going to let you score on two plays. We’re going to spot you seven, and then enjoy that, because you’re going to do nothing for the next three hours.
Andrew:Yeah. Ole Miss had no desire to play defense.
Nick:I think that’s a thing. I think Alabama is just so good they’re just taking the will of whoever they’re playing. You can see it when Alabama is playing teams, just it gets to a point they’re just like, we’re not going compete. Not we’re going to lose the game, just we’re not even going to be competitive. This is a different beast that we’re going up against. We’re not even going to be competitive.
Andrew:Alabama’s offense may be better than Alabama’s defense for the first time ever. That’s scary. I’m going to say Alabama wins, but I’m going to say they don’t cover the 26 points. But I’m going to say they win.
Andrew:That’s my pick. Nick, we know where my head is at. Where are you at? Gators-Vols up in Neyland. No alien sighting will be occurring this weekend.
Nick:I’m going to go with Florida. Here we go. For all the betters, I think Florida wins, covers, and I’m going to go with the under. Even after I said earlier the under was low.
Andrew:I’m going to agree with you there, and going to say Florida wins 21-10. No. I’m going to say Florida wins 24-10, which would be under, and Florida would cover as well.
Andrew:I’m going to say that Florida has a special teamstouchdown.
Nick:Okay. Do you want to take it a step further and call what kind of special teams touchdown or just leave it at that?
Andrew:Just leave it at that. I’m not going to push my luck. You got first pick. Go ahead.
Nick:I’m going to go Lamical Perine.
Andrew:If he scores this week, I’m going to tell my 251 guy that that’s not cool.
Andrew:I failed three weeks in a row.
Nick:Yup. It’s going to happen. It’s part of the reason I picked him. You’re 0-3 on picking him.
Andrew:I should have picked Scarlett.
Nick:You should have.
Andrew:I would have won. My first pick is going to be Van Jefferson, much like what we talked about. Florida has to get him involved. They do. Homecoming weekend for Van, and Van gets in pay dirt.
Nick:Okay. I’m going to go Jachai Polite. He saved me with that late sack last week. I’m going to go Jachai Polite. I almost went Jabari Zuniga, but didn’t, because it seems like the only time he shows up is when you’re playing none Power 5 teams.
Andrew:Right. I’m going to go David Reese. Big game for David Reese coming back. He probably leads the team in tackles because of that. I’m picking David Reese for reasons that won’t even show up on the stat sheet, and that’s simply because of the leadership he brings to the defense.
Nick:Okay. So, you’re just taking a cheap win is what you’re saying.
Andrew:Yeah. I’m taking that leading tackles win.
Nick:Okay. My third and final will be CJ Henderson. When we talked about this before, I said CJ, and you’re like, they’re not going to throw his way. I said, I’m not picking the other two guys, so I’m going to go CJ Henderson. I think there might be a special teams play involved there too.
Andrew:My last one, Jabari may or may not show up, but this guy will. Cece Jefferson. Big time game, big time TV on ESPN, 7:00. Cece wants to make up for his two-game suspension. Cece has a big game, and I’m going to say this, Nick, it was very close for me. People were down on Trey Dean last week. I think Trey Dean has a decent game in this game. The physical play he brings shows up in rivalries. CeceJefferson is my pick, and if anybody was asking for my next pick it would have been Trey Dean.
Nick:Need to see it from Trey Dean. I think he’s a great player. Van Jefferson this week said, I think he’ll be one of the best corners in the country down the line. Unfortunately, with Marco’s injury, Florida doesn’t need down the line. They need now. So, kind of rushing that process.
Andrew:Exactly. So, that’s it, Nick. Tell everybody where they can find us. We’ll get out of here. We’ll see everyone on Monday as we recap a Gator victory in Knoxville. Nick, by the way, I’m not going with you this weekend, so I can mute my TV at home, but I’m praying for your ears, because Rocky Top sucks.
Nick:I’ll be singing along. It’s catchy. It happens to me every single year when we go up there, so every other year, it gets stuck in my head before the game even starts, because you’re walking around campus and you hear it. It’ll be stuck in my head, for sure. I like the woo, like the little woo they have.
Andrew:No. Only thing I like is when there’s tears running through, and their fans are leaving. That’s the only thing about that. There is not a Tennessee player that I like or anything like that. Peyton Manning, you still want to be Tom Brady. Tell everybody where they can find us, Nick. We’ll get out of here.
Nick:www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. Podcast is now everywhere. Literally everywhere. Wherever you listen to your podcast, search @GatorCountry, and it’ll be there. Do your social media thing. @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter. @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. I’m @NickdelaTorreGC, and he’s @AndrewSpiveyGC.
Andrew:There you go. We appreciate it. This weekend should be fire, Nick. Not only are the Gators going to take care of business, but my Atlanta Braves have a chance to clinch the National League East. That’d be sweet this weekend. Tiger, going for the FedEx …
Nick:Tour championship. Yeah.
Andrew:Going for that. Currently doing okay. We’re taping this on Thursday, and currently one under par. Let’s see. Should be a good fun weekend. Lot of good things on the tap. Check us out on Gator Country. We appreciate it. Like Nick said, we’re everywhere. Next week we’ll be giving away another Moe’s tailgate for the LSU game. So, come check us out. As always, guys, chomp, chomp and go Braves.
Nick:You stay classy, Gator Country.