GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we bring you our Friday prediction podcast for the Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs game on Saturday in Jacksonville.
Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre continue to break down this game as we give you our keys for the Gators on both offense and defense.
Andrew and Nick also give you three players to watch for the Gators, plus we predict several games around the country for this weekend.
Andrew: What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, it’s almost time for the World’s Largest Cocktail Party. No matter what they say, it will always be that, in my opinion. It’s almost game time in Jacksonville. How you feeling?
Nick: Feeling good. I’ll be there Friday night. Florida and Georgia, the baseball teams will play, so it’ll be an early cocktail party with the Dogs and Gators over there in Jacksonville. We’ll get started Friday night.
Andrew: Yeah. That’s going to be a good one. Georgia’s a good baseball team. They got that freshman, or sophomore now, right?
Nick: Emerson. I forget his last name right now.
Andrew: That kid’s a baller.
Nick: Throws fire.
Andrew: He throws fire. Onto the gridiron, Nick. It sounds like everything I’ve been told, and I know you’ve heard a lot of the same things, it looks like everyone should be good to go. Everyone I’ve talked to said that Kadarius Toney and Jabari and Jonathan Greenard are all ready, and all seem fired up.
Nick: Jonathan Greenard, I didn’t even know this, I mean, until a little bit earlier in the year, but grew up in Georgia, was a Florida fan. So, this is a game that, although it’ll be the first time he’s playing in it, a game that he grew up watching. Always wanted to play in. He early on told us, when he got to Florida, I always wanted to play in the SEC. Obviously, went to Louisville, played in the ACC for a little while, but he is pumped up. He’s ready to go. He was made available to us for media. Listen, Florida does not make players available for media if they’re hurt. Is he 100%? No.
Andrew: Nobody is right now though.
Nick: I was going to say that. Can you find anyone in the country that is? You can’t. I would expect him to have a normal workload, unless there’s a reaggravation during the game or during warmups. I think I’m a little less confident in where Jabari Zuniga is, but I still believe he’ll play. I just don’t know if it’ll be the same kind of workload that he would have gotten in the Miami game, before the injury.
Andrew: I’m with you there. I think he’s the one that concerns me a little bit more. Again, if you can get 20, 25 plays out of him, I think you’re good. It’s the same thing, we talk about Kadarius Toney, he wasn’t getting a big workload even when he was healthy. If you can get five or 10 plays out of him, and use him as a decoy more, then I think you’re successful with Kadarius.
Nick: Yeah. I know everyone gets frustrated when he doesn’t get 50 touches a game.
Nick: You didn’t see that with a healthy Kadarius. You’re not going to see it this week.
Nick: But I will say, I think he’s shown that he can throw. He’s carried the ball. He’s caught the ball. He’s developed into a much better route runner. I think even if he’s not going to touch the ball 15 times, it’s still where’s #1? We have to account for #1. It’s something that Kirby Smart and the Georgia defense is having to get ready for this week, and it’s something Kirby Smart and the Georgia defenders, whenever #1 is on the field, where is he? Somebody has to spy him or watch him. We have to know where he is. Getting him back, and like you said, at least, at the very least, a decoy. I mean, he’s going to play. You separate your shoulder, and you haven’t had contact in six weeks, and you’re not going to have contact in practice this week, because you don’t want to pop it out or reinjure it before the game. It’ll be interesting to see that first contact. What’s it look like?
Andrew: I would be shocked if he’s on any kind of special teams.
Nick: Why risk it?
Andrew: Yeah. He’s going to take the biggest hit on kickoff. That would be where he would take the biggest hit. For me, I don’t see him being on either special teams are all. But again, if you can get him a jet sweep or get him a screen and let him go, there’s ways Kadarius Toney can affect this game and be a very big factor for this team.
Nick: Yeah. It’s hard, because then how do you mix him back into it? You’ve had Josh Hammond filling in. You’ve had Freddie Swain filling in. I asked Dan Mullen that on Monday, and he kind of gave me an answer like, we have so many players, and we move them around so much. There’s a lot of rotating. It’s not really changing anything. It’s just adding something into the rotation. In my mind, I’m thinking, that’s changing something. How do you find the balance? Is it just, Josh, you’re not doing those jet sweeps anymore?
Nick: I’m not sure. I don’t know how you find the balance of it. Kadarius Toney’s a weapon when he’s healthy, so we’ll see early on how healthy he is. I know the players talked him up. Van Jefferson said he’s ready to go, that he looked crazy. He’s such a fun player. Could be maddening at times when you turn what could be a two-yard gain into a 35 second play that loses one.
Nick: But it’s fun, and like you said, at least him on the field is someone Georgia has to account for. We’ll see really, truly how healthy he is.
Andrew: Exactly. I mean, for me the biggest one for the game is Greenard.
Nick: Yeah. We talk about them as pass rushers all the time, and I think the biggest thing that you lose, and not to take anything away from Jeremiah Moon or Khris Bogle, but the biggest thing you lose is …
Andrew: Senior leadership.
Nick: Senior leadership, but they also are the most disciplined guys, or he’s one of the most disciplined guys in not getting upfield, staying in his lane, and setting the edge. I think you’re getting a lot of help back in the running game as well.
Andrew: In this game setting the edge could very well be a difference in the game. We know what Georgia’s going to try to do. They’re going to try to run the ball, run the ball, and run the ball some more. If you’re Florida, you want to keep that between the tackles, so that it’s a situation where David Reese is having a big game, or Ventrell Miller, James Houston, any of those guys having a big game. For me, that’s the big one. Like I said, if you can get Jabari 20 to 25 snaps, I think you’re good. I think you’re good there.
Nick: I think that’s probably a good expectation for Zuniga’s snaps, where I think Greenard can play 45.
Nick: His normal load.
Andrew: Right. Exactly. That’s big for me. The biggest thing that I take away from this game, and from talking to everyone, is everyone seems to be playing with confidence this week, and it’s been a different mindset this week. Everyone understands the goals that they had as a team are out there. I think a lot of, we talked about Dan Mullen’s saying this wasn’t a different week or anything like that, but guys got a little blood in their mouth from last year. A lot of guys understand that had CJ Henderson not gone down in that game, we may be talking about Florida beating Georgia last year.
Nick: Yeah. I think you’re right about that. You’re talking about already being without Marco, and then losing CJ, losing CJ Henderson. Nothing against CJ McWilliams, but he was the new guy, and he got picked on. I think this year, especially this week, we already said nobody in the country is truly 100% healthy, but this is probably the healthiest Florida’s been since Week 2. Don’t let David Reese hit CJ Henderson in the back during warmups before the game Saturday.
I’m really excited to see Florida healthy and to see the team that was against Miami play again. I think that’s something Jonathan Greenard said. We haven’t had this team that is practicing this week. We haven’t had this group together since Week 1, and here we are going into the ninth game.
Andrew: Right. This is a team, and I know you can say what you want to say about Auburn and their offense, but this is a team that shutdown Auburn’s offense. I mean, they put up some points against LSU. They’ve put up points everywhere else. This is a team that absolutely shut down Auburn with a healthy Greenard. So, let’s see that healthiness. I’ll be honest. This is a game that I think that I want to see both teams healthy and see who’s the better team, because heading into that game I think Florida has the better defense out of the two.
Nick: Georgia’s got a really good defense. Lead the SEC. They have 18 quarters where they haven’t allowed a point. They’re just really good. They’re good in the trenches. Where do you see Georgia’s weakness on defense being? If there’s an area. If you’re the offensive coordinator, if you’re Dan Mullen, what are you pointing out on Georgia’s defense that that’s the area where we feel, other than Kyle Pitts, that’s the area we feel successful?
Andrew: I like my chances of throwing the ball across the middle. I like my chances of throwing the ball against their corners. That’s not disrespect to Georgia at all. I just like my chances with those guys. You look at what they bring to the table. They’re a good football team. Let’s not say they’re not a good football team at all. They have a lot of good pieces around there, but again, I like my chances when you go up against both of their corners. Stokes, you got Eric Stokes and DJ Daniel are both guys that I think Florida can attack. I like my chances with Van Jefferson or Tyrie Cleveland or Tre Grimes. I like my chances with those guys there. Again, I don’t know that the depth’s there. After those guys, you’re going to go with a freshman in Tyrique Stevenson and then Tyson Campbell.
Nick: I like Tyson Campbell.
Andrew: I like Tyson Campbell as well. But again, I like my receivers better than those guys, if I’m Florida.
Nick: Yeah. If you’re Florida, I was just on a show talking with Cole Cubelic, and they asked about Florida’s running game and Florida’s passing game. I said, listen, Florida just simply figured out early on that we’re not going to be very successful running the football. So, instead of just trying to make it work, and then especially when Feleipe Franks goes down. We said it so many times on our show, we didn’t think that they were totally different players, but I think Feleipe Franks is a little more athletic and brought a little bit different flair, different style to the running game, a different dimension to the running game than Kyle Trask is. He’s a willing runner, but maybe not the same kind of athlete that Franks is, but he can throw the rock. He’s done that well, and he’s patient in the pocket. He’s able to go through progressions, and he makes good decisions.
So, they’re playing into their strengths. Rather than trying to force something, they’re playing into their strengths. If I’m Florida, I love my receiving corps, and I think you’re absolutely right in saying that that’s probably where we think we can win the game. It’s not going to be running the ball. It’s a really good Georgia run defense. Yeah. I think you’re spot on with that. Hey, I like my senior receiver against a sophomore quarterback. Let’s go after that matchup.
Andrew: Here’s the thing, and that is if Florida’s offensive line, as much shit as we give them for run blocking, they’ve done pretty well pass blocking. If they’re able to give Trask time, I really like my receivers’ chances against this defense, these defensive backs. That’s Kirby Smart. He wants to get pressure. He’s going to play a lot of man. That’s going to be Kirby’s mindset. He’s going to play a lot of man, and he’s going to hope the pressure gets there and helps his DBs out. We’ll see how that is. Again, does Florida go to a lot of the short game, the RPOs, the crossing routes, the slants that they’ve been so successful with all year? If they’re able to go to that, again, I like Florida’s chances.
Nick: I think it’s hard sitting at home and not knowing the play call to always diagnose that was an RPO or that wasn’t, because you don’t know the intent. If the ball’s handed off and not thrown, you don’t know if that was just a designed run play or if we just got the pre-snap look or the post-snap look from whoever they were keying, whether it’s the linebacker or the safety or a defensive end, just got the look to run the ball. Do you think they’re running less RPOs with Kyle Trask than they were running with Feleipe?
Andrew: No. I don’t think so. I mean, I think that they’re still doing that. I think a lot of what Feleipe was doing was RPOs and then running the ball himself, vice versa with Trask they’re running a lot where they’re handing it off. I don’t think they’ve changed that much at all. It’s tough to tell, like you said. The average person can look at it and say that was just play action. Well, no it wasn’t. It was RPO, and it just looked like play action. Again, I don’t think so. I really and truly, Nick, I don’t think the game plan and the offense has changed much at all. Obviously, Kyle’s not running as much as Feleipe was, but I think they’re maybe doing a little more throwing the ball over the middle with Kyle than they did with Feleipe.
Nick: I think you’re right. I would love to break down film with them and see.
Andrew: Oh yeah.
Nick: That’d be great. I think you’re spot on, and then moving into, staying with the passing game actually, I just don’t know if Florida can get Kyle Pitts involved enough this week.
Andrew: They’re going to try.
Nick: Yeah. Whatever you think the number of touches or looks he should get, maybe double it.
Andrew: I was reading a stat. Georgia’s already given up 100 yards to a tight end this year, so keep going. Keep up that pressure. Continue to put those guys, make those guys think, put those guys on an island. There’s not a DB, there’s not a linebacker at Florida, there’s not a linebacker or DB in the country that I think is going to stop Kyle Pitts constantly. It just isn’t. So, give me Kyle Pitts. Give me that look there.
I’ll say this. I wonder if they’re going to try to line him up inline some more this week, and then have him matched up on a linebacker more. Because we all know what he’s going to do when he’s lined up split wide. Could we see him get a little bit more inline this week and really force Georgia’s hand to cover him with a linebacker and create some mismatches that way? I think that’s one way that we haven’t seen him used a ton that now that you look at the bye week and the self-scout, maybe Dan Mullen looks at it and says, this is another opportunity to really go at it.
Nick: Yeah. I think, like you said, whatever you can do to get Pitts on a linebacker, whether that’s pre-snap motion or just putting more people on the field and forcing Georgia’s hand. I mean, there’s not a linebacker on the field Saturday that can cover him. On his own team included.
Andrew: Right. 100%. There’s not a safety. There’s not a corner.
Nick: I think that’s my X factor. Jumping ahead, but I think that’s my X factor.
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, that would be definitely one of mine as well. I’m looking at that. Also, Nick, this is something we haven’t talked about, but I think it’s something that we need to hit on, and that is Georgia’s #5 in the country in red zone offense. They’re converting 97% of the opportunities inside the red zone. Florida ranks third. They only give up scores on 57% of the opportunities there. So, this could be a game that who wins the red zone? We talk all the time about strength on strength. Here it is. Let’s see what it is.
Georgia may or may not, well, they’ll have Lawrence Cager. How much he plays will be interesting to see. That, in my opinion, is an advantage for Georgia, that 6’5” receiver there. Who wins this matchup there? Then how does Todd Grantham play that? Does he maybe roll with double coverage over there with that safety to help on those jump balls? Where does that go?
Nick: I think Georgia will probably see what Kentucky was able to do against Marco Wilson with a big tall receiver like that, and maybe try to use that. I think Marco Wilson’s playing completely differently now than he was the second week of the season, or third week of the season. To me, there might be some gamesmanship from Kirby as well, like we were just talking about. We don’t know how healthy Kadarius truly is or how healthy Jabari truly is. Maybe there’s some gamesmanship going on with Cager as well. He’s a talented player. Again, almost like when you said I feel comfortable with Florida’s receivers against their defensive backs, I feel comfortable with CJ Henderson covering probably anyone you can throw at me. Maybe not Julio Jones, but anyone else.
Andrew: The key here is this, and that is Jake Fromm’s a smart quarterback. If you start giving up ground, watch for the back shoulders, because it’s going to come. That’s where Jake Fromm makes a living.
Nick: I also think– Go ahead.
Andrew: Oh. I was just going to say, you go through this game, and you see different things. We’re talking about it. Obviously, Grantham’s talking about it with these guys. Dan Mullen’s talking about it with these guys. They know. When they go to the red zone, and it’s 1st and goal on the 5-yard line, watch [for the feint].
Nick: Yeah. I think we’ve talked about Florida in the past being this way. I don’t think Georgia, nothing against Fromm, I just don’t think they’re built to come from behind.
Nick: So, if you get an early lead, this might be a game, we’ve talked about, and I’ve talked about how Dan Mullen, and I’ve praised him for making good decisions after winning the coin toss. If you win, I think you put your offense on the field first. Hey, let’s go out there. We’ve got 14 plays drawn up. Let’s go out there and get seven and really put the pressure on Georgia early.
Andrew: Oh, I agree. Scrolling through Twitter, Nick, and found this stat though. The SEC Stat Cat, I don’t know if you follow that on Twitter, but pretty interesting thing here. Kyle Trask is second in the SEC, he’s 60% when facing pressure. Jake Fromm’s 53.9%. They both rank in the top five in the SEC. That’s another notch in Kyle Trask’s belt that bring the pressure. I’m not worried about it.
Nick: I wonder how many times he’s been pressured. Georgia’s only given up four sacks all season. I mean, I can’t say enough good things about Georgia’s offensive line. These are some big dudes. Homeboy left guard, blanking on his name right now. 340 pounds. That’s a big human. It’ll be interesting. Can Florida get pressure? If they do get pressure, what does that even look like?
Andrew: Right. Yeah. I mean, you look at what Trask has been able to do there, and he does get some pressure there. They haven’t had a ton of sacks, but they’re definitely getting pressure on him. Again, he’s one of those guys that hit him in the mouth, he don’t care. He’s going to find a way to swing it out to Freddie Swain for a touchdown on the second play of the game. He’s not worried about it.
Andrew: Any final keys, I guess, that you would say in this game? I mean, obviously we always talk about it. There’s three keys in any big game. That’s turnovers, who’s going to run the ball, and then special teams. We always talk about it in this game. Nothing new in this. Outside of the field goal that Georgia missed against South Carolina, they’ve been pretty good as far as kicking wise. Feels like Rodrigo has been there for 17,000 years. He’s 12 of 14 on the year. You think both kickers are very good. You don’t think one side has the advantage over another one in that situation.
Nick: Yeah. I mean, Rodrigo had kind of a tough game against South Carolina, but I think he’s their all-time leading scorer.
Nick: So, to me, I really don’t have, in terms of special teams, I don’t think one team has a significant advantage. In a game like this, it could come down to a field goal, or it could come down to who’s punting better.
Nick: So, to me, that’s not really going to make or break, I mean, it could make or break the game either way. Obviously, missed field goals are a huge thing. Like you said, I just don’t think that one team has a distinct advantage in that area.
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, when you look at both teams there you feel pretty good with both of their kickers there, and punting wise the sophomore for Georgia’s been pretty good. He’s averaging 47.8 yards a punt. We know what Tommy’s done. He’s averaging 44.8. I think that’s a little misleading, as a lot of his have been inside the 20, shorter punts. Overall, you think special teams are pretty even in this game.
Nick: Yeah. If we’re going matchups or positions and who has the advantage to this and that, you probably give offensive line, running game, to Georgia. I think I give Florida’s defense the nod, even though I think Georgia’s is really good. I probably go with Florida. If it comes down to Jake Fromm and Kyle Trask, who do you think has the advantage there? That’s crazy that this is even something that we’re bringing up this year.
Andrew: This is just me. Everyone knows I think the world of Kyle Trask and what he’s done, but for me, just for the simple fact of experience, it’s Jake Fromm. Again, that’s nothing against Kyle Trask at all. It’s just I think both are really good quarterbacks. I mean, Jake Fromm’s been here before. This is a little new territory for Kyle Trask. This game in Jacksonville is a little new territory. Jake Fromm’s doing this for the fourth time. So, that’s just my take.
Nick: I think so. He’s a junior. He’s played a lot of football, man.
Nick: He’s played a lot of football. Everyone has been telling me, Fromm will be gone, or people have been asking, if Kyle Trask continues this way, is he the best returner, returning quarterback in the SEC? I’m like, I think Jake Fromm comes back, and he’ll end up playing like 60 games at Georgia.
Andrew: Right. Yeah. That’s exactly right. Give me an X factor in this game, key. I guess, for Florida on defense the key is?
Nick: On defense, I think you have to stop the run. You’ve got to account for D’Andre Swift. He’s a playmaker. You can’t let him run for a buck fifty.
Nick: You can’t let him have a huge day. You got to make Jake Fromm beat you. Don’t let Georgia, we’ve been talking all week and been asking the players this week, Georgia’s got a big, physical, nasty offensive line. Just don’t get bullied up front. They do a really good job of bullying whoever they play. Don’t let Georgia bully you up front.
Andrew: Don’t let them start leaning on you and wearing you down there. For me, defensively, it is all about the pressure, and then it’s about how well Amari Burney covers up D’Andre Swift in the passing game.
Nick: He doesn’t have crazy receiving numbers, but he is a threat, and he can catch the ball, and he can be used. That’s another wrinkle that I think Todd Grantham is aware of and Florida’s aware of. I think that’s a big, it’s tough, because I think in terms of against the run between the tackles, you need Ventrell Miller, and you need to have David Reese filling their gaps, being honest and staying true into their assignments, not over pursuing, not getting out of their lanes, but when you use Swift in terms of a pass catcher, and then against Georgia’s tight end, I think you need to have Amari Burney on the field. This might be a game where Florida’s playing a more traditional 4-3. It might be a game where we see Amari Burney in that star role more.
Andrew: Right. Yeah. Agreed. Absolutely agree. You want to pick some players first, or you want to pick some teams?
Nick: We’ll go games first.
Andrew: Okay. I got some pulled up. We’re going to do this on the fly here. We haven’t talked about this, so we’re going to do this one on the fly here. Let’s go a game that I think has a chance to be interesting, outside the conference. Virginia Tech travels to take on Notre Dame. Before I say that, it is a very interesting week, Nick, that one, two, three, and five are all off this week.
Nick: Well, one and two are LSU, Alabama, right?
Andrew: Right. Yeah. So, and Ohio State’s off, and Clemson is playing the might Wofford, whatever they are.
Nick: The mighty Wofford. So, I mean, this is the biggest game of the week, Florida-Georgia is.
Nick: I know that GameDay’s not there, but biggest game of the week.
Andrew: Right. Exactly. So, do you think Virginia Tech’s got a chance with Notre Dame? It’s a 17.5-point spread.
Nick: I think Notre Dame’s a pretender, but I don’t think Virginia Tech’s very good.
Andrew: Okay. I’m also going with the Irish. You just touched on it, GameDay is going to Memphis for SMU and Memphis. Let’s see here. SMU is 8-0, and Memphis is 7-1. It’s at Memphis.
Nick: Okay. What do you got?
Andrew: I’m going SMU. Give me those Mustangs.
Nick: Yeah. I’m going to go SMU too. I think they’ve been a really good team this year. I know, I mean that place will probably be crazy. First time College GameDay’s ever been to Memphis. Should be a great environment. I’m going to watch GameDay on Saturday from a hotel room in Jacksonville. That’ll be interesting, but I’m going to go SMU. I think they’ve earned our respect, and I’ll keep picking them.
Andrew: SMU is trying to be that non-Power Five team to get into the big bowls. It’s a big one for them.
Nick: They get that non P5 automatic qualifier. Yeah.
Andrew: Yeah. Another game, Nick, that I don’t think it should be a good game, but we’ll see, because this is where Gus Malzahn has been struggling in the past. After his teams are eliminated, things go south. Ole Miss comes to town. Ole Miss is playing better ball. Does Ole Miss have a chance?
Nick: What’s Matt Corral been doing?
Andrew: He got benched. It’s Rhys Plumlee, the quarterback/baseball player.
Nick: Man, I know they’re excited about him. Listen, I know Auburn coming off a disappointing loss. They’ve lost 10 straight in Death Valley.
Nick: Auburn has. They bounce back this week. I got the Tigers.
Andrew: I do too. A game that’s interesting for me, that I want to pick just because, but the fighting Bill Clarks at UAB head up to Neyland to face the Jeremy Pruitt Tennessee Volunteers.
Nick: I mean, Tennessee has to win, right?
Andrew: Give me the Blazers.
Nick: You’re going with the Blazers.
Andrew: I’m going with the Blazers, the fighting Bill Clarks.
Nick: I can’t. I can’t do it. I want to, but I can’t. I’m going Tennessee.
Andrew: Bill Clark is 6-1 again, Nick. That’s a good program up there.
Nick: I was going to say. Not only is he a good football coach, he’s a great builder.
Andrew: Yeah. Think about that. Not even four years ago UAB was shut down. Really good player.
Nick: Incredible. Incredible what he’s been able to do at UAB. Literally they shut the program down. He had to restart from scratch. They’re 6-1. They’ve had a couple good years recently. I know Dan Mullen is in the talk for the Coach of the Year award, but, shoot, Bill Clark might be able to win that thing every year with what he’s done at UAB.
Andrew: The last time UAB and Tennessee played they played in 2010 in Neyland Stadium. Tennessee won 32-29.
Nick: You feel good about it. I don’t feel good about my pick. I know you feel good about yours. I don’t feel good about mine.
Andrew: Now the big one, Nick. You know where I’m headed, right?
Andrew: I’m heading down to Tallahassee. You’ve got the Canes or the Noles. The Canes revolving door at quarterback continues, and who knows what FSU is doing.
Nick: Revolving door that Tate Martell can’t get in.
Andrew: Yes. Can’t get in. He took a leave of absence or whatever. I think he’s back now. Yeah. The 4-4 Canes versus the 4-4 Noles.
Nick: I’m going to go Miami.
Andrew: I’m going with the Canes too. I’m going with the Canes.
Nick: Miami on the road.
Andrew: I’m going with the Canes too. I don’t know why, because both teams suck, and I’m not comfortable at all. Let me just say that. I think this game has a chance to be …
Nick: Talk about a slap fight.
Andrew: Yeah. I was going to say, I think this game has a chance to be a snooze fest. Yeah. All right. Let’s go to the big one. Down in Jacksonville. What you got, Nick?
Nick: So, I picked Florida to win the SEC East.
Andrew: They’re a 6.5-point favorite, the Dogs are.
Nick: Georgia is. Yeah. I picked Florida to win the SEC East back in Hoover. I can’t go away from that now. To pick Georgia would be picking against my preseason pick, so I’m sitting here, and I’m picking Florida to win. I think Florida wins by double digits.
Andrew: By double digits?
Nick: Two score game.
Andrew: Wow. Wow, wow, wow. Double digits. Had a guy, Nick, won’t name his name, but you’ll probably know who I’m talking about when I say what. I had a guy from Miami was talking to him this week about some recruiting stuff, and he said, you better pick the Gators this week. I said, why? I said, what you know about it? This guy’s a Miami fan, but follows recruiting a ton. He said, the Gators are the better team, and they’re going to trash Georgia this weekend.
Nick: Trash Georgia. Really?
Andrew: I was like, so you think double digits? He goes, yeah, I’m thinking 14-17 points. I’m like, what the hell? I don’t know. I think it’s going to be a good football game. So, you know, Nick, I told you the other day. I went back and forth on this. But I think Florida’s the better football team here. I know that sounds crazy to say, but I think Florida’s better coached, and I think Florida’s playing better football. I think the pressure’s on the Bulldogs. I know, trust me, I know Georgia teams do not play well when the pressure’s on. I am a suffering Braves fan.
Nick: So your pick is?
Andrew: The Gators.
Nick: I’m going 34-17.
Andrew: Holy shit. Listen, I hope so. I hope you’re right. You know me. Nothing gets me going more than getting to go to the ATL. I would love to be in the ATL in December watching the Gators play for the SEC Championship again. Yeah. I feel pretty good about my pick.
Nick: I feel good. I think is the year for Florida to beat Georgia. I think Georgia hasn’t played good football the last two weeks. I think Florida, despite a loss in their last two games, has looked better each week. Looked good against South Carolina, in my opinion. I think they’re ready for this. Like you said, I think Florida’s got some blood in their mouth from last year and from the way they lost last year. So, I feel confident. I kind of have talked myself into it. I think my score prediction is ridiculous.
Andrew: I do too.
Nick: But I thought about it on Monday, and I’ve kind of as the week has gone on talked myself into it more and more.
Andrew: Let me ask you this, Nick. We’re supposed to be unbiased, and I think we are. It’s human nature to get excited for football games. Last year there was a lot of excitement around that game, but in my heart I felt like Georgia was the better team. There’s a ton of excitement here, and I think Florida goes into this game better prepared.
Nick: Yeah. I agree with that. I think I picked Georgia last year.
Andrew: I know I did too. That is that. Nick, it is an odd week, so it’s my turn to go first, and I’m going with the Texas gunslinger again.
Nick: Back to the well.
Andrew: Back to the well.
Nick: Give me the other Kyle.
Andrew: Oh, you ass. I need the Kyle to Kyle fantasy points.
Nick: Nope. You’re not doubling down on this fantasy team. I’m taking Kyle Pitts. To me, he’s the X factor. You’ve got to find a way to exploit the mismatch that he is and that he creates on the field.
Andrew: All right. Well, if you’re going to take mine, I’m taking yours. Give me the big man on the defensive line, Mr. Jonathan Greenard.
Nick: Oh. I think, hopefully, for Jon’s sake I really hope he …
Andrew: For football’s sake. I want to see a good football game.
Nick: Yeah. Let everyone be healthy, everyone on both sides be healthy, and get the best game possible. I think this game means so much to him. Just talking to him this week and being from Georgia and watching this game growing up, it means so much to him. Hopefully, there’s not reaggravation while warming up, and he can play. I think if he does play, than he makes an impact, for sure.
Andrew: Something we hadn’t talked about, Nick, but this means a lot for these upperclassmen. They’ve been through a hell of a lot.
Nick: I asked Nick Buchanan about that, and he’s a redshirt senior, so he’s 2-2. He said, really in my time here, in five years at Florida, he goes, the only constant in five years for me has been Georgia. It’s 3:30, CBS in Jacksonville, in the Jaguar Stadium. He goes, that’s the only thing has been constant in my career at Florida.
Nick: That really stuck to me, because I’m thinking, yeah. Sure was. I mean, he was probably recruited by Muschamp to begin with.
Nick: Then commits and signs with McElwain. McElwain quits the Georgia week three years ago, or two year ago. He’s been through a ton.
Andrew: Yeah. He has. Who’s your second pick?
Nick: My second pick. I’m just going on a whim. Another kid, we just talked about seniors. I’m going to go Lamical Perine. I think this game is probably one that when he comes back, you remember talking to Martez Ivey and Cece Jefferson when they came back for their senior years. We made that decision sitting on the sideline against Georgia and looking up at the scoreboard and that lopsided game. We made the decision to come back. I think that’s a game that when Lamical makes the decision to come back, he circles and says, this is one that I have to make an impact in. I think he’s a big time player. Big time players make big time plays in big time games.
Andrew: It’s personal for Lamical Perine to get back to Atlanta. It’s personal.
Andrew: It’s personal for him. I speak that knowing that. Knowing that. It’s personal. When he came back, it’s personal to get to Atlanta. It’s personal for him to win, and it’s personal for him to shine in these big moments. Guys like himself, like you said, big time players, when the lights come on at 3:30, he’s ready to go. My third pick, Nick, is going to be a guy who has been a staple on this team all year. Has been a staple in this offense his entire career, and I think he just finds a way to be a very good player again on Saturday. That’s Josh Hammond. When Gators need a play, find Josh Hammond.
Nick: Shoot. I was going to just go, I’ll take Freddie Swain, but I need to pick a defensive player, I feel like. So, I’m going to go with David Reese. I know I talked about Amari Burney and the need, or the impact I think he needs to have in this game.
Nick: But it’s still Florida-Georgia. I know Florida’s not the same kind of running attack, but I feel like Florida-Georgia is always a kind of gritty, hardnosed, just an old-school slobber knocker kind of game. So, I think this is a game that David Reese excels in, and I think he’ll have a big day. Listen, Georgia runs the ball really well. David Reese has to play well if Florida’s going to be able to stop the run.
Andrew: All I want to see, Nick, is somebody come out the gate and pull a Brandon Spikes and just absolutely tear the head off somebody.
Nick: That’s a tone setter.
Andrew: Yeah. That’s what I want to see. Any final thoughts, Nick, before we get out of here?
Nick: No. I think it’s going to be a fun weekend. If you’re in town Friday night, shoot, I should have looked it up. I think admission is free for the baseball game. That’s a beautiful park. If you’ve never been in the baseball grounds at Jacksonville, it’s beautiful. If you’re there, let me know. I’ll be hanging out watching some Florida-Georgia baseball, and then just get right into it Saturday. This game means everything. It’s crazy. I didn’t know if we’d be talking about them as a legitimate playoff contender. If you’d have asked me before the season, I don’t know if I would have said that. If Florida wins this game, the rest of the schedule is Vanderbilt, Missouri, Florida State. You win those three, you’re in Atlanta, and if you win the SEC Championship, a one loss Florida is going to a playoff. There’s a lot on the line this week.
Andrew: Yup. Exactly. Nick, tell everybody where they can find us. We’ll get out of here. We’ll see everyone on Monday, as we talk about a Gator win.
Nick: www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. You can find the podcast wherever you listen to podcasts. Just search for Gator Country. Subscribe. Never miss an episode. Do your social media thing. @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter. @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. I’m @NickdelaTorreGC, and he’s @AndrewSpiveyGC.
Andrew: There you go. Guys, we appreciate it. We’ll see everyone on Monday. As always, go Braves and chomp, chomp.
Nick: You stay classy, Gator Country.