GatorCountry brings you our Friday prediction podcast for the Florida Gators season opener against Charleston Southern on Saturday night in the Swamp.
Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre break down Charleston Southern and what you need to look for when they’re on offense and on defense.
Andrew and Nick also give you three guys to watch for the Gators on Saturday, plus we predict several games around the country, plus the Gators game.
Andrew: What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, Friday prediction podcast. It’s back, my friend.
Nick: It’s back. The season’s back. Prediction podcast is back. It’s all ready. I’m ready. Dan’s talking about 12 opportunities, but we stopped talking about the weather. Prediction is back.
Andrew: You already see that Florida fans are mad.
Nick: First off, Florida fans, people, I tweeted yesterday, it rained all day. I wanted to go out and do some stuff, so it rained all day. I tweeted a picture of how bad the weather was. People are like already starting to bitch and complain about Saturday. I’m like, this isn’t Saturday. This is right now. It’s Wednesday. It’s the middle of the day Wednesday. Relax. I’m just complaining about the weather I have today. It has nothing to do with football. It has nothing to do with the season.
Andrew: People are already asking about a retractable roof. I saw you tweeting about it.
Nick: Oh my goodness. That stuff, talking about can you play a game in the indoor practice facility? What?
Andrew: I don’t know.
Nick: No, you can have a game in the indoor practice facility.
Andrew: First of all, the rain’s not going to be that bad. Second of all, no, you can’t. TV dictates everything. TV is not taking their production truck inside the indoor practice facility. Sorry.
Nick: There is literally no way ever a game would be played in the indoor practice facility.
Andrew: Yeah. Just not happening. I mean, maybe an intramural championship.
Nick: My goodness.
Andrew: Nick, let’s go, my friend. We got a lot to talk about. As always on our Friday prediction podcast, if you’re new to the show, which maybe a few of you are, hopefully so. If not, tell your friends and get us some new followers. We’ll do some over-under here. Two of them will be about the season in general. Two of them will be about this game. Like always, Nick and I will do our three players to watch in the game, and we’ll pick a few games, including predicting the Florida game. As the season goes on, the prediction of the Florida game is a lot more interesting, but yeah. There you go.
Nick, I thought we should start off by talking a little bit about Charleston Southern. We haven’t talked a lot about them, because they are Charleston Southern. You and I were talking about this before we came on the air. Run the triple option out of the shotgun. That’s something that is a little bit different. For me, Nick, I think if you’re playing this game you’re wanting it Game 1, for the simple reason that you’re able to prepare for it as the off season. You’re able to talk a little bit about it in the spring, that kind of stuff. There’s pros and cons to Florida being the first game. The pro is you get to do that. The con is guys are going to be a little bit more undisciplined in Game 1 than they are maybe in Game 12.
Nick: Right. When you talk about defending a triple option, it’s all about discipline. It’s all about …
Nick: Assignments. Stay in your lane. Stuff is going to open. Especially for defensive linemen and linebackers, this kind of offense is designed to trick you, to have your eye see something. Oh, I have an open lane, let me run in real quick. Now you’re out of position. It’s designed, especially when you take the intensity and the level of anticipation for the first game, it’s I want to go out and make that play. It’s my first opportunity. That excitement level, that adrenaline is going. So, you got to temper that, tamp that down a little bit.
Andrew: Yeah. Again, it can work for you or against you. An aggressive defense can be a good thing, and it can be a bad thing. An aggressive defense can very well shut this offense down, and then it also can allow this offense to explode. Go back to the Georgia Southern game. They didn’t complete a pass in the game, correct, Nick?
Nick: Say again?
Andrew: The Georgia Southern game, they didn’t complete a pass that year did they?
Nick: Georgia Southern versus Florida?
Andrew: Yeah. I don’t believe they ever completed a pass, did they?
Nick: I think no. I’m going to look that up.
Andrew: Anyway, what I was referencing there was everyone remembers how elite and aggressive that defense was, and you saw what happened in that game. If you’re Florida, you have to temper expectations a little bit in how quick you can get there. Again, it’s assignment football. If linebacker has quarterback, linebacker better take quarterback no matter what. That’s going to be a key in this game, especially with Grantham wanting this defense to be more aggressive as you go into it.
Florida’s defensive line versus their offensive line is going to be much better. I would say Florida should be able to dominate up front, but again, that is not allowing their offense to disguise and force you to maybe go into a hole that they want you to go into. It’s about playing disciplined football in this game.
Nick: 0 for 3. Georgia Southern was 0 for 3 passes.
Andrew: Okay. So, they didn’t complete a pass.
Nick: No. Did not complete a single pass. This is a little bit different when you’re running it out of the spread, when you’re basically running that triple option out of the shotgun. It’s a little different, but they’ve got guys coming back, returning London Johnson, their quarterback, and receiving Cameron Brown. He had 550 yards receiving. Ronnie Harris is back. He carried the ball 72 times, 405 yards last year.
Charleston Southern, it’s an FCS team, playing the Big South, and they’re looking for their first FBS win. They’ve never had one against an FBS opponent. They beat App State and Coastal Carolina during their transitional years, but all time they are 0-19 against FBS opponents. They played Florida. First game back in the Swamp for CSU since 2009. That was the Tim Tebow led Gators, and that one did not go well for the Bucks.
Andrew: Mississippi State played them last year.
Nick: Mississippi State did play them last year. Charleston Southern did not cross the 50.
Andrew: Ooh. Grantham knows heading into this game about it. Nick, player have talked all week. What has the defense said about this Charleston Southern offense, if anything? What has kind of been the mood of the defense?
Nick: I think they’re all ready to go. There was, I think, so much embarrassment for them last year. When you look at the way they finished last year, maybe not so much finished, but as I pull these numbers up, the defense starting really with Missouri, or was it the week before Missouri?
Nick: Georgia. Yeah. Georgia came out and had 21 unanswered quick. You gave up 42 points to Georgia, 45 to Missouri, 28 to South Carolina, and then 38 to Florida State. You look at that. Obviously, there’s the UAB win in there, but you’re giving up in three consecutive weeks. Georgia rushed for 292. Missouri rushed for 227. South Carolina rushed for 220. I think there was a lot of embarrassment. The defense really knows that’s not the standard. That’s not why they came to Florida, and I think they’re looking to get with that.
Andrew: That was kind of the overwhelming message, I think, talked about at SEC Media Days, and really throughout the off season, and that is getting back to that. Cece Jefferson and David Reese both talked about that they were embarrassed last year. That’s something that no matter who has been at Florida, defense has been good. I mean, you go back to Brandon Spikes and those years, and defense has been good really since then. Really before then as well. That’s something that I think it has to be a pride factor for this defense.
There’s way too many guys that are very good players on this team to do that. When you look at this defensive line, Nick, and you’ll agree with me when I say this, teams should not be running the ball at will like they did last year against a defensive with as good amount of players and depth wise on there. There shouldn’t be a reason for them to be tired, because at times you’re going to rotate 8-10 guys on the defensive line.
Nick: Yeah. I think you can get 12 on the defensive line, if you throw buck in there. For me, that’s a position of strength for them, as well as running back. I put probably defensive line right up there with the running backs.
But a big game for them. This is a team that’s going to run the ball a lot, and it’s going to be important to have that depth, because of that running. They’re going to want to go fast with some tempo. The biggest thing to me is last year a lot of those big runs and big plays were because of undisciplined play and setting the edge. Can you play with discipline this year? Because I think that was a major theme that we had to talk about every single week was undisciplined play on defense.
There’s going to be some big plays. When you’re playing aggressive, the way that Todd Grantham will call defense, you’re going to be playing aggressive, so there’s going to be plays that are given up. You got to bounce back. I need to see a short memory.
Andrew: Nick, that’s what you and I talked about a lot last year, especially at defensive end. I mean, it was flying up the field, not paying any attention to things. That’s something that just, it can’t happen. That’s something that I look for personally in this game especially, because of the triple option. Guys have got to be disciplined off that edge. Especially with Grantham playing as aggressive as he is going to play, you’re going to need your guys to play disciplined off the edge.
Again, I do think that was several things that played into that last year. Not to get into all that, but I think you would agree with me in that in order for Grantham’s defense to be as successful as it wants to be it’s a lot of the defensive ends keeping the pocket intact, where it forces the guys up in the pocket. You can’t allow the quarterback to escape, especially with a lot of man coverage that Grantham’s going to play. That’s going to allow big runs, if you allow the quarterback to get outside of the pocket.
Nick: Biggest key then for both of us would be defense, or on defense, would be keeping contain with the ends and just …
Andrew: That, and there’s two things for me. Keeping contain on the ends, and how well the linebackers are in coverage this year, and how much, I guess, they’re in coverage will be a key. I think you would agree with as well, and that is if Florida is as bad in coverage at linebacker as they were last year, it’s going to force Grantham to not be as aggressive and not play as much man coverage as he would like to or has in years past, because of that. I think that when you look at Grantham’s defense, a lot of it is predicated on playing man coverage. Again, that, to me, it’s not outweighing the defensive end playing containment, but it’s very close.
Nick: That’s my only question mark. I want to see some strong safety play too, especially when you’re looking at it’s going to be Donovan Stiner, and it’s going to be our boy, Jeawon Taylor. I kind of want to see that too. I want to see strong safety play, especially when you’re talking about coming up against the run. I asked Jeawon when we talked to him on Monday, are you healthy, or are you playing with that shoulder brace? He put his arms out wide. He’s not playing with it. Looking at the safeties at well. That will be something you probably won’t see it get tested this week, but we’ll get it tested next week against Kentucky. I’m talking about the linebackers in coverage.
Andrew: That’ll be the thing, because when you look at Kentucky, they’re going to spread you out. They’re going to play at times five wide or four wide with a back motioning out. They’re going to play that style of offense. Again, it’ll be interesting to see there.
For me, and this is changing course to go to offense, when you look at it, a team like Charleston Southern, this offense line should dominate Charleston Southern’s defensive line. I think that that will be a key. I mean, not simply for this game, because it should happen, but I think you’ll be able to tell a lot about how much the offensive line has improved simply by how well they do against this defensive line.
Nick, this is a thing, and I’m saying it Week 1, and I hope I don’t have to say it again. I want to see them come out with some energy on that offensive line. I want to see them come out banging some heads, getting a push. How many times last year did we say, I want to see what offensive line shows up. It shouldn’t be a question mark, but for Week 1, since we haven’t seen this, I want to see what it comes out like.
Nick: I think the intensity will be there. I’m more concerned about managing that, handling it.
Andrew: Yeah, but you know what I’m saying when I say I want to see an aggressive offensive line for a change? Not the old, okay, miss a block, put your head down, whatever. I just want to see Hevesy’s footprint put on this offensive line.
Andrew: Fair enough? You know what I’m saying? I think that’s a key is seeing what the aggressive offensive line, just like the aggressive style defense. We need to see an aggressive offensive line. Again, it’s all going to be predicated on the quarterback. If the quarterback can make some plays, that defense will get a little looser in the fact that they’ll now have to worry about a pass, instead of just run. If they start not being able to throw the ball, and it’s run after run after run, offensive line might have a little trouble.
Nick: Let’s move on to that big position then.
Andrew: Okay. Go ahead.
Nick: What are your expectations from the quarterback on Saturday?
Andrew: Nick, I was trying to be positive, my friend. I was. I was trying to positive.
Nick: I’m just trying to be real.
Andrew: I really don’t know, Nick. I know that’s not the answer anyone wants to hear, but I don’t know. I really don’t know what you’re going to get out of Feleipe Franks. I just am stuck in my belief that what we saw for 11 games last year is what he is. To be honest, when you talk to people, and, Nick, maybe I’m wrong, and I’m talking to the wrong people, but I haven’t heard anyone that said he’s that much better from last year.
Nick: I don’t see it.
Andrew: I mean, this is the way I go into this game looking. Listen, I’m not trying to make anyone mad, and I’m not trying to downtalk anyone or anyone else. I hope he goes out and throws for 500 yards and lights the world up, and it’s a totally different Feleipe Franks. I’m tired of watching bad quarterback play. Me personally, I think he’s going to make some mistakes, but because it’s Charleston Southern, they won’t really show up as bad. He’ll make a couple long plays. Fans will be excited. Yeah. I think Kyle Trask plays some in the game as well, but I think Feleipe makes the highlight reel look really good, but the plays that Dan Mullen wants to see, the checkdowns and the short routes, aren’t there.
Nick: I want to see the checkdown though.
Andrew: I do too. I’m just saying I don’t think he makes those plays. I don’t think he’s capable of making those plays.
Nick: I need to see that. It’s really tough to see that when they’re working on that stuff in practice. It’s designed to do that. I want to see that decision-making to make that checkdown.
Andrew: You’re talking about going through the reads, that being fourth or fifth read, or third read possibly. Okay. I need to check it down, because the man coming off the edge is unblocked. I’ve got to hit my hot read. That kind of stuff. That’s what you need to see in this game. Again, I hope so. I hope you see it. I’m not going to sit here and say I don’t want to see it. I want to see good quarterback play as much as anyone. I just, I need to see it. Here’s my statement for the game. Make me a believer.
Nick: I don’t think you’re going to get that either way, based on the opponent.
Andrew: Right. That’s what I’m saying, Nick. I don’t think that the mistakes will show up in this game. I think that you will see the big plays.
Nick: Right. That’s what I’m saying. I don’t think there’s a way that you could even, I don’t know what I could see from the quarterbacks against a Charleston Southern team that is not going to play good defense to make me a believer.
Andrew: Right. That’s what I’m saying.
Nick: If they play well, I take that with a grain of salt when I say, okay, you did play well. Good. You were supposed to play well this game.
Andrew: Right. That’s what I’m saying as well. I think that any mistake he has will be hidden, because of the fact that it is Charleston Southern. You can throw a ball underthrown. Chances are Van Jefferson or Trevon Grimes or any of those guys …
Nick: Should be able to go up over a smaller guy.
Andrew: Yeah, and get it. I’m not saying this to downgrade anyone or to talk bad about anyone. I think that’s just the common opponent, or the common denominator with the opponent. I’m just saying I think he’ll make the highlight plays, and everyone will come out saying how good he is, and that’s fine. Good. He needs the confidence. We’ll see, but he has to prove it to me. Sorry.
Nick: Got you. I’m there with you on that.
Andrew: Sorry. I mean, that’s just the way it is. You’re the quarterback. Sorry. Prove it to me.
Nick: I hear it.
Andrew: Here’s something else, Nick. This is kind of the last phase of the game we’ve got to talk about, special teams. I think this is an opportunity for Mullen to let his special teams go out there and get a punt or return a punt. Maybe against a lesser opponent say, Adarius or David Reese, whoever it may be, this is why you play special teams. CJ Henderson gets to block a punt or something like that. This is an opportunity to go out and show that special teams is huge in a game. For me, I’m also kind of looking forward to seeing special teams, because against your own team it’s a little bit tougher. Charleston Southern is a step up as far as your scout team goes, so let’s see you do it against those guys, build that confidence as you head into tougher opponents like Kentucky, Tennessee, and everyone else.
Nick: Right. Real quick, I did want to jump off this. How many quarterbacks do you think we’ll see play? Three? Two?
Andrew: I think three. I think, again, you’ll see Emory Jones have a role, a package in the game. I think that Kyle Trask, whether Mullen wants to say that it was because he wants to get them all in, or because he wants to say the game got out of hand, I think it’ll be all three.
Nick: We agree there too.
Andrew: Thoughts on special teams?
Nick: Special teams. I think it’s going to be you’re going to see the amount of work that they’ve put into it, and you’re going to see, kind of like when Urban Meyer was here, the priority on special teams. I would not be surprised to see, and not to make people crazy, but I think I would be more surprised to not see a blocked punt or a blocked kick in this first game.
Andrew: Or at least an attempt.
Nick: Yeah. At least an attempt. I mean, we haven’t even seen Florida go after kicks, go after punts, in the past. To me, I think I would be more surprised to see Florida not come out of this game with a blocked punt or a blocked kick.
Andrew: You definitely want to see returns do well. You may only have …
Nick: I think that’s where Adarius Lemons will shine on Saturday.
Andrew: Okay. Sounds good. Nick, we got plenty of over and under to talk about, and I know one that’s going to cause a stir. Actually, probably two. Fire off your first over-under on the season.
Nick: Over-under for the season. We set the total at 8.5 wins.
Andrew: Okay. Go ahead.
Nick: I’m going under. I got Florida at 8 wins.
Andrew: Who are your losses?
Nick: I’ve got four losses in there. I think, right off the bat, I think Georgia and Mississippi State. Those are two losses that I have. I have been pretty consistent on pick those as losses. I think there’s some coin flip games for me. I think Florida probably only comes out of Missouri and South Carolina, one of those two. I think one of those two will be a loss. Those are back to back weeks, coming after Georgia. Then I think at Tennessee, I think that’s a coin flip game, just because Jeremy Pruitt is going to throw the sink at Florida there. It’s the first road game, and where will the team be coming off of three games health wise?
Then I’ve gone back and forth. I think Florida State will end up being a win. I’m not sold on Florida State. Again, that’s at the end of the season. I think Florida, aside from running back and defensive line, I think there’s a bunch of positions that are coin flips. So, my four losses will be Mississippi State, Georgia, and then two more from those four games: Missouri, South Carolina, Florida State, and Tennessee.
Andrew: Okay. Got a lot to think about now. I’m saying over at 9 wins. I had right off the bat Mississippi State and Georgia, and then I had two coin flips for me between LSU and Florida State. I think they beat LSU and lose to Florida State. That’s where I’ve been leaning when people have asked me to put game by game. I’ve had them losing to Florida State, simply because it’s in Tallahassee, and simply because it’s a losing streak that they had. Until they break that losing streak, I’m one of those that says until it happens, you got to prove it. I have them at 9-3.
Nick: One thing I think that I go back to with that Florida State game is Urban Meyer, and it’s where I think Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain failed. It’s something Urban Meyer did really well, and it’s something Dan Mullen learned from him. It’s putting the emphasis on those rivalry games. They’re not other games. I understand if the week comes down, when it’s Tennessee week, I can understand Muschamp or McElwain wanting to say to the media publicly, it’s just another game. It’s our next opponent. I get that, but it’s not.
Andrew: It’s not another game.
Nick: You can’t make your team feel that.
Andrew: Just like Tennessee is not another game.
Nick: It’s not. Tennessee is not another game. Georgia is not just another game. Florida State is not just another game. People don’t agree with it, but I think LSU is not just another game. I think those are different, completely different games, and they should be treated differently. I think Dan Mullen is treating those games differently.
Andrew: Listen, after the hell LSU has put Florida through, it’s not. After the shit that Tennessee talked, and I’m going get on the rampage, because you got me started here, no. After the shit Florida State fans put you through, it’s not just another game. Dan, I have to tell you this, and that is Pruitt is up there licking his chops, whipping you in recruiting. Go up there. Do something. When you go up there to Florida State, Willy Taggert is up here talking shit about his winning streak and all this other. It’s not just another game. Georgia, Kirby Smart is doing whatever Kirby Smart’s doing. You go to Jacksonville, and you whip up on Georgia, guess what? It’s a statement, in recruiting. It’s a statement to the nation.
You go up to Florida State, you whip them, it’s a statement in the state. Guess what? Florida’s back now. Florida is back on the top. You go back, and you whip Tennessee again, it’s the same old Tennessee. That heartrate of that Tennessee locker room goes completely down. I’m with you, Nick, it’s not just another game. I don’t care what anyone tells you, in that locker room, it’s not just another game.
Nick: I loved the Will Muschamp, it’s great seeing all these fans leave sad and disappointed. I loved that. It’s a different game. He would never say it publicly, but I think he treated that game, that might have been like Spurrier hated … Who was Spurrier’s big team that he hated?
Andrew: Georgia. He hated Georgia.
Nick: Georgia. Georgia ruined one of his years when he was there. Hated Georgia. He and Phil Fulmer had a great rivalry.
Andrew: He wasn’t a Phil Fulmer fan either by no means.
Nick: Yeah. Spurrier got it, and I think Mullen gets it. I think Mullen won’t even give us that canned, which I’m okay with, give us that canned it’s just another game, it’s the next opponent. I don’t think he’ll give us that when it comes down to that week in September.
Andrew: Let me ask you this, Nick. What message do you send to your players if you tell them it’s just another game?
Nick: That it’s okay to lose. It’s just another game.
Andrew: It’s okay to lose. It’s not okay to lose to Tennessee. It’s not okay to lose to LSU. It’s not okay to get your ass kicked in Jacksonville by Georgia like it was last year. It’s not okay to have a six-year losing streak against Florida State. Those are okay. Guess what? Dan Mullen is defined by the Tennessee, Georgia, Florida State games. Period. End of discussion. At the end of the year, he’s defined by what he does against his three rivalries.
Nick: Preach it, Spivey.
Andrew: I’m just saying. When you talk to an Auburn fan, go speak to an Auburn fan, they don’t give a damn how many games they win. They have to beat Alabama. That’s it. That’s it. That’s what they care about, beating Alabama.
Nick: Auburn could go …
Andrew: 1-11. They beat Alabama, they’re fine.
Nick: On the other side, if they’re 11-0 and lose to Alabama, and they go to the SEC Championship and win that, they’re still pissed off about losing to Alabama. Yeah, we got an SEC Championship, but we didn’t beat Alabama this year. I’m going to have to hear about it.
Andrew: Vice versa, Bama fans want national championships.
Nick: Rivalries are what make college football great and what differentiate college football from the NFL. Sure, Browns fans and Ravens fans don’t like each other.
Andrew: Cowboys and Redskins.
Nick: It’s different. Cowboys-Redskins, Cowboys-Eagles. Sure. But it’s different.
Andrew: You have to win those games. It’s a situation where it’s in recruiting, it’s in everything. Win those games. I’m glad you brought that up, because that is something I want to see from Mullen. I want to see him say, I want to beat damn Jeremy Pruitt. I want to go beat Kirby Smart. I want him to stand at the podium and say it’s a big game. It’s a big game. It is what it is. It’s a big game.
Nick: Get back on it.
Andrew: Yeah. Go ahead. Do the next over-under.
Nick: Over-under, a quarterback, one of the three quarterbacks, will start eight games this year.
Andrew: I say over.
Nick: That’s 66% of the games.
Andrew: I say over. I think it’s pretty clear Franks is the guy, barring just an absolute disaster, and I don’t even know if that gets it. I’m going over. I went back and forth on this, just simply because I’m not sold on it.
Nick: I’m going to go under then, just to be different than you. I wouldn’t be surprised if Franks starts every game. Yeah. I’m going to go under.
Andrew: Okay. I just, and I know I’m sounding like a Debbie Downer, just Franks has to prove it to me. I saw enough last year to know that I wasn’t, he wasn’t a guy that I was sold on. That’s just what it is. Unless he’s made a major improvement, and maybe he has.
Nick: All right. Now we got a couple for the game. Over-under 200 rushing yards.
Andrew: Your turn to go first.
Nick: Over. I got over that. I’ll have over that in a couple games.
Andrew: Yeah. I’m over that as well. I mean, you’re going to see that in our predictions here coming up when we make our player predications. A couple players are going to do well in the game in my opinion, so I’m going over. Dan Mullen’s offense is successful when the running game is going well.
Nick: Yup. Over-under 320 passing yards.
Andrew: 100% under.
Nick: 100? Really? I was going to make it 350, and I thought, he might go under if I made it 350. What if I made it 300?
Nick: What if I dropped it to 180?
Andrew: Over. I would say 250.
Nick: All right. Let’s make it 249 passing yards.
Andrew: I’ll go over.
Nick: You’re going to go over?
Nick: I’m going under.
Andrew: I just, 250, that’s a couple long plays, and I just said that I think he, Franks makes a couple highlight plays. I’ll go over. I’ll say 250, so I’ll over by one yard.
Nick: Okay. I’m under.
Andrew: Okay. Yeah. Again, I don’t know how much you’re going to pass, because you’re going to run. 250, that’s okay.
Nick: All right. That’s all I got right now.
Andrew: Okay. Let’s move on here. Let’s take our games around the country. A lot of big games for a first weekend of the season. It all starts really on Thursday night with Texas A&M. We’re taping this on Thursday. Texas A&M and Jimbo Fisher era gets underway. Saturday, and then really Monday when you got LSU and Miami out in Dallas. Nick, you picked out some games for us to pick.
Nick: Let’s be clear. The season starts at 7:00pm, when the national champion UCF Knights travel to Yukon. Not when Texas A&M and Jimbo play Northwestern State.
Andrew: Okay. Whatever. I’m not going back to the UCF. I had this on my radio spot with my man, Mark Moses, the other day, Nick, and this is simply how it is. You can get the national championship appointed by the Northwestern Orlando State America Newspaper of the South Dakota Florida, whatever you want to call it. I don’t care. There’s one national champion. Whoever plays in that College Football Playoff in the National Champion. You, as well as I do, know that UCF would have got their ass kicked against Georgia and Alabama.
Nick: That’s why you play the game.
Andrew: Play in a big boy conference.
Nick: That’s why you play the games.
Andrew: Play in a big boy conference. There’s only one National Champion, and unfortunately that resides in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. UCF is not. Let me throw one at you, Nick. Over-under, Nick, UCF win eight games this year?
Nick: Yes. UCF will win eight games this year. Let me pull this schedule up real quick.
Andrew: They go undefeated?
Andrew: Okay. That’s it. You don’t have to pull up the schedule. I don’t need to hear about them playing the honky tonks of the South.
Nick: You look at eight wins. You got to beat Connecticut. Win. South Carolina State is a win. UNC will be a good game on September 15th. I think they beat FAU, beat Pittsburgh. SMU, East Carolina, Memphis, Temple, Navy. South Florida is at the end of the year. Cincinnati. Yeah. There’s eight wins there, for sure.
Andrew: Probably so. Who cares? All right, Nick, throw me some games out that we’re going to pick. Some big boy games.
Nick: My favorite one to pick. Your boys from Rocky Top versus my boy, Will Grier, at West Virginia. They’re playing that one in Charlotte. That’s pretty much a home game for Will Grier, growing up in North Carolina. West Virginia vs. Tennessee. That will be a 3:30 game on Saturday.
Andrew: First of all, it is a home game. Charlotte is home town, probably to this day. Why am I against Will Grier?
Nick: Your boys from Rocky Top.
Andrew: You know I’m a Grier fan too. I love watching him.
Nick: Your boys up there in Knoxville. Your favorite team in America. I’ll tell the people right now, I’ve caught you singing Rocky Top.
Andrew: Hell hasn’t frozen over, guys. You guys are still listening to the radio. The world hasn’t come to a conclusion yet. I’m going the Fighting Will Griers. Jeremy Pruitt’s roster sucks ass. That’s a bad roster, and Jeremy Pruitt, we’ll see what Jeremy Pruitt does as a coach. He’s a fine recruiter, don’t get me wrong. Jeremy Pruitt is not going to win this game. Will Grier goes crazy. Fighting Will Griers beat Rocky Top.
Nick: The Will Grier Heisman campaign starts Saturday.
Andrew: Listen, I want Will Grier to win the Heisman. Will Grier and his father, that whole family was nothing but great to you and I. I’m cool with Will Grier winning the Heisman.
Nick: Love it.
Andrew: Maybe they’ll invite us to New York.
Nick: We both got country roads taking West Virginia home to a win.
Andrew: There you go. What you got next?
Nick: Auburn-Washington, one of the only, I think it’s the only top 10 matchup of the opening weekend.
Andrew: I’ve gone back and forth on this, and I guess I’m going to end up going Auburn. No, I’m not. I’m going to go Washington. I’m not sold on Auburn’s defense now, losing Holland and the rest of those guys on defense. Washington, very good offensive team, but so is Auburn. I think Stidham is going to do good this year as well. As you heard, I’ve gone back and forth. I’ll go Washington, slightly.
Nick: Okay. I’m going to go Washington with that win too. I didn’t look up the betting line there. I should have.
Andrew: I haven’t looked it up either, honestly, but it was back and forth for me. Just simply because of location, location being key. That’s a long flight for Washington. Again, I think Washington’s offense is a little bit better than Auburn’s defense is going to be, so I’m sticking with Washington. That’s my pick.
Nick: Two 10-win teams from a year ago. Auburn was 5-6-3 against the spread last year, and they’re picked to win this game. They’re -2. That’s the spread consensus there.
Andrew: What time is that game?
Nick: 3:30 at Mercedes Benz Stadium.
Andrew: Yeah. It’s an Atlanta game.
Nick: I’m going to go Washington. I’ll go with you.
Andrew: Okay. It’s two point, and West Virginia is favored by 10 in their game.
Nick: Lay those points. Take West Virginia. Lay the points.
Andrew: Listen, West Virginia 50-0. I would love to see that.
Nick: Oh, God.
Andrew: I would love to see it. Remember Will Grier’s video game numbers, like 700 yards? Let’s do it.
Nick: Yeah. He broke his finger last year. He’s ready to go.
Andrew: Nick, roll it.
Nick: Big game at Notre Dame. The Fighting Jim Harbaughs.
Andrew: It’s the Fighting Jim McElwains.
Nick: The Fighting Jims, McElwain and Harbaugh.
Nick: At Notre Dame. Shay Patterson making his first start for Michigan, and that’s a big game.
Andrew: Man, I don’t know. This one is close too.
Nick: The spread has split. I think Notre Dame is now the favorite. I think Michigan in the off season was a 2.5 point favorite there on the road.
Andrew: Notre Dame wins.
Andrew: Notre Dame wins.
Nick: Any reason why?
Andrew: Harbaugh. Listen, a Florida team that was halfway decent last year would have rattled Michigan.
Nick: Well, they got crushed.
Andrew: Yeah. Michigan is not good. Shay Patterson is okay.
Nick: Shay Patterson’s a baller.
Andrew: Shay Patterson’s a baller. Irish win.
Nick: All right. This is a Sunday night game.
Andrew: Who’d you pick?
Nick: Oh, I’m going Michigan. Go blue.
Nick: Miami-LSU. Sunday night at Jerry’s World. Canes are talking a big talk. LSU got Ohio State’s trash at quarterback. Big game.
Andrew: 3.5 point favorite. Miami rolls. Miami rolls big.
Nick: Not an LSU believer this year.
Andrew: No. Well, I said it on my radio show that I do with Mark Moses and those guys on Monday. I said Ed Orgeron gets fired at the end of the year.
Nick: Buyer’s remorse quick.
Nick: Okay. I’m going to go same. Miami. Both of us are on Miami. We’ll go to the other state team here. VA Tech at Ron Zook Field on Monday night.
Andrew: I have Virginia Tech winning this game. Not a believer in Willy Taggert.
Nick: Really? VA Tech on the road.
Nick: I’m going to go VA Tech too.
Andrew: Okay. I’m good with Virginia Tech. I’m just not sure. Francois has got troubles.
Nick: Okay. We’ll go to our players now. I was able to pick first.
Andrew: Hold on one second.
Nick: We’ll pick Florida after.
Andrew: Hold on one second. Real quick. Alabama, +20 or less than 20?
Andrew: Okay. Go ahead to your players. You got first pick. Roll it.
Nick: I got Jordan Scarlett leading the team in rushing. He’s going to find paint.
Andrew: Yeah. As I said with my over-under on rushing, I would say 250 is probably their rushing total for the week. LP, Lamical Perine finds pay dirt as well.
Nick: I think Scarlett and LP both get 100 yards.
Andrew: I’m with you. 100 yards, both find the blue endzone paint for Dan Mullen.
Nick: I’ve got Van Jefferson. First touchdown as a Gator.
Andrew: Yeah. I’m with you there. I think he and my pick, Trevon Grimes, both get touchdowns in their first games as Gators, from Feleipe Franks or Kyle Trask or Emory Jones, whoever it may be, but I think both of them do find pay dirt as well.
Nick: Who gets the first touchdown of the game?
Andrew: Jordan Scarlett.
Nick: I’m going to go Lamical Perine.
Andrew: There you go.
Nick: I think LP comes down there, they get down to the one, inside the five, and LP gets that touchdown.
Andrew: I would say Scarlett does, but it could be. A running back gets it. I’ll say that.
Nick: A running back gets it. Last year we had a hard time picking offensive players. There’s defense every week. My first defensive player is going to be Jachai Polite. I think he has a season that propels him to the draft.
Andrew: I wanted to go one of the DBs, because I don’t think they’re going to be able to throw on those, but since they won’t throw much in the game I almost went Jabari, because I do think the ends are going to be key. I’m going to go Vosean. I would go Reese, but we’ll see if Reese even plays. They may sit him with the ankle injury, so I’m going to go Vosean.
Nick: You’re in mid-season form, because we pick these before we start, and you went Jabari.
Andrew: I told you I was going to switch to Vo Jo, Vosean Joseph. I think this a big year for Vosean. Learn to play within himself, play not too aggressive, but play aggressive. Kind of figure that out for him and play in himself. So, I’m going Vosean. I think Vosean has a good year this year, so Vosean was my pick for this.
Nick: Florida-Charleston Southern. There is no line for the game, so we can’t even talk about the line.
Andrew: Let’s just say points. How many points do you think Florida scores?
Nick: I’m going to go 45.
Andrew: 45. Do they pitch a shutout?
Nick: No. Charleston Southern will get on the board. It will be single digits for Charleston Southern. Actually, no. I’ll go ahead and call the shutout.
Andrew: I’m not going to call a shutout. I think they get a late touchdown, some scrap points late to get on the board. I’m going to say it’s in the single digits as well, and I’m going to say that Dan Mullen has seen the talk, and he wants to see if the five works on the scoreboard. He’s going to put up a 50 spot.
Nick: Half a hundred in his opener.
Andrew: Yeah. He’s going to set the bar high. Dan, if you’re listening to this, just let me tell you a little secret, my friend. If you put 50 up on the board, Florida fans are going to expect 50 every week. Temper your expectations. Just saying, Dan. Just saying. I know you listen to this. Just giving you some words of advice from Andrew Spivey. If you put 50 up, they’re going to expect 50 every week. I do want to see 50, so 50 is okay this week.
Nick: That would be an impressive opener right there. Half a hundred to start your career.
Andrew: Yeah. There you go. Nick, tell everybody where they can find us. We’ll get out. See everyone on Monday with recapping this big win for the Gators. Let’s see some excitement this weekend. If you don’t have a home yet, come check us out on Gator Country. We’ll have plenty of stuff. Recruiting. We’ll have football stuff. We’ll have our game chats and game thread, all that good stuff. Photo galleries. Tell us where they can find us, Nick.
Nick: www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. It appears like we’ve gotten the link up there as well, if you have an Android and you’re not in the iTunes store. If you are in the iTunes store, subscribe there. I don’t know if it’s Google Play. I haven’t had an Android phone since I was in like fifth grade. Nothing to see there for me. Subscribe. Find it. Do your thing. Do your social media thing. @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter. @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. I posted a little old Steve and Jerri Spurrier pic from when they were back students. Posted that up on Instagram today. Go check that out. @NickdelaTorreGC, @AndrewSpiveyGC.
Andrew: There you go. We appreciate it, guys. We really do. We’ll look forward to seeing you guys on Monday. Look forward to a great season with you guys. As always, chomp, chomp and go Braves.
Nick: You stay classy, Gator Country.