Podcast: Previewing the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl for the Florida Gators

GatorCountry.com brings you a new podcast as we preview the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl for the Florida Gators on Saturday in Atlanta.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre breakdown the key match-ups in the game for the Gators and how they can attack Michigan on offense and defense.

Andrew and Nick also give you three players to watch in the game for the Gators, plus we predict the game against Michigan.


Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, past the holidays. Getting ready now for some Chick-Fil-A Bowl game action up in Hotlanta. First of all, hope everyone had a Merry Christmas or a happy holiday, whichever you celebrate. Get ready for some football. It’s going to be a busy time, Nick. Atlanta, then the you have the Under Armour game going on in Orlando the following week, and then you have the All-American bowl game, that used to be the Army game, out in San Antonio. Busy couple weeks for football.

Nick:                         Like you said, whether you’re celebrating Chanukah, Kwanza, Christmas, hope your holiday was good and you spent it with family. This is a great time of year. No matter what time of day it is, you turn on the tv, and there’s a football game on.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Nick:                         For the people that say there’s too many bowl games, I don’t disagree with you. That Surf Pro Bowl, whatever it was called, getting canceled probably proves that some of these bowl games aren’t that important, but I’m a red-blooded American, and damn it, if football is on tv, I’m going to watch it.

Andrew:                 The Cheez-It Bowl was pretty bad now.

Nick:                         My goodness. Nine interceptions.

Andrew:                 Then you had the canceled bowl game, so that was cool. That bowl game lost some money.

Nick:                         Yeah. I can’t remember which school, but I read something today that one of the schools is set to lose like $10,000, something around there, just from not being able to pay it, or having to refund tickets and stuff like that.

Andrew:                 Right. That’s the business. We always talk about it and say the bowl games are great and all, but a lot of teams lose some serious money in these games, because if you don’t sell your bowl allotment of tickets and all that good stuff.

Anyway, Nick, the Gators arrived in Atlanta on the 24th.

Nick:                         23rd.

Andrew:                 23rd. Excuse me. So, they’ve been there for a little bit. Getting ready. First of all, is Michigan going to have enough guys to play?

Nick:                         Yeah. There’s going to be some new guys getting a chance.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I think the number is four, four starters now out of the game. Luckily, I think Florida, we’re taping this here on Thursday, Florida should have everyone ready to go to play that has played. The normal guys like Malik Davis and Marco Wilson, and I want you to touch on that in a second, Nick, won’t play in the game, but the starters for the FSU game should be ready to go in the game. I think this is a game that becomes even more important for Florida. You lose all those guys from Michigan, starts to become important. Again, you and I have talked about this, is a bowl game that important? No, but for Florida I think it’s a chance to get off that hump of having that losing streak to Michigan, especially get over that hump after the embarrassing loss last year.

Nick:                         I think, whether it is true or not, and I think everyone listening to this will probably nod their head as I’m saying it, and you might do the same, it seems like in a lot of bowl games there’s one team that loves it and is so happy to be there, and there’s a team that is kind of just going through the motions. It’s a vacation, but our season is over. Let’s get this over with, and let’s start building towards next season.

Andrew:                 A lot of times, and this is not a motto that you’re happy about for Florida or praising yourself for Florida, but Florida’s opportunity to go to a National Championship all kind of died in Jacksonville, or did die in Jacksonville.

Nick:                         Months ago. Two months ago.

Andrew:                 Michigan’s just died.

Nick:                         Michigan was four quarters away from playing for a National Championship, from being in the playoffs.

Andrew:                 Right. So, I think a little bit can be said about that. You and I have talked about this, when Florida played Michigan in Orlando a few years ago. Not that Florida was that close to playing for a National Championship or college football or anything else, but they had all of their stuff ahead of them. They lose to Florida State, get embarrassed. That was an awful game for them, and then they go, and they get just destroyed by Alabama in the SEC Championship game. They were kind of walking in kind of being glad and hoping that the season would end. I think that’s kind of where Michigan is.

Now, I think Jim Harbaugh will have his team ready to go, but I think that in this game Florida is the team that is probably more mentally ready than Michigan is.

Nick:                         That’s what I was getting at. Is Michigan still deflated? I mean, even the Michigan writers, and we here, the Florida writers, we’re thinking like we’ve been talking to Florida for three weeks now, and we’re running out of questions to ask them, because it’s been one opponent for three weeks. You can only ask the same thing in so many different ways. Michigan writers are still asking the players and the coaches, are you guys over that loss to Ohio State? How do you get over it?

Andrew:                 Right. Yeah.

Nick:                         In baseball you like to say, there’s always a game tomorrow. When you lose a game, especially when you lose to a rival, you want to get out and play again. Now they’ve had to sit with that loss for three weeks. Are they a team that was so locked in and ready to play for a playoff that we don’t care about the Peach Bowl, whatever? Doesn’t matter.

Florida really, you said it, that loss to Georgia, and then you lose the very next week to Missouri, and now you’re not playing for an SEC Championship. Your whole goal turns into let’s get to a New Year’s Six bowl. I think it’s two teams going different ways. Michigan is probably not that excited to be here, given the opportunity they had a month ago and what they could have done. Whereas Florida, for the last two months has been building and hoping to get to this game and to play in this game.

Andrew:                 Let’s take it a step further here a little bit.

Nick:                         Not to mention that Michigan’s got four starters not playing in the game.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Let’s take it a step further, Nick. This is a team that didn’t get to experience this last year. At this time last year, they were getting ready to meet Savage for the first time and get their bell woken. They were a team that didn’t even get to play in a bowl game last year. You and I talk about this. We don’t get to play, and we don’t get all the perks they do, but you and I are happy to be still talking about football, instead of having to dig around looking for topics to talk about. I think that little bit of taking it for granted also isn’t there either in these guys, especially some of these guys like Cece and Martez, who are guys who are seniors, and this is it for them. They’re very happy to be playing in a bowl game, instead of having their careers at Florida done.

Nick:                         Especially to be in this bowl game. I was talking with somebody earlier, and it was like, this is my sixth season. Two of them were four-win seasons with no bowl game. One was the Birmingham Bowl. No disrespect to your home state, but …

Andrew:                 That’s awful.

Nick:                         They might need to move that or do something with that. Then the BWW, the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl was fine. The Outback Bowl was fine. Those are Orlando and Tampa, huge Gator areas. This is different. This is a whole different treatment. It’s a New Year’s Six bowl. This is a different thing. Florida’s very excited. All the players are very excited to be here, especially guys like Cece and Martez that came back, and even guys like Chauncey. This is his last game, his last game in orange and blue. There’s going to be other guys that this is their last game.

Andrew:                 Right. I think that’s the biggest thing, when you look at it. Again, Michigan very well may come out and play well. I think, for me, and I know some fans will say, I hope they come out asleep, but I do want to see a good football game. I hope they do come out well.

To start kind of looking at this game a little bit, Nick, here and getting into the matchups here. Again, we’ve said this for, what, this is Week 13 here, again I think a big key for Florida this week is getting pass rush. Can they make Shea Patterson move around a little bit, get uncomfortable in the backfield? They’re without their top running back in Higdon, so that will be a big thing for Michigan as well. They’re going to have to throw the ball a little bit more. Can Florida get some pass rush on those guys?

Nick:                         Obviously, Karan Higdon is the one that’s probably getting overlooked a little bit, because Devin Bush is such a name. Rashan Gary is such a name. Karan Higdon had 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns. When I talked to a couple of the Michigan reporters that are here, obviously Donovan Peoples-Jones, Florida fans know him from recruitment. He’s the big flashy name, and he’s returning kicks and punts and catching passes. They’ll hand the ball off to him and just get the ball into his hands. He’s a big flashy name, but Karan Higdon is the workhorse. That’s the guy that you would give the ball 20, 25 times to. That’s the guy that you ran your offense through. So, not having him is a huge thing for the Michigan offense to kind of have to overcome. He’s a big-time player.

Andrew:                 Right. That’s a thing where I think you have to go into this game and really look at and try to get some pressure. Michigan has only allowed 18 sacks, which that’s a decent little number there.

Nick:                         Without starting right tackle now. Your right tackle, that’s the guy that Jachai Polite is lining up over.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Again, we talked about it. I always go back to this, and maybe I shouldn’t, but Jachai Polite is playing for money here. This is a money game right here.

Nick:                         Big money. I wouldn’t mind just a portion of that contract.

Andrew:                 For real.

Nick:                         Just a little bit.

Andrew:                 He could just give me the signing bonus, and we’d be alright. I mean, still, he’s playing for it. You know that this is going to be a game, this is a New Year’s Six game here, and a game that scouts are going to be watching. There will be plenty of scouts in attendance on Saturday and looking at it. It’ll be a game where I think you’ll look at him and think he’ll have a big game.

Again, you look at what Michigan’s been able to do. 4.96 yards on the ground per attempt. That’s a pretty good rush per carry. How do they replace Higdon? Are they able to really go without him? If they do, then they’re going to have to go with that passing game, and I think that’s again where Jachai Polite, Cece, Jabari, those guys can just have a field day. Again, you give Grantham this much time, you got to think Grantham is going to have something up his sleeve as well.

Nick:                         Yeah. That’s what I’m really interested to see. I think the world of Shea Patterson. I think he’s a great quarterback. Listen, this is a very good Michigan team. They’re out four starters. This is a very good Michigan team. Don Brown, I think he’s one of the best defensive minds in football, so I think this could be a low scoring game where you’ve got two great defensive minds really throwing some wrenches into some offenses that Michigan will be without players, two starters, and one where I had a Michigan reporters ask me, what kind of Feleipe Franks are we going to see? I said, you could see three different ones in the first quarter alone. I have no idea.

Andrew:                 That’ll be a key as well. When you look at this Michigan defense, they get to the passer. They ain’t messing around. On the year, 31 sacks. It’s coming from a lot of different guys. Again, you’re without Rashan Gary, so that helps a ton. But you still got Josh Uche, seven sacks on the year. They’re without Bush and his five sacks, but they still got plenty of other guys that are very capable.

Nick:                         Chase Winovich, he’s battling through a back injury.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         He got that in Indiana, and then aggravated it again against Ohio State. He told us today he’s going to need surgery. He’s going to go play in the Senior Bowl. He’s waiting, putting that surgery off until after this game, after the Senior Bowl and after the Combine and all that stuff. Tough kid, but he’s a guy that just doesn’t stop. It doesn’t matter. Florida could be up 65-0 in the fourth quarter, and Chase Winovich is not going to stop. That’s someone, #15 is a guy you’ll be seeing a bunch of, and something Florida, I guarantee John Hevesy has drilled in #15 to his offensive line.

Andrew:                 Is it selfish that I’m looking forward to seeing him in the Senior Bowl and wanting him not to have surgery?

Nick:                         Yeah. Well, he said today he’s going to wait and do everything. Maybe he won’t play in the game, per se, but the Senior Bowl is so important, to be there and to do the interviews and stuff like that.

Andrew:                 Right. When you look at this Michigan team overall, they take care of the ball for a good portion. They’ve only got eight turnovers on the year, which is pretty good. Shea Patterson has done really well. Let me pull that back up real quick here. 21 touchdowns just to five picks. That’s a very, very good ratio as well. Again, I think it’s a situation where if you’re going to go back into this game and look at some keys, it’s getting pressure on Shea Patterson and on this Michigan offense.

Nick:                         A lot of that was also they’re such an effective running team. This is a team you’ll see, you don’t see a ton of it, but they’ll play with a fullback. They play a lot of two tight ends. To me, that’s where I think Florida will be at a disadvantage, because then you’re talking about Vosean Joseph, David Reese in coverage against two tight ends. Michigan will go out there, and they’ll put nine guys on the line of scrimmage.

Andrew:                 Right. Yeah.

Nick:                         And have a quarterback and a running back. Letting you know, we’re going to run the ball, so try to stop it.

Andrew:                 Try to stop it. Do what you can here. Kind of looking back here at this Ohio State game as well, Nick. Ohio State just had a really good day running the ball. 171 yards on the ground, averaged 4.8 yards per carry in the game. I think that will be a key as well for Florida is to go into this game. I don’t want to say it’s not as important. That’s probably the wrong wording to say, but without Gary, I think you can throw the ball a little bit more. You still need to rush the ball in this game, because like we said, they can get to the passer. Establishing a running game, keeping Michigan honest in this game, will be a big key.

Nick:                         I agree with you there 100%.

Andrew:                 For me, Nick, and you just talked about it here for a second. A second ago you said with Feleipe. I’ve went back and forth on this, and I’m going to ask you this, the reason I bring it up here. How important is it for Feleipe to have a great game and go into the off season on a positive note?

Nick:                         Well, I think we’ve talked about that. I just don’t know, because his confidence is unflappable.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         His confidence in himself is unflappable.

Andrew:                 That’s the reason I think …

Nick:                         I think it’s important from an outside standpoint.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Nick:                         Because I don’t think, if he has a bad game, listen, he’s getting roasted on social media until next season.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         Through next season, into next season.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         I think he can just not have to deal with that by having a good game and helping Florida to a win.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Nick:                         It at least gives you some peace of mind at least, right?

Andrew:                 Yeah. I guess that’s kind of where I lean to for the most part. Again, I’m with you here in that, and I’m not saying it’s a bad thing at all. I think it’s a great thing that he has confidence in himself. I mean, he’s the quarterback of your football team. You want that confidence. I don’t know, like you said, from a standpoint of himself how much he needs confidence wise, but I think it’s a situation for the team, for recruiting, for a lot of outside factors. It’s huge from a confidence to go in. I mean, listen, if he goes out and has a great game, how much easier does Dan Mullen’s press conferences become? He’s not answering every five seconds about what are you going to do with Feleipe. If he has a really good game, like it or not, and he leads you to 10 wins, people are going to be okay.

Nick:                         That’s another thing too. 10 wins is such a benchmark to me.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Nick:                         I don’t know why. Is 10 wins that much better than nine? It’s only one more game. For me, just that double-digit maybe. Is that what it is? Just it’s more pleasing to the eye?

Andrew:                 Yeah. I guess. I’m the same way as you are. Like it or not, I’m the same way. It’s like if you’re a 10-win team, I think you’re successful. Again, it’s like what did you accomplish? Well, you won 10 wins. You’re one of a handful of teams that do that. I’m the same way. I don’t know why that is, but I just feel like it’s important.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 I can tell you one thing. My math does tell me it’s better than four wins.

Nick:                         Sure is. I don’t think, if Florida were to lose this, I don’t think this is an unsuccessful season. I think you’ve already checked that first season success. I think you’ve already checked that off.

Andrew:                 I guess, yes and no for me.

Nick:                         I’m supposed to be the critical one here. What do you mean? I’m supposed to be the Debbie Downer, and I’m saying I think the season is already a success, no matter, regardless of what happens in the bowl game. This is a successful season.

Andrew:                 I think it’s a successful season, but I think you have a lot of what ifs, if you lose this game. You can say the what if of the Missouri game. You can say the what if of the Kentucky game, per se. Then you lose this bowl game. Listen, the first thing that’s going to happen when they lose this bowl game is Michigan didn’t have all these players, and they still lost. Also, it’s going to be one of those things where, guess what, Mullen still can’t beat Michigan, so it doesn’t matter who the coach is. They can’t beat Michigan.

So, I think it’s still a successful season. I think you just have some what ifs. Again, you have that bitter taste in your mouth for, what, six months, seven months now? Going out with a loss.

Nick:                         You won’t play a real game again until Labor Day against Miami.

Andrew:                 Yeah. One of my former coaches, he used to always say, only half the teams get to go out and say we’re ending the year with a win. The other half have to be losers for a whole year. Which side do you want to be on?

Nick:                         It’ll certainly make those early morning workouts with Nick Savage better.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Exactly. Again, it’s a thing too where it’s like, I get your point too, Nick. I say, if you win this game, are you really going out, you’re not putting a banner in the Swamp. Are you really on social media talking smack that you won the Chick-Fil-A Bowl? I mean, I don’t know if you are. I personally wouldn’t if I was them. I mean, again, it’s great and all, but is it that big of a deal? I guess, in a way, I’m kind of making your point. It’s great to win your bowl game. It’s great to end the year with a win. I think it’s more important that you beat Michigan, but at the same time, it’s not like you did anything different. What you did in the SEC in the regular season was pretty good.

Nick:                         Yeah. 100% agree with that too.

Andrew:                 Let me ask you this. Is there any players in particular that you think need to have big games, or you’re looking to have big games? We’re going to pick our players here in a little bit. For me, I think, and this kind of speaks for itself, but Chauncey needs to have a big game after declaring. I think some other guys maybe are going to be battling for playing time next year need to have big games. I think starting with that safety position.

Nick:                         Certainly. Shawn Davis, Jaewon Taylor. I want to see, I talked to Todd Grantham about who is going to replace Chauncey Gardner, and he mentioned Amari Burney. Burney’s been playing that star position, but he mentioned a bunch of other guys, CJ McWilliams. He said Trey Dean. Trey Dean can play in a bunch of different places. I want to see Amari Burney. He made a couple big plays against FSU, so I want to see. I think he’ll get more playing time.

Andrew:                 You know, his playing time has really went up towards the later part of the year. I think he’s a guy that, me personally, I’m pumped to see him play. I think he’s a guy that when you turn on that film and see that position, he’s a guy that I think can do wonders at the position. He’s a guy that’s athletic enough to play in coverage, but he’s physical enough to be in run support. He’s physical enough to come on those blitzes like Grantham likes them to do. Me personally, I’m pumped to see him. I think he fits that role perfectly.

I don’t know if I’m in favor of moving Trey Dean there. If I’m moving Dean anywhere, I’m wanting to see him at free.

Nick:                         Free safety. Yeah.

Andrew:                 Free or strong. See him back there, because I really like his physicality. Nick, I don’t have to tell you this, but I’ll say it. There is nothing more scary for a receiver than knowing a safety back there is ready to knock your head off.

Nick:                         Trey Dean is a dog. He is not afraid of contact.

Andrew:                 Yeah. He ain’t afraid to knock your head off. For me, seeing Burney is key and seeing those safeties. You need one of those guys, really two of those guys, to emerge, and someone step up and say, I’m going to be the leader of this group heading into the off season.

Nick:                         I just don’t know. I think the world of CJ Henderson and Marco Wilson. Marco Wilson is already ahead of schedule in returning from ACL surgery. He’s already jogging. Not cutting or anything like that yet, but just even jogging at the pace that he is he’s ahead of schedule. He’s someone who’s gone through it, so he knows how to listen to his body and to push himself, but not to the point where he’s going to reinjure himself. He’s going to be back. How do you keep one of those two guys off the field? You put them on either side of the field.

Andrew:                 You’re not.

Nick:                         Yeah. So now, that opens you up to we’re not getting the production we want at safety, let’s try Trey Dean there. Let’s try Amari Burney there. To me, it’s a good problem to have.

Andrew:                 It’s like you said, you got the situation where you can move him there, and you would be perfectly fine moving him there. You can move him to star, and you’d be perfectly fine moving him there. That’s another thing. If you do move him there, do you now think about maybe moving Burney back to one of those safety spots like he played in high school and seeing what he can do there? Because only so many guys can play. At the end of the day, you want your best to play. Why would you not want Burney and Dean on the field with Marco and CJ?

Nick:                         You get your best five on the field.

Andrew:                 Exactly. Again, you have a lot of room for error when you have those two freaks at corner.

Nick:                         Who would be, right now, who would your five be?

Andrew:                 Definitely Marco, CJ. Definitely Dean. I would have to say Burney is up there. Probably Brad Stewart, honestly.

Nick:                         That’s what I would probably say. Brad Stewart. Those are your five, and you get them on the field. No matter what positions they’re playing, those are your five, I think. Right now.

Andrew:                 I mean, again, I would love to see Shawn Davis healthy and able to go and be that guy we all thought he would be, but he just hasn’t. Then when you look at it, when he has been on the field, he hasn’t done a ton. Is that due to injury? I don’t know. Maybe. I would like to see him healthy, but right now, going off of what I know, I’m going with those guys.

Nick:                         Couldn’t say you’re wrong.

Andrew:                 I will say this too, Nick. I think you and I haven’t hit on this enough. With that defensive line, seeing guys like Zach Carter would be interesting. With Jabari possibly going and Jachai possibly going, you got some openings there as well. Me and you have said this both, if there’s one guy who’s benefited the most from having a redshirt year it was Zach Carter. To be able to see him play, I think could help ease some tension that’s in that room of where are we going to get our pass rush next year if those guys were to go to the NFL?

Nick:                         Drew Chatfield. He’s going through a redshirt right now. I don’t think we’ll see him in the game, because he’s been working scout team, but Drew Chatfield is a guy who I think will be coming on next year. Todd Grantham today told us that Antonneous Clayton was redshirting, and that Clayton was fine when they discussed that with him. He was fine with the redshirt. I know he’s a guy that we’ve put on transfer watch, but if Zuniga and Polite both leave, I think he’s a guy who might stick around. Listen, for the five-star billing, he’s got a lot to prove still. He’s another guy. There’s so many guys on the defensive line, and I don’t know if we’ll see him, but Zach Carter to me would be a big one that I want to see.

Adam Shuler. I think he’s been super impressive. He’s going to be coming back. There are a bunch of young guys. Malik Langham. He’s taking a redshirt this year, but that’s a guy I’ve been impressed with from the little bit I’ve seen.

Andrew:                 Right. Absolutely. There’s a lot of guys in this as well.

Nick, I wanted to move here real quick. We’ll do our players to watch and all that stuff here, but I wanted to give a quick breakdown of the Under Armour game. We won’t have a podcast before that starts. They arrive on Saturday, the same day Florida’s bowl game is. Practice doesn’t start till Sunday. We’ll be live down there on Sunday for that. You have the two signees, Nick, in Keon Zipperer and Hammond, the offensive lineman out of Lakeland. You have those two guys down there in the game, the signees. Then you have a couple big targets. You have Elam, Nathan Pickering. You have Akeem Dent and Travis Jay, both of the FSU commits. You have all those guys that are going to be in that Under Armour game, Nick.

For me personally, I’m really interested to see how Hammond does in this game against some of the top defensive linemen, when he goes up against Pickering and those guys. Hammond is a guy who has a lot of potential. Needs to cut some of that bad weight, but it’ll be interesting to see how he’ll really do in this game.

Nick:                         It’ll be, with those guys in the game, a nice little commercial for Florida’s recruiting efforts.

Andrew:                 Exactly. Little Lakeland duo there. Again, it’ll be interesting to see how those guys do in the game. See how Zipperer does in the game. Let’s also just call it like it is. Everyone is waiting to see Elam and really waiting to see how his recruitment goes. He’s an athlete. He’s a guy that could have a really big game.

Nick:                         Got to have Matt in your ear still a little up there too, huh?

Andrew:                 Yeah. You got to think Matt. He’s a big Urban guy. You got to think Matt’s going to be big for the Gators there down the stretch when it comes time to sign. Matt might be saying, I’m going to leave you alone and let you do your thing right now, but when it’s time to make that decision I’ll be down there to talk to you.

Nick:                         Yeah. It’ll be a fun game, and you’ll be there. David Bowie will have all the pictures from there too.

Andrew:                 Yeah. It’ll be interesting to see how those guys perform. See how Keon does in the game. Again, pumped to see that. Out at the All-American game out in San Antonio, you have Chris Steele, who will announce on that. That is a week from Saturday on NBC. That game will be there. Then you have the three linebacker commits/signees. Diwun Black is a commit. You have Mohamoud Diabate and Tyron Hopper. All three of those will be representing Florida. Then you have Steele out there. You have defensive lineman Byron Young out there. A couple other targets, but Young and Steele are kind of your two main targets out there, with those linebackers.

It’ll be interesting to see how Black does. After having the whole year off, how does he bounce back? Does he kind of get those recruiting rankings that he had heading into the year, does he get those back?

Nick:                         I bet he’s ready to hit something.

Andrew:                 Hate to be the first guy that he …

Nick:                         Unleash on somebody.

Andrew:                 Put a little wood on him and make him pay for all that. Be interesting to see that.

Nick, let’s pick some players here.

Nick:                         Okay.

Andrew:                 You want to pick first, or you want me to pick first?

Nick:                         I will let you pick first.

Andrew:                 You going to be in the Christmas spirit.

Nick:                         Yeah. Old Saint Nick over here.

Andrew:                 Old Saint Nick. I’m going to go with 22. I’m going to go with the ground game here.

Nick:                         LP.

Andrew:                 LP. Going to go with the ground game one more time. This is a chance for LP. We’ll see. I still stand by my statement that he’ll come back for his senior year, but a chance for him to kind of make his mark on the national stage. Had a great year. Some of these scouts are talking about he’s an underrated guy in the NFL. You and I would both agree with that, but people are finally seeing that. I think that this is a game for him to come out and showcase.

Nick:                         Okay. Do I go ahead and jinx Feleipe and go ahead and pick him?

Andrew:                 Don’t do that, man. You and I don’t want to watch bad football.

Nick:                         It never, ever works out for me.

Andrew:                 Just don’t do that, man.

Nick:                         I’m going to go with the other, no. I’m going to go with Josh Hammond. He’s going to get a touchdown, and I think he’ll lead the team in receptions.

Andrew:                 Some hot sauce.

Nick:                         Hot Sauce Hammond.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Nick:                         If you’re listening, Daniel Thompson, I gave him that nickname, not you. Your facts are fake news.

Andrew:                 My man, Nick, did give the nickname Hot Sauce.

Nick:                         Boom.

Andrew:                 I’m going to go back to the defensive line. Last time there was a defensive lineman that had a lot of moolah on the line he had a big one out in Birmingham. I’m going to Retire Mom one more time in the Gator jersey. I do think he goes to the League. I know he hasn’t announced anything. I think he’s still deciding, but I think he goes. One more time, Retire Moms.

Nick:                         Jerk. I’m going to go with …

Andrew:                 Why don’t you go Retire Dads?

Nick:                         Who’s Retire Dads?

Andrew:                 I don’t know. Somebody needs to make that.

Nick:                         My next one is, I’m going to go the other way and take Jordan Scarlett. I think it’ll be his last game in orange and blue. That will be my prediction, and I think he shows up for it.

Andrew:                 Okay. I am going to say that a tight end gets in the end zone. It’s going to be a tight end that doesn’t get talked about a lot. I’m going to Ghost Boy, Kyle Pitts.

Nick:                         I like your picks better than I like mine already.

Andrew:                 Kyle Pitts. I like that. I like going off the train a little bit here.

Nick:                         Okay. My last one is going to be David Reese. This is a big game for him. He is a Michigan boy, was committed to Michigan. Honestly, if Michigan had had room for him to early enroll, he’d probably be on the other sideline right now. But they didn’t. He doesn’t harbor any ill will against them, but when you’re born in Michigan, and you go to a school like Florida, you circle this. You circle this game.

Andrew:                 He was embarrassed the last time. Let’s just call it like it is. Florida was embarrassed.

Nick:                         Florida was embarrassed, and this is also his first bowl game, because he was injured for the Outback Bowl, wasn’t able to play. Then Florida didn’t go to one last year. So, this is his first bowl game against a team he grew up watching, and a team he was once committed to. I think he’s going to have a big game, and I think Michigan is going to need to try to run the ball, so he’s going to have to step up in that run game.

Andrew:                 Give me an X-factor.

Nick:                         X-factor for me is going to be Kadarius Toney. I think you get into a position where you’re starting to figure out more ways, and we’ve seen that. Starting to figure out more ways to get the ball into his hands. When it comes down to it, getting the ball in his hands, when you’re on a stage like this, and you’re trying to recruit more athletes like him. We’re on a national stage. Everyone is going to be watching this game at noon on the 29th. Let’s show all the guys we want to replace him coming up in recruiting just how we can feature them in our offense. I think they go to Kadarius Toney early and often and in creative ways.

Andrew:                 Okay. I like that. I can deal with that. I’m going to go with a local boy. Trey Dean.

Nick:                         Okay.

Andrew:                 Trey Dean. I think this is a game, just like you said, it’s a big game for David Reese. When you talk about Trey Dean, in Year 1 getting to play in his backyard of Atlanta. I think he had a big day.

Nick:                         I’m down with all of that.

Andrew:                 I think he does. Prediction time, Nick. Who you got?

Nick:                         I’m going to go with Florida. I think it’ll be the first time Florida has ever beaten Michigan. I think Florida will handle business. Even with Michigan being out four starters, the line has held at six, with Florida being a six-point dog.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         I’ve got Florida covering and winning outright.

Andrew:                 Why do you think that is?

Nick:                         Just I think the last two times they’ve played it’s just been so lopsided. Florida has looked so overmatched. Looking at it, throughout the season Vegas hasn’t loved Florida. Haven’t given them a lot of credit. Florida’s been a dog in most games, or if not a dog then less of a favorite then you would expect. I thought Florida would be like a seven-point, six, seven-point favorite at Florida State, and that line opened up at like three.

Andrew:                 I think so too. I think a lot of it has to do with the up and down play of Feleipe. I got Florida too. I think for the reasons we mentioned earlier. You go into this game, and Florida is a team that, I don’t want to say wants it more, but Florida is the team that probably is more mentally there. I’ve got Florida here, and I’ve got it 10 points.

Nick:                         Florida rout.

Andrew:                 I mean, yeah, if you want to call 10 a rout, but I got Florida by 10.

Nick:                         Okay. People like to hear that.

Andrew:                 I got Florida by 10. I’m pumped. I’m not going to lie. I’m pumped to see the Mercedes Benz. I’m jacked to see a game there. Finish the year strong, and then we’ll get to more recruiting, all that good jazz. Nick, tell everybody where they can find us. We’ll get out of here, and we’ll see everyone next week sometime. We’ll figure out a day to get podcasts with all the good jazz going on.

Nick:                         www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. Find the podcast wherever you choose to listen to podcasts. Just search @GatorCountry. Subscribe. Never miss an episode. Do your social media thing. @Gator Country on Facebook and Twitter. @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. You can find me @NickdelaTorreGC and him @AndrewSpiveyGC.

Andrew:                 Nick, I can’t get out of here without saying something real quick. Brady Singer, man. Bring the Kleenex’s, my man.

Nick:                         They were cutting onions in a dusty room.

Andrew:                 Yeah. If you haven’t seen Brady Singer’s gift to his mom, just go on Twitter and check out his Twitter account. Awesome to see. Brady Singer, a good guy, all that good stuff. Anyway, as Nick said, we appreciate it. We’ll see everyone next week. As always, chomp, chomp and go Braves.

Nick:                         Stay classy, Gator Country.

Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.