The SEC is rotten with good teams this season and as more and more join the one loss category, the only way to truly stand out from the pack is to keep a big ol’ zero in the L column. That is what the Florida Gators and LSU Tigers will aim to do when they clash in another huge conference game in Baton Rouge (7:00 PM Eastern).
The Gators roll into town a surprise 6-0, especially after knocking off a no. 3 Ole Miss team on Oct. 3 in convincing fashion, 38-10 at home. Redshirt freshman quarterback Will Grier has been nothing short of spectacular this season throwing for 1,204 yards and ten TDs against just three interceptions. The stability he’s provided under center has made Jim McElwain’s cleanup job (of the mess left by Will Muschamp) move much quicker than anyone could have anticipated. [UPDATE: So much for stability, Grier has been suspended for PED use.]
While the offense has improved, the defense has continued its stout play of season’s past. Ranked 15th in the nation against the run, the Gators have been able to shut down some decent running backs so far. But LSU’s Leonard Fournette isn’t just decent; he’s the best. The Heisman Trophy candidate leads the nation in rushing despite playing one fewer game than everyone else.
Asking this Gators D to stop Fournette is like asking Brent Musburger not to be creepy; it’s within the realm of possibility, but it’s not something you should expect. That said, if they can limit Fournette’s damage to a small earthquake, they’ll stand a good chance to pull this game out.
LSU quarterback Brandon Harris has been the ultimate game manager this year, averaging just over 100 yards passing per game and tossing just four TDs. To Harris’ credit, he hasn’t turned the ball over. But still, the aim should be for Jon Bulliard and this Florida d-line to force Harris to make plays with his arm and not his legs. Accomplishing that goal will put them well on their way to another big conference win.
Florida has all the pieces to execute a winning game plan, but LSU has dominated the recent head-to-head – winning four of the last five. In fact, the Gators have only won once in Baton Rouge since Les Miles arrived.
So while the Tigers are just 1-3 against the spread on the year, it’s too hard to go against Miles and the Tigers at home. Roll with Fournette and the gang to put the upstart Gators in their place.
Pick: LSU -7.
(Photo Credit: photo-gator (Originally posted to Flickr)[https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/].)