Image Credit: Michael nash
The end of a season many wish they could forget comes Saturday as the Florida Gators host the Florida State Seminoles in the 65th addition to their rivalry. With both teams at 5-6 seeking bowl eligibility while hoping to avoid losing seasons (UF’s first since 2017, FSU’s fourth in a row), there’s extra juice to a game that doesn’t. would not have much to do otherwise.
The Gators are losers four in a row and six of the last eight against the FBS competition. The Seminoles, meanwhile, have won five of their last tied games after starting the season 0-4. In other words, the state’s rivals are heading in completely different directions as they enter the regular season finale.
The unknown status of Redshirt junior quarterback Emory Jones, who has started 10 of 11 games this season but suffered an ankle injury in training this week, adds to Florida’s complexity. Jones first had to miss the game before he was allowed to dress. Despite this – and reports that red-shirted freshman QB Anthony Richardson would be making his second career debut after himself facing a series of random injuries throughout the season – Jones was announced as a starter via the sound system before the game.
With Dan Mullen’s firing last week, special teams coordinator and running backs coach Greg Knox is taking over as interim UF coach. Although Knox is another beleaguered assistant for the Gators, he is highly regarded by players and experienced in an interim role, winning a bowl game with Mississippi State after Mullen left for Florida after the 2017 season.
With recruiting still in dire straits and plenty of questions surrounding the schedule – including who the Gators will hire as their next coach – Florida could certainly use a big win there to end the season on a high note, adding a dozen or so. ‘bowl practices on their schedule and set the stage for a possible turnaround this summer. It may seem unlikely to some, but anything can happen in a game of rivalry.
What will happen on Saturday when Florida hosts the state of Florida? Let’s find out.
Tale of the Band
|Florida Gators||Florida State Seminoles|
|The Head Coach||Greg Knox (interim)||Mike Norvell|
Injuries and absences
Likely (1): QB Emory Jones (ankle)
Questionable (4): LB Jeremiah Moon (undisclosed), DL Daquan Newkirk (undisclosed), OL Ethan White (ankle), Jadarrius Perkins (undisclosed)
Off season (3): LB Ventrell Miller (biceps ripped) CB Jaydon Hill (knee), DB Kamar Wilcoxson (knee)
Notable inactive (?): To be announced before kick-off
Dated: Saturday November 27 | Time: 12 p.m. ET
Site: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, Florida [88,548]
TV: ESPN (Mark Jones, Robert Griffin III, Quint Kessenich)
Direct: WatchESPN | SiriusXM: 158/194 | Radio: WRUF, TuneIn
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter
Florida is 36-26-2 over Florida State with a 21-12-1 record at The Swamp. The Gators have won back-to-back games averaging 25 points.
UF and FSU did not play last season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing the SEC to a conference-only schedule. It was the first time that the rivals did not face each other on the grill since his debut in 1958. Thus, consecutive games are played at the same location (Gainesville) for the first time since the first six games of the series (1958 -63).
Since the start of the 2018 season, Florida are 24-6 when they score first, 27-3 when leading at halftime, 30-3 when leading after the third quarter, 23-1 when she allows 20 points or less and 26-2 when she gets ahead of her opponents. The negative ratings in those last two stats have come this season to Kentucky (both) and Alabama, respectively.
UF is 7-12 when overtaken by an opponent and 6-8 in games decided by 10 points or less since 2018.
Florida is 6-10 against ranked opponents (2-4 against top five teams, 4-7 against top 10 teams) and 26-7 against unranked teams since 2018. It’s also a record. 13-1 record against non-conference opponents.
The Gators have scored over 24 points in 33 of their last 40 games. However, they haven’t scored 24 points against an FBS opponent since October 16.
Florida is one of two FBS teams at the national level (Alabama) that have yet to lose to an opponent who finished the season with a record loss since 2004.
UF has scored in 421 straight games, an NCAA record.
Prediction and analysis
Disseminate: Florida -2 | WHERE : 59
There’s no reason to believe the Gators are going to win this game. Not only is the team on a massive downtrend, but they’ve lost their head coach, defensive coordinator and a veteran assistant to layoffs before kick-off. On top of that, Richardson appears to be starting his second career game despite not playing much this season. The Seminoles, meanwhile, have been on a tremendous comeback lately with wins in five of their last seven games.
And yet, in a season of utter unpredictability, given that I’m literally forced to make predictions in this space, there’s just something inside that tells me Florida is going to win this game. It may be a long story of college football teams rallying behind interim coaches. Perhaps it’s a belief that this senior class sees this as a last chance to end their college career on a high note. It could also just be the idea of a rivalry game in The Swamp that makes me lean towards the Gators. Florida is better than it looks, and Florida State has had some luck against a few weak opponents here. By gritting my teeth, I side with UF at this point and expect the total to drop below.
Records 2021: ATS chooses 3-8 | O / U select 4-6-1
” Uniforms: Florida will wear blue jerseys, blue pants and orange helmets. (This is my favorite uniform suit.)
” Seniors day: There will be 27 Gators honored before kickoff as Seniors Day is celebrated in the swamp. Among them are 18 scholarship players, many of whom have made significant contributions to Florida football during their four or five years with the program.
Look for the following names as they are honored Saturday on Florida Field: Brandon Becar, Lacedrick Brunson, Amari Burney, Zachary Carter, Jace Christmann, Coleman Crozier, Malik Davis, Trey Dean III, Jean Delance, Chase DeMichele, Kemore Gamble, Chris Howard, Dylan Meeks, Ventrell Miller, Jeremiah Moon, Patrick Moorer, Daquan Newkirk, Dameon Pierce, Jordan Pouncey, Stewart Reese, Isaac Ricks, Randy Russell, Nicolas Sutton, Tyrone Truesdell, Joshua Tse, Antonio Valentino, Rick Wells