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It’s Christmas in August, Otherwise known as, the start of college football season and we have a doozy to kick-off this year’s slate. On Saturday evening, August 24th, the Miami-Florida Hurricanes of the ACC will duke it out with the SEC’s 8th ranked Florida Gators at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. This Sunshine State battle has a start time of 7:00 pm ET. These teams last met back in 2013 and Miami won that game at home by a score of 21-16.
Gators Look To Build Off Last Year’s Success
The Florida Gators were 4-7 back in 2017, but they rebounded with a strong 10-3 record last year, in what was Dan Mullens first year at the helm The Gators ended their year on a four-game winning to finish 7th in the AP poll. Their last two games included a 41-14 road win over Florida State and then a 41-15 win over the Michigan Wolverines in the Peach Bowl. This year, they have 13 starters back overall, including QB Feleipe Franks, who was not spectacular last year but still had 24 TDs to just six INTs. He was more of a game manager but could be asked to do more this year. The Gators averaged a solid 35.0 ppg a season ago and tye 41 points they scored on Michigan was the 2nd most that the Wolverines gave up in a game all year.
This year’s offense should be just as good as last year, if not better. Along with having Franks back, they return two of their top running backs, including top back, Lamical Perine, who had 826 yards rushing and seven TDs. The WR corps was not great last year, but this year it is very experience and rates as the 2nd best group in the SEC, while also being ranked 7th best in the nation. Those rankings are according to Phil Steele. The Gators have their top seven pass-catchers back from a season ago, including Van Jefferson, who led the team with 503 yards receiving and six TDs. Look for those numbers to improve. The Gators have also gotten stronger in the WR corps with recruit Arjei Henderson, who was the 9th best receiver in the nation in high school a year ago.
— #GoGators #BeatMiami (@FloridaGators) August 21, 2019
The offense will be stronger than last year and that could very well be what is needed to get the gators to the SEC title game and beyond. That is because their defense will be among the best in the nation. Florida has eight starters back from a unit that allowed just 20.0 ppg and 343 ypg a season ago. All three of their units on this side of the ball, ranking in the top seven in the Nation (Phil Steele) and they are led by a secondary that ranks as 5th best in the nation. This is a deep and talented group that has three of four starters back and they also added Kalir Elam, who was the 13th best DB to come out of high school last year. Their weak point is the LB, but they hope that is not the case after adding recruits Khris Bogle and Diwun Black, who were 13th and 16th respectively last year. They will improve on last year’s numbers on this side of the ball. Offense, defense, and the 11th rated special teams unit in the land. The Gators have it all and will be a threat to come out of the SEC as a representative in the playoffs. Still, the team they are facing today is no slouch. Can the Gators avoid the early season upset? You’ll just have to read on to find out.
Hurricanes Are Looking To Blow By The Gators
After finishing up their season at 7-6 last year, Mark Richt decided to retire. The Hurricanes were 19-7 in his first two years at the helm. Now Manny Diaz will take over to try and get the team back on track and it should not be a tough transition as he has been here for the last three years. The Hurricanes started last year at 5-1, but then finished it by going 2-5 over their last seven games. Miami’s season ended in a thud as they lost to Wisconsin by a 35-3 score in the Pinstripe Bowl. Diaz steps into a good situation as he knows the team and has six starters back on both sides of the ball. QB N’Kosi Perry is back after throwing for 1091 yards with 13 TDs and just six INTs a season ago, but he is expected to give way to Tate Martell, who is a sophomore and was the 3rd rated QB when he came out of high school a couple of years back. He was originally at Ohio State but transferred here after last year. Martell threw for 269 yards in six games for the Buckeyes a season ago.
The Canes did lose some offensive talent as 1000 yard RB Travis Homer is gone, but the cupboard is not bare as the still their next top three backs returning and the 3rd rated offensive line in the ACC to run behind. Miami ran for 191 ypg last year, but they may come up short of that number this year. The Passing game was not great as Miami was 113th in the nation in passing at 167.3 ypg, but that number should go way up, especially with Martell at QB He has their top two receivers back from last year and have added recruit Jeremiah Payton, who was rated as the 16th best WR in the last year. Miami has a very solid offense as a whole and they should easily eclipse the 28.8 ppg and 359 ypg that they put up last year, but it may not show in this game as they are facing one of the best defenses in the nation.
Dan Enos Press Conference https://t.co/cteXEMH3ds
— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) August 19, 2019
Like the Gators, the Hurricanes will still be led by their defense, which will be one of the best in the ACC. Miami does have just 64.5% of their tackles returning, which is 52nd in the nation, but this will still be a feared group. The secondary is their weak spot, but help is one the way as they recruited three DB that was 53rd or better in the nation last year, with two of them being 36th or better. Now, the front seven is a different story as it will be the best in the ACC and one of the best in the nation. Phil Steele has the defensive line rated as the 7th best in the nation and the linebacking corps rated as 2nd best in the nation. The LB corps is anchored by Shaquille Quarterman, who had 82 tackles, with eight tackles for loss and six sacks a season ago. The LB corps has three seniors starting, so you can see why it will be considered as one of the best in the nation. Miami has an improved offense to go with a strong defense but will that be enough to topple the 8th ranked Gators in the opening game for both? Just keep reading as the answer lies below.
Quarterman, Michael Pinckney, and Zach McCloud are ready for one last ride together.
“I think we’ve all had a common goal since we first got to college,” Quarterman said. “What we said as freshmen was that we didn’t want to leave this program in a worse place than when we found it and last year just wouldn’t have been the right way to leave it, you know?”
Added Pinckney, “You’ve got a guy in the driver’s seat that you understand his plan, you see his vision and he put his vision in your mind. It’s an opportunity now for us to go out one last time and leave this school on a better note than we got it. … I want to leave a stamp on this University and a 7-6 season wouldn’t be anything for me to brag about, especially when all those older guys like Jon Vilma, [Jon] Beason, and D.J. Williams come back and tell us about that time and show us their rings and all that. You want that, too. You know it’s something you’ll be able to talk about for the rest of your life.”
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in August
- 4-1 ATS their last five games in this series
- 2-5 ATS in their last 7 vs. the ACC.
- 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games on fieldturf
Updated on Aug 24 at 10:05am EDT
Update prepared by our editoral staff
Public Money / Line Movements
The Gators have garnered 60% of the bets this week, but the have gone from -8 down to -7. The Sharps are on the side of the Hurricanes.
Injury / Weather Report
Miami’s Impact Injury Report
Questionable: RB Robert Burns, TE Brian Polendey, and WR Evidence Njoku
Out: LB Patrick Joyner Jr., DL Nesta Jade Silvera, LB Waynmon Steed, LB Bradley Jennings Jr, WR Jeff Thomas, and WR Brian Hightower.
Florida’s Impact Injury Report
Questionable: LB Jeremiah Moon and OL Griffin McDowell
Out: DL Brenton Cox, LB David Reese II, and DB C.J. McWilliams
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Can the Canes topple the 8th ranked Gators? If this was a home game for them, then maybe, but this is a neutral site game, so I don’t see Miami winning this one. Having said that, I feel that the Canes cane keep this game within the number. The Gators will not blow them out. The Miami offense will be improved over last year and they have one of the best front seven in all of college football. Their defense should contain, while will be a solid Florida offense in this one. The Florida defense will be very tough this year, but with Martell at QB and a solid group of receivers, the Canes will get enough offense in this one to keep it close. This is a neutral site game so no team will have the home field advantage and I feel that benefits the dog in this one, and we do note that the dog is 4-1 ATS the last five games in this series. This game will be decided late by a field goal.
Prediction: Miami +7.5
Full-Game Total Pick
I will be going with the Under in this one. The Gators have a top-five defense on their hands this year, while the Canes have perhaps the best front seven in the nation. Florida allowed just 20.0 ppg a year ago and with eight starters back, they should allow 15 ppg or less this year. Miami’s defense was a bit better last year, as they allowed just 19.5 ppg and it should be just as strong this year, if not a bit better. Both teams have god depth on that side of the ball and while the offenses are both improved, it will be hard for them to move the ball against these stop troops. We also note that both teams do like to run the ball and Miami does have a new QB taking over. The Under is 7-1 in Miami’s last eight neutral site games and 20-7 in Florida’s last 27 games against the ACC. Points will be at a premium in this game.
Prediction: Under 47.5