GEORGIA BULLDOGS (7-0)
at FLORIDA GATORS (3-3)
Everbank Field – Jacksonville, FL
Kickoff: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
Line: Georgia -14, Total: 43.5
An upset over rival Georgia would go a long way towards redeeming Jim McElwain and a disappointing Florida team.
No one should feel bad for a program with the resources that Florida has, and the Gators are by no means a good team this year, but the team has experienced some bad luck in recent weeks. Three weeks ago, Florida lost 17-16 to LSU, and the week after it lost 19-17 to Texas A&M. The Gators have also had their share of good fortune this year, though, beating Tennessee on a too-easy Hail Mary in September and barely skating by Kentucky, 28-27, a week later. All in all, Florida is about where it should be at 3-3 (2-4 ATS). Now, coming off a bye week, coach Jim McElwain's squad will need to play their best game in the annual highlight of their regular season, the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party rivalry matchup against Georgia in Jacksonville. It's been a dream season so far this year for the Bulldogs and their fans, as the team sits at No. 3 in the country with an undefeated 7-0 record (5-2 ATS). Making their run all the more impressive is the fact that they lost former five-star recruit and starting QB Jacob Eason to injury in Week 1, and have been rolling with freshman Jake Fromm under center since. Georgia is also coming off a bye, and its 53-28 win over Missouri two weeks ago was actually the closest SEC game it's played all season. As head coach at Georgia, Kirby Smart is 5-1 ATS as a favorite in non-home games. McElwain's Florida teams are 13-3 Under against the total when coming off of two or more consecutive conference games.
For Florida, QB Feleipe Franks represents a significant upgrade at the position from what the team has been working with the last few seasons, although that distinction really means very little. His 7.5 yards per attempt are good for seventh in the SEC, and he's fairly protective of the ball in only having thrown three interceptions. But he's only thrown four touchdowns, and has only one 200+ yard passing game—and it was the 63-yard Hail Mary against Tennessee that allowed him to achieve 212 yards in that contest. He doesn't run much, but he's mobile, as shown by an incredible 79-yard scamper against Texas A&M two weeks ago. Making plays with his legs would be a great way to keep the Georgia defense on its toes. WR Tyrie Cleveland, the recipient of that Hail Mary and Florida's best receiver, has missed the last two games with a high ankle sprain suffered against Vanderbilt. He's questionable to play on Saturday, and may not be playing at full explosiveness if he does give it a go. Even with Cleveland included, the Gators are thin at the skill position. He has over 325 receiving yards this year, but Florida's next leaders in this category are WRs Brandon Powell (149), Josh Hammond (138) and Kadarius Toney (107). Toney, a freshman, is also questionable for the Georgia game. RB Malik Davis has been a bright spot, rushing for at least 90 yards in five straight games.
Freshman signal-caller Fromm has not been passable this year for Georgia; he's been excellent. He leads the SEC in yards per attempt (9.6) and passer rating (170.4). He's certainly been helped by the fact that defenses have to pay unrelenting attention to the Bulldogs' running game, and the fact that he's only thrown 121 passes, 12th-most in the conference. Against Missouri, though, coaches gave him the keys to the offense and he made the most of it, completing 18 of 26 passes for 326 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. His previous season high for yardage had been 201. At running back, the Bulldogs' talent and depth is rivaled nationally by only Alabama. Nick Chubb (688 rushing yards) is the superstar and Sony Michel (492) is a star in his own right, but somehow Georgia has found significant carries for guys further down the depth chart, too. Freshman D'Andre Swift (358) looks like a future multi-All-SEC honors type of guy, and sophomores Elijah Holyfield (178) and Brian Herrien (156) have also found their way onto the field. Fromm is also helped by having two excellent wideouts in Terry Godwin and Javon Wims. Of Fromm's 12 TD passes on the year, Godwin has caught five of them (2nd in SEC). Wims was the go-to guy against Missouri, catching five passes for 95 yards.