Matchup: Florida at #3 Alabama (-14.5, 50.5 at JustBet)
Date/Time: Saturday, September 20th @ 3:30 pm (EST)
Location: Tuscaloosa, AL (airing on CBS)
Preview: The Florida Gators take on the Alabama Crimson tide in a key SEC matchup on Saturday afternoon from Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
The Alabama Crimson Tide are currently 3-0 and have yet to play a conference game. They kicked off the season with a win over West Virginia 33-23, in which they struggled at times on both sides of the ball. In their last two contests, they look to be hitting their stride, as they’ve won both by a combined score of 93-12. Granted, they were against lesser opponents, but they have looked a lot smoother on offense. Blake Sims will get the start at quarterback, and it’s no secret who his favorite target is. Wide receiver Amari Cooper, one of the nation’s best receivers is leading the nation in catches (33) and is third in receiving yards (454). Alabama is running the ball effectively this season, averaging 270 yards on the ground per game. The Crimson Tide defense is 10th in the nation in total defense, giving up an average of 4.8 yards per play and 267 yards per game.
The Florida Gators come into Saturday’s contest at 2-0 and 1-0 in SEC play. The Gators are coming off a triple overtime win over Kentucky in their home stadium. No, it’s not the same old Kentucky team that we’re all accustomed to as Mark Stoops has that program on the rise. Florida head coach Will Muschamp is looking to improve off what was a dismal season last year in which they went 4-8. Their offense has been impressive thus far led by junior quarterback Jeff Driskel, who has passed for 543 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Gators are certainly putting points up on the board, averaging 50 points per game and are well balanced on offense averaging 248 yards per game on the ground and 348 yards through the air. Their defense was certainly tested last weekend against Kentucky, and had success against the run, but allowed 369 yards passing.
This will be a tough task and a big step up in competition for the Gators. Alabama has won the last three games against Florida by an average of 24 points. The Gators are vastly improved this year, and while it’s tempting to take the points in this one, I think Alabama has the advantage in the trenches, which is what will matter most. Alabama head coach is quite familiar with Florida head coach Will Muschamp. The Florida coach was an assistant under Saban at LSU, and also worked with him when Saban was with the Miami Dolphins. Florida was very fortunate to come out victorious against Kentucky last weekend, and now they have to travel to Tuscaloosa which is a tall order. Florida has been successful stopping the run thus far this season, but I don’t think that will be the case on Saturday, as Alabama has one of the top offensive lines in the country. Alabama has dropped in the rankings and I’m sure Saban will be stressing that they need a strong performance. Alabama is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 SEC games, and at the end of the day I think they cover the number in what should be a defensive ball game with Alabama controlling the line of scrimmage.
2014 Week 4 NCAA Football Picks: Alabama -14.5 Under 50.5
Florida at Alabama State Score Prediction: Alabama 31 – Florida 14