No. 8 Florida and No. 5 Georgia will collide on Saturday in an annual rivalry game that again has local, regional and national implications. Bragging rights, an edge in the SEC East title race and College Football Playoff hopes are all on the line in one of the most storied rivalries in college football history.
The Gators are coming off an emphatic win over Missouri that saw their much-maligned defense hold the Tigers to a 20% conversion rate on third downs — their best mark of the season. Gators fans are hoping that their defensive success is the start of a trend and not an outlier.
The Bulldogs topped Kentucky 14-3 in Lexington last week behind a stellar game from Zamir White, who had 136 yards and one touchdown on 26 carries. The success on the ground allowed offensive coordinator Todd Monken the ability to keep things conservative and avoid putting too much pressure on quarterback Stetson Bennett IV.
Who wins the latest chapter of this storied rivalry? Let’s take a closer look at the storylines to follow before making some expert picks both straight up and against the spread. Odds via William Hill Sportsbook.
Florida: The offense didn’t miss a beat after the COVID-19 layoff. Quarterback Kyle Trask is tied for the SEC lead in touchdown passes with Ole Miss’ Matt Corral despite playing in two fewer games. He has at least four touchdown passes in every game this season, including four last week against the Tigers. Tight end Kyle Pitts was one of the early-season stars of the sport, and Swiss Army Knife Kadarius Toney has added an element to the offense that few teams can replicate.
The defense will be without lineman Zachary Carter and linebacker Antwuan Powell due to the brawl last week at halftime, but defensive lineman Kyree Campbell returned to action last week and should be more of a factor moving forward.
Georgia: The big storyline in Athens this week revolves around the usually-stout defense that is going to be missing several key pieces. Safety Richard LeCounte (traffic accident), nose guard Jordan Davis (elbow) and defensive end Julian Rochester (knee) are all out this weekend, with several other starters banged up. This is a team that relies heavily on dictating the style of games with its defense as its calling card, which will be more difficult on Saturday than it has been in previous weeks.
Bennett remains the starting quarterback of the Bulldogs, but his grip might be slipping a bit. The former walk-on has thrown five interceptions over the last two games and hasn’t shown the ability to change games with his arm. Star wide receiver George Pickens didn’t make the trip to Kentucky last weekend and will be needed this weekend if the Bulldogs are forced into a shootout.
Date: Saturday, Nov. 7 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: TIAA Bank Field — Jacksonville, Florida
TV: CBS | Live stream: CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free)
OTT: CBS Sports App (Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast)
Game prediction, picks
Give me Florida to win, cover and top Georgia by double digits. Defense doesn’t win championships anymore. “Just enough” defense does. Florida has more than enough to cruise past Georgia considering the massive offensive issues plaguing coach Kirby Smart’s crew. Trask and the rest of the offense will light up the depleted Georgia defense and score in the 30s. Will Bennett and the Bulldogs be able to keep up? No chance. Pick: Florida (+3.5)
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 10, and which Pac-12 team will pull off a shocking upset? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned over $4,100 in profit over the past four-plus seasons — and find out.