coleryan Posts:13439 Followers:19
On 09/02/2013 08:59 AM in NCAA Football

Florida Gators at Miami Hurricanes: Preview and Pick

Florida Gators at Miami Hurricanes: Preview and Pick

It may only be the second week of the 2013 college football season, but it is never too early to watch a good old fashioned rivalry game. Although the rivalry has been lopsided of late, the Florida Gators and the Miami Hurricanes are eager to enter into battle on the field for in state bragging rights. Both teams had relatively easy tune ups ion the season opener but will get a step up in competition this Saturday.

Florida Gators at Miami Hurricanes Odds

The line for this game was released late on Sunday night and the Gators emerged as the favorites. The Gators are currently (-3) point favorites which is exactly where this betting line opened up at. Florida will look to get past talks of suspension and focus on football when they play Miami.

Head coach Will Muschamp had to deal with suspensions and reporters who incorrectly reported the story. Although the coach was angered, the Gators took it out on Toledo winning the first game of the season with ease. The Gators looked good in every facet of the game. They ran for 262 yards and two touchdowns, were efficient in the passing game and dominant on defense. Mack Brown, tore up the field making his first career start as he ran 25 times for 112 yards and two scores, becoming one of the superstar players for week one.

In week one Miami cruised by Florida Atlantic behind the great play of Duke Johnson. Johnson had career-highs of 186 yards and 19 carries in the opener and looked like he was in midseason form although he will get a tougher test this weekend against a more aggressive Gators defense. Other Canes showed some rust as highly touted freshman receiver Stacy Coley dropped two passes that would have been touchdowns and will look for redemption this week.

The college football trends are interesting to watch in this contest. The Florida Gators are 1-6 against the spread (ATS) in its last 7 games, although they covered the first game of the season with ease. Miami has dominated this series winning four of the last five games in what has been a lopsided affair on the field. In the last five games against Miami, the Gators are an awful 1-4 ATS although they are 13-2 straight up in the last 15 games overall.

Something has to give in the early game this weekend when the Florida Gators and the Miami Hurricanes battle for the sunshine state bragging rights.

Florida Gators at Miami Hurricanes Pick

With plenty of time to go before game day, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to kickoff.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 10-5-0
coleryan Posts:13439 Followers:19
09/03/2013 03:17 PM

The 10th-ranked Gators powered past an explosive Toledo team 24-6 in their season opener Saturday, and sophomore sensation Duke Johnson propelled the Hurricanes to a 34-6 victory over a pedestrian FAU bunch on Friday to begin the University of Miami’s season.

Just one week into the 2013 season, the Gators and Hurricanes square off in a pivotal in-state matchup — each fighting for bragging rights, recruiting ground and respect.

“It’s a big one,” Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel said. “They’re a good team.”

Said Marcus Roberson, UF cornerback and former Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas standout, “It’s gonna be fun for all of us.”

And, hopefully, for the fans, too.

The Gators and Canes last played in 2008, and Saturday’s matchup could be the final regular-season meeting for a long time.

The two powerhouse programs once played an annual rivalry game — every season from 1938 to 1987 (except for 1943, when UF didn’t have a football team) — but Florida discontinued the regular-season series in 1987, and the schools have met just five times since 2000.

UM, winners of four of the past five, dropped the series’ most recent meeting in 2008 — a blowout win for UF (26-3), and a game in which former Gators coach Urban Meyer infamously kicked a late field goal to the dismay of ex-Canes coach Randy Shannon.

But bad blood dissipates over time, and now the two programs simply rest in very different circumstances.

After several subpar seasons, Florida is once again among the nation’s elite. Under coach Will Muschamp’s guidance, the Gators are projected to compete for a national title, bullying foes with a superb defense and a ground-and-pound attack. It’s an ugly, yet successful formula.

In its win over Toledo, UF rushed for 262 yards and held the nation’s No. 32 offense in 2012 to 205 total yards, six points and just a single third down conversion (1 of 13) — even though two top defenders (Antonio Morrison and Loucheiz Puifoy) missed the game because of suspension.

Although Florida’s offense remains a work in progress, the Gators did flash potential improvements in the season opener, as well as display some new toys for offensive coordinator Brent Pease.

Fullback Gideon Ajagbe — nicknamed postgame the “Nigerian Nightmare” by teammates — tailback Mack Brown and scat-back Valdez Showers all emerged as quality offensive pieces missing a season ago.

Florida’s penalty problem popped up again, as did inconsistent offensive line play.

“We got to get that out of our system, and I’ve been saying that for three years,” Muschamp said. “But the best thing about being 1-0 is a chance to be 2-0. We’ll look at the film and make the corrections for a really good Miami football team.”

Overall, Muschamp was pleased with his team’s effort but admitted they have to play even better against Miami.

“They always say your best improvements are from Week 1 to Week 2,” he said. “We hope that old adage continues.”

Meanwhile, Miami is engineered by a high-octane offense, led by Johnson and experienced quarterback Stephen Morris. The Canes defense played well against FAU, especially rushing the passer, but Miami struggled mightily stopping the run in 2012 (No.114 nationally in rushing defense), and it remains to be seen whether UM can slow down UF’s bread-and-butter rushing attack.

The Canes haven’t won 10 games in a season since 2003, but Al Golden’s team is desperate to reenter the national conversion. and a date with a top-10 former rival could be just that opportunity.

“It’s a big game because we’re in it,” UF linebacker Ronald Powell told GatorZone TV

  • Last 7 Days Record: 10-5-0
coleryan Posts:13439 Followers:19
09/04/2013 03:34 PM

Against Florida Atlantic in its opener Friday, Miami's passing game was effective enough. Hurricanes quarterback Stephen Morris was 15 of 27 for 160 yards. Receiver Herb Waters had a pair of catches for 49 yards. Even running back Duke Johnson got in the act, catching a flea-flicker that netted 38 yards on the game's opening play.

But as the Hurricanes continue preparations for their game Saturday against 10th-ranked Florida, Miami understands "effective" won't be good enough. There were dropped passes and Morris toss an interception. After the win, Hurricanes coach Al Golden conceded the passing game struggled to find its rhythm.

Monday, after a practice disrupted by lightning, Golden reiterated how crucial it's going to be that those problems are corrected against Florida, which held its opening-game opponent Toledo to just 17 completions on 38 attempts Saturday.

"I think we were all disappointed," Golden said. "Our completion percentage coming in from right after the first scrimmage through the second scrimmage and coming into the game was really good. We were crisp, we weren't putting the ball on the ground. I was really excited about where we were last Monday and Tuesday and [then] we didn't throw and catch very well. I think we were 58 percent in the game, or 60, so not where we want to be. We have to do a better job throwing and catching certainly against this group we're going to play Saturday."

One of the players who struggled against the Owls on Friday was freshman Stacy Coley, who a year ago at this time was catching passes at Northeast High. Against FAU, the former high school All-American had a pair of drops that looked like sure touchdowns. Both mistakes came on third down, an area where Miami struggled, converting just on just 4 of 14 opportunities.

Coley bounced back against the Owls, making two catches for 19 yards late, but like Golden, he wants fewer mistakes this week. "My first game was a big game for me, I was nervous a little bit, so that's why I had a few mistakes, but now I'm just ready and now I know the tempo of the college experience," Coley said. "The dropped passes, usually people just go in their comfort zone, but me, I just stayed humble and stayed positive. I'm real confident. The veterans are keeping me humble and keeping me focused and telling me to just go out there and have fun."

The Hurricanes likely will face the Gators without receiver Rashawn Scott, making Miami's task of jump-starting the passing attack against UF's strong defense even tougher.

Scott left Miami's 34-6 win against FAU with what Golden described Monday as a shoulder injury. He added that the receiver's return "doesn't look good for this week," thinning a position Miami has been trying to strengthen.

With Scott out, Golden said Miami will likely have to turn to its tight ends and that redshirt freshman D'Mauri Jones and sophomore Garrett Kidd will likely get more work.

But experienced receivers like St. Thomas Aquinas alum Phillip Dorsett understand the bulk of the responsibilities will fall to them and it's time to move forward. "Everybody's got to step up," Dorsett said. "It happens. It's football. Somebody's going to get hurt. It's hard to say, but it happens every year. You never know who it could be. If you're the next man, you've got to step up."

  • Last 7 Days Record: 10-5-0
coleryan Posts:13439 Followers:19
09/05/2013 02:22 PM

No. 10 Florida will have running back Matt Jones back against Miami. Coach Will Muschamp says Jones, who missed the last month while recovering from a viral infection, will play Saturday. The sophomore is listed as the starter on the team's updated depth chart.

Muschamp says the Gators "feel pretty good about his progress. As we work through the week, we'll be able to know how much he will be able to contribute, but he certainly will play."

Without Jones, backup Mack Brown carried 25 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-6 victory over Toledo in the season opener.

Linebacker Darrin Kitchens (oblique), left tackle D.J. Humphries (knee) and defensive tackle Dominique Easley (flu) missed practice Monday, but Muschamp says they should play against Miami.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 10-5-0
coleryan Posts:13439 Followers:19
09/06/2013 06:48 PM

PICK

Miami looked good in the opener and they realize that this game is huge for the program could set the tone for the rest of the season. The Gators have been dealing with off the field issues and suspensions and will still be working out all the kinks. The Gators are 3-8-1 ATS in their last 12 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game and the Hurricanes are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game.

Miami gets a big win early in the season.

Pick: Miami +3

  • Last 7 Days Record: 10-5-0