Well, good morning.
Florida plays its first night game in The Swamp since its 2011 regular-season finale loss to FSU.
The Gators and Hogs kickoff tonight at 7 p.m on ESPN2.
GAINESVILLE -- The No. 18 Gators are world-beaters in a number of defensive categories nationally, but UF is Floyd Mayweather Jr. money when it comes to forcing opponents off the field on third down.
Sophomore sensation Dante Fowler Jr. calls it “gold time,” as the Gators top the country in third down defense: allowing a ridiculous 17.8 percent (8-of-45) conversion rate.
“We emphasize it a lot, 'cause that's basically the down you get off the field, so three-and-outs, third downs, things like that,” said Fowler, who is second in the Southeastern Conference in tackles for loss (6.0).
“Everybody, the defensive line pins their eyes back and the secondary gets ready, so we can get off the field and get our offense back on the field. That's like putting up points for us."
Florida (3-1, 2-0 SEC) and Arkansas (3-2, 0-1 SEC) kickoff Saturday at 7 p.m on ESPN2 -- UF’s first night game in The Swamp since its 2011 regular-season finale loss to Florida State -- in a battle of strengths: The Gators’ suffocating defense versus the Razorbacks’ physical rushing attack.
Arkansas -- under new coach Bret Bielema -- average 237 rushing yards per game, more yards than Florida has allowed on the ground all season (214).
In addition to their third down dominance, the Gators lead the nation in rushing defense, surrendering just 53.50 yards per contest.
Something’s got to give tonight...
Onto the selections
3-2-1 last week. A garbage touchdown in the South Carolina-UCF game stole a win.
Scoreboard: 17-11-1 ATS, 1-3 selecting Florida games
This week's six-pack:
Miami (-5.5) vs. Georgia Tech
Georgia (-11.5) at Tennessee
LSU (-9.5) at Mississippi State
Stanford (-6.5) vs. Washington
Vanderbilt (+1) vs. Mizzou
And finally, Arkansas (+13) at Florida. Ok, I’ve been pretty damn good picking every game EXCEPT the team I cover on a daily basis. Weird. I technically hit on the under again last week (-46 vs. UK) but taking the Wildcats at +11 proved futile. So why am I doing it again? I don’t know, but that’s a lot of points for a UF team that still struggles to produce explosive plays. With its upcoming schedule, the Gators really, really, really need this win, so perhaps they’ll stuff Arkansas lethal rushing attack and hit a couple home runs.
Enjoy the early games, everybody.
I’ll have more later closer to kickoff.
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