Alabama vs. Florida: How the underdog Gators can upset the top-ranked Crimson Tide

No. 11 Florida enters its Week 3 showdown towards top-ranked Alabama as 15.5-point underdogs, per Caesars Sportsbook. At dwelling. In The Swamp. Sure, the Crimson Tide sit atop the mountain because the kings of college football, however being a double-digit dwelling canine is unfamiliar territory for Dan Mullen’s Gators.  

What’s extra acquainted? Huge moments in Gainesville, and it does not get a lot greater than this. Saturday’s SEC on CBS Recreation of the Week is the right alternative to remind the world that Mullen is totally the rising star many anticipated him to be at a blue-blood establishment like Florida.

Above all else, Mullen is an offensive guru, however this will probably be an enormous problem. Veteran beginning quarterback Emory Jones has been erratic and careless with the soccer. Hotshot newcomer Anthony Richardson has confirmed to be a big-play weapon on the bottom, however he is hampered by a hamstring harm. That places Mullen’s workforce in a troublesome spot earlier than the sport even kicks off. 

Nonetheless, this recreation isn’t being performed on paper. Florida is able to springing the upset. Here is how. 

Making the proper QB selection

Mullen has been mum about who will begin underneath middle, although he is been constant in how he is used his two QBs. Jones began the primary two video games towards FAU and South Florida, paving the way in which for Richardson to return off the bench on the third drive. The choice is trickier now, although. Jones has 4 picks to simply two passing touchdowns, however Richardson, the extra explosive runner, is nursing the harm he sustained towards the Bulls in Week 2.

Make no mistake: Richardson should be QB1 if he is wholesome sufficient to go since he is taken higher care of the soccer. That is going to matter extra now that the Gators are enjoying Alabama as an alternative of a few outmatched Group of 5 opponents. Nonetheless, historical past seems to be enjoying a job in Mullen’s decision-making. Jones was Mullen’s first main recruiting goal when he obtained the gig in Gainesville previous to the 2018 season, so it is not shocking to see the extra skilled participant get the advantage of the doubt. 

Nonetheless, Mullen has to nail this determination. It will not be primarily based on the bottom recreation, both. No matter who begins, that participant has to have the ability to stretch the sector in an effort to take some stress off of the operating recreation. Each signal-callers can run, however neither will do it successfully if they can not preserve the Tide’s safeties away from creeping as much as the road of scrimmage. 

‘Third-and-Grantham’ has to work

Todd Grantham’s repute as a defensive coordinator is to deliver the warmth with a flamethrower in crucial passing conditions. He’d deliver 15 gamers if the officers would let him. That every one-or-nothing philosophy sometimes leads to both huge damaging performs … or it backfires spectacularly. That second final result cannot occur. Stress has to get dwelling towards first-year beginning quarterback Bryce Young if Florida is to have an opportunity.

Younger has been cash on the transfer, although, so even when Grantham is ready to flush him out of the pocket, he can nonetheless make the Gators pay. The flip aspect is that Alabama has allowed 15 tackles for loss in two video games. Solely Missouri has been worse amongst SEC groups. The chance for Florida to do some harm is there, however Grantham has to deliver stress in a means that forestalls Younger from holding his eyes downfield.

Crimson zone touchdowns

They are saying protection does not win championships anymore, “simply sufficient” protection does. Somebody apparently forgot to inform Alabama. The Tide have not allowed a crimson zone landing of their first two video games and led the SEC in that very same class final season (51.28%). That was an enormous — however maybe under-appreciated, provided that workforce’s offensive success — cause it ran the desk and gained the nationwide title. 

Florida cannot accept area targets. Doing so is a killer towards Alabama, particularly now that it is established itself as an offensive powerhouse. The Gators have transformed 5 of their eight red-zone journeys into touchdowns this season, so they have been profitable in that division regardless of their quarterback issues.

That success must proceed. If Younger takes the sector on each drive in his first true highway recreation because the starter understanding he has to take again momentum, that is a built-in benefit for the Gators and their raucous dwelling crowd. | Alabama vs. Florida: How the underdog Gators can upset the top-ranked Crimson Tide


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