The defending champion LSU Tigers will head to Gainesville on Saturday to take on the #10 team in the land, the Florida Gators.
This SEC battle is set as both LSU (1-2) and Florida (2-1) look to bounce back after a loss this past weekend.
Defenses Can’t Buy a Stop
It’s both of these team’s defenses under the microscope three weeks in, as they have each been ranked near the bottom of the nation statistically up to this point.
Florida (495 yards per game and 33.2 points per game) and LSU (494.7 yards per game and 32.0 points per game) have gotten carved up this season, which lends itself to a high-scoring game Saturday afternoon.
LSU is coming off a 45-41 upset loss to the then-winless Missouri Tigers, while Florida just lost their first game of the year 41-38 to #21 Texas A&M.
Despite both losing last week, Florida comes into this game as a two-touchdown favorite thanks to a more explosive offense led by QB Kyle Trask.
LSU is of course the defending College Football Champion, but sustained heavy roster turnover as key pieces went to the NFL, as well as multiple opt-outs from star players.
College athletes were given the opportunity to opt out of the season because of COVID concerns. LSU was especially hit hard by opt-outs as WR Ja’Marr Chase, NT Tyler Shelvin and Safety Kary Vincent, took the opportunity to protect their bodies and prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft.
This exodus has resulted in one of the worst title-defense seasons in recent FBS history. At 1-2, the Tigers don’t look to be a threat to repeat.
The Gators Have Life
While the defense has left a lot to be desired, UF remains ranked in the top ten thanks to their high-powered offense. Trask has thrown for nearly 1,000 yards in three games, to go along with 14 touchdowns and just one interception. His favorite target, TE Kyle Pitts, has caught seven of the 14 TD passes.
Pitts presents a nightmare matchup for any team as a playmaking, athletic tight end. The LSU defense has displayed this year, that they can’t seem to stop much of anything.
LSU Can Still Score
Despite the 1-2 start, LSU has still scored more than 40 points in all three games, and should be poised to break the mark again against an equally porous Florida defense.
The Tigers offense, led by QB Myles Brennan and WR Terrace Marshall Jr., should be able to keep pace with Florida.
Marshall, in the absence of the aforementioned Chase, along with former Tiger and current Minnesota Viking Justin Jefferson, has taken the helm as the lead wideout for this team. Through three games, Marshall has 21 receptions for 424 yards and seven touchdowns.
Neither team is happy with their start, as it will take a well-rounded effort on both sides of the ball to make the College Football Playoff. As two SEC rivals, I am inclined to take LSU to cover the +14, but I’ll be putting even more focus on the over, which is currently listed at 70.5.
On offense, Florida is averaging 42.3 points per game, while LSU comes in averaging 38.7. Couple these numbers with the defenses struggling to make a stop, and I expect a shootout to quickly unfold in Gainesville..
Take the over at 70.5, and LSU +14.