College football is back, and things will get kicked off with a monster showdown on Saturday night. The Florida Gators and Miami Hurricanes will meet up in Orlando in what should be a terrific season-opening game. Florida comes into this game as the 8th ranked team in the country, and Miami is hoping to rise to that level this season as well.
Florida finished the 2018 season with a record of 10-3, but never really challenged to win the SEC. The Gators return a large portion of their team from a season ago, and expectations are high in and around Gainesville. Miami had a long and difficult six-game losing streak in 2018 and finished the season with a record of 7-6. The Hurricanes have made some changes this season, including at the head coach position. Florida is a -7.0 point favorite over Miami in this game.
Franks, Perine Lead Gators Offense
The Florida Gators have a pair of talented veterans leading them on offense, but each player needs to improve this season. Feleipe Franks will be back under center for the Gators but completed less than 60 percent of his passes a season ago. Perine led the Gators in rushing but did not manage to run for over 1,000 yards a season ago. If Franks and Perine both take the next step on offense in 2018, then this could be one of the top teams in the country.
Florida was a top-20 defense during the 2018 season, and much of that roster returns as well. The Gators have a ton of athleticism on that side of the ball, and they are used to taking on extremely talented offenses. The Gators allowed less than 21 points per game in SEC play a season ago, and that kind of performance will earn them a season-opening win on Saturday.
Miami Defense Must Step Up
The Miami Gators will have a brand new quarterback under center in this game in Jarren Williams. Williams beat out a pair of talented QB options to win the job, but Miami fans should expect some growing pains in this game. The Hurricanes averaged just 167 passing yards per game a season ago, and things likely won’t get much better with Williams in there, and against a great defense. Miami will have to establish the run to have any success in this one.
With all of the uncertainty surrounding the Hurricanes offense, it is time for the defense to step up in this game. Miami allowed just over 18.2 points per game during the 2018 season, and they have the ability to take over a game. The Hurricanes know that Feleipe Franks struggled with his accuracy, and they will be looking to keep pressure in his face all night long.
Florida Rolls to Season-Opening Win
Both of these teams should play extremely well in this game, even if there might be a little bit of rust. Miami will be debuting a new quarterback on offense, while the Florida Gators have a team that is loaded with veterans. The Hurricanes will keep this game close for a while, but Florida is going to pull away late. Bet the Florida Gators -7.5 over the Miami Hurricanes in the season opener.