Tennessee at Florida
Time: 11 AM CST Saturday
Spread: FLA -14.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Florida Gators leaped into the AP Top-10 last week with its third victory, an eight-point win over SEC rival Kentucky. It defeated Miami (FL) in Week 1, and knocked off UT-Martin in Week 2. This week the Gators will host visiting Tennessee and it is 14.5-point favorites over the Vols. The game will kick off at 11 AM CST Saturday on ESPN, and the over/under is set at 48.5 total points according to college football oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
Thus far, Feleipe Franks has been almost surprisingly amazing as the quarterback. The 6-foot-6 junior has increased in almost all major statistical categories from his rather good sophomore season a year ago. Franks has thrown 76.1 percent for completion and amassed 698 yards. The only slight concern is that he has thrown three picks already with just five touchdowns, but that stat will likely normalize some as the season wears on; after all, last season he had 24 TD passes to just six INTs. Franks had a nearly flawless game in the win over UT-Martin, completing 25 of 27 passes of 270 yards and two touchdowns. His passer rating was an almost-silly 201.0 for that game.
Lamical Perine has also carried a heavy load as lead-rusher. He has 34 attempts through three games and leads the team with 120 total yards while averaging (only) 3.5 yards-per-carry. Franks has the second-most attempts (21) and averages 3.2 yards-per-attempt, but the Gators have had a couple of fly-by-night plays that were huge: Wide receiver Josh Hammond rushed one time for a 76-yard TD, and Iverson Clement has one rush on the year—but a 41-yard attempt, at that.
The Gators accordingly average a very misleading 4.5 yards-per-carry, considering its top-two rushers are both under four yards per attempt.
Van Jefferson has been its top receiver. He has 12 catches for 201 yards and a touchdown catch. Five others have caught TD receptions as well, and the Gators have six receiving TDs to its seven via the rush.
That is good balance, and with Franks limiting those costly interceptions the Gators could be a major force and even a top-4 playoff team when this season concludes. Of course, the toughest parts of its schedule loom ahead, but the start has been encouraging in Gainesville.
The Tennessee Vols have already had its struggles in 2019. It started the season 0-2 with losses to Georgia State and BYU, before finally securing a ‘W’ with its 45-0 shutout over Chattanooga last week. The Volunteers are deservingly two-touchdown-plus dogs in this matchup against Florida, and it really might be far worse.
Jarrett Guarantano has actually been relatively fine at QB. That has not been the issue. He has thrown for 65.8 percent completions while averaging 8.3 yards-per-attempt. He has thrown seven TDs with just two interceptions, and his five sacks through three games are not devastating really. Ty Chandler has been good as the No. 1 back, with 248 yards on 42 attempts, while Eric Gray has added another 138 yards on 32 tries as the No. 2 option. Guarantano has been a disaster rushing from the pocket, though, with negative-10 yards on his 13 attempts.
Jauan Jennings has been the top WR with 208 yards on 12 catches and a team-high four touchdowns. Marquez Callaway has nine catches for 127 yards on the year and two touchdowns.
Tennessee’s biggest shortcoming, with the exception of that week 3 blowout, has been its defense. The Vols gave up 38 yards to Georgia State and that is not even an FBS opponent. BYU scored 29 on Tennessee, so with that 33.5 point average allowed, it is going to have to tighten up its defense a ton to have even a remote chance of pulling an upset over a Gator offense that is clicking in all regards.
This game probably will not be particularly close, and college football oddsmakers are in accord with the 14.5-point spread set for the affair.