Louisiana State Tigers (5-0) at Florida Gators (4-1)
NCAA Football: Saturday, October 9, 2010, 7:30 PM EST
The Florida Gators look to rebound from a tough road loss in Tuscaloosa as they host the undefeated LSU Tigers in SEC action.
The Florida Gators were thoroughly dismantled at Alabama last Saturday in front of a national TV audience, and it showed that this program just isn't quite at the level it was the previous years.
While John Brantley may be a solid QB over the long haul, he looked lost at times against the Alabama defense. Brantley threw for 202 yards with two interceptions against Bama, and for the season he has 902 yards passing with six touchdowns and three interceptions.
Brantley is a different style of QB than they have had of late, as he's a pocket passer and his lack of mobility may not fit Urban Meyer's razzle-dazzle, as we have seen by his negative-16 yards rushing for the season and an embarrassing attempt at the Tim Tebow trademarked jump pass.
Jeff Demps carries the load at running back, but he seems less effective with a pocket passer at QB though he has lightning-fast speed. While Brantley is seen as a pocket passer, his receivers' numbers are unspectacular, as Deonte Thompson has 21 catches but has yet to find the end zone and Carl Moore is next at 13 catches.
The Florida offense is averaging 31.4 points and 339.8 yards per game with 188.8 of the yards coming by passing and 151 rushing. The Florida defense has allowed 17.6 points per game and 291 yards on average.
In reality, Florida dominated the second half against Alabama, and had they converted on chances it may have been a different outcome, at least a closer game. The Gators had just six points in five trips inside the Alabama 20; they will need to do better.
Les Miles' teams at LSU never seem to win overly impressively, but they usually seem to come out winners more often than not. Last week against Tennessee it took the Tigers the full 60 minutes and beyond, as a penalty for too many men on the field on Tennessee on the game's final play allowed LSU another chance from inside the 1-yard line that Stevan Ridley carried in for the score.
LSU has gone to a QB rotation as Jordan Jefferson continues to struggle, as he was 3-of-10 last week and for the season has thrown three times as many interceptions as touchdowns. Jarrett Lee thoroughly outplayed Jefferson, completing some clutch passes in the final drive, including one to Terrance Toliver on 3rd-and-13.
What concerns LSU fans the most was the confusion as for the second year in a row, LSU let most of the final 40 seconds on the clock drain as they were trailing. Had the Tigers lost, it would have been a disaster that would have been tough to recover from. They can only hope it serves as a wake-up call.
With the offense sputtering at times, though they score 24.4 points per game and gain 326.6 yards, the defense has been solid. The Tiger D is allowing 12.4 points per game and just 246.6 yards with just 79 yards coming on the ground and 167.6 through the air.
Florida is 5-1 against the spread in its last six home games, 9-2 against the spread in its last 11 games following a loss, and 6-0 against the spread in its last six home games against a team with a winning road record. LSU is 2-5 against the spread in its last seven overall, 1-4 against the spread against a team with a winning record, and 8-18-1 in its last 27 conference games. The road team has covered in seven of he last 10 meetings.
LSU has made it look ugly this year, but when Florida was called upon to get it done against a quality defense, they folded, so this game will dictate how the season goes for each of these teams. LSU has the defense to slow down Florida, but they can't win games not scoring more than a few field goals, which is really all they are capable of at this point against the better teams.
Mitch's Pick: Florida -6.5