Florida Gators vs. Tennessee Volunteers: 5 Things to Watch for in Gainesville
This year marks the 10th straight season that Florida and Tennessee will open up SEC action against each other, and this year's game could be the most competitive in quite some time.
The crowd in Gainesville will be louder than ever, and they will be one of the many factors that will decide this game on Saturday.
Both teams are 2-0 heading into the contest, and know that a lot is at stake with the SEC East championship on the line.
This game could go either way, and here are seven factors that will determine who is victorious.
John Brantley's Decsion Making
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Florida quarterback John Brantley has been extremely unimpressive so far this year. He has completed 33-of-49 passing attempts but has thrown just one touchdown versus two interceptions against relatively weak competition.
The quarterback will have to be on his A game against this athletic Tennessee secondary, even though the group has failed to live up to expectations so far this season. Brantley will have to use the pass to set up the run because the main goal of the Tennessee defense will be to stop the run.
Brantley is the key to a Gator victory this weekend, but I expect him to have a sub-par game.
Can Tyler Bray Stay Hot ?
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Tyler Bray is making a case for being the best quarterback in the SEC. He has already thrown seven touchdowns and almost 700 yards so far this season and with an impressive performance against Florida; his case could be made.
Bray will be facing a difficult Gator defense in Week Three, but he has a few targets to work with on the outside.
I think that Bray will continue his hot streak against the Gators, and will end up close to 300 yards passing on the day.
Chris Rainey vs Tennessee Front 7
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Chris Rainey has been the workhorse for the Florida Gator offense so far this season. The running back has proven that he is a dual-threat out the backfield and has 198 yards rushing this season on just 27 attempts, which is good for an impressive 7.3 yards per carry. He also scored on a punt return while adding another 110 yards receiving.
Rainey should be the primary concern for the Tennessee defense, but I find it hard to believe that they will totally shut him down. If the Vols front seven can shut this guy down, then they have a serious shot at going 1-0 in conference play.
Tauren Poole & Marlin Lane vs. Florida's Defense
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How effective the ground game is for Tennessee will determine if they win or lose this matchup.
The defense features a number of five-star recruits such as Sharrif Floyd, Ronald Powell and Dominique Easley, which means the task will not be easy for the Tennessee running backs.
Tauren Poole and Marlin Lane are going to have to pick up solid yards on first down, and then provide on short-yardage plays for the Vols to have a chance.
The Crowd at "The Swamp"
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The Florida Gator crowd maybe one of the best in all of college football and they will play a substantial role in determining who wins this game.
If the Volunteers can get of to a fast start and keep this crowd from being a factor, then their chances of winning increases dramatically.
Now if Florida gets of to a fast start, it will be difficult for Tennessee to suppress the 90,000+ that expected to be on hand.
This game should once again prove to the world why the SEC is king, and I expect a dandy in Gainesville this Saturday.