The Florida Gators have the opportunity to take down two powerhouses in college football and change the national setting for the 2011-2012 season. The only problem is they actually have to beat these two teams in order for this to happen. In the next two weeks, the Gators will face off against No. 3 Alabama at home and No. 1 LSU on the road.
No one expected Florida to be playing this well so soon. The Gators will be able to see how good they really are in both of these matchups.
Enough said—read on to see how the Florida Gators will fair against Alabama and LSU.
The Gators offense is much better than it was last year, and it is one of the best offenses in the SEC. The Gators rank at the top of the SEC in rushing, points per game and total yards.
In fact, the Gators have one of the best rushing offenses in college football, averaging 259 yards per game. They have also put up the 11th most total yards this far with 1,847.
Did I mention how good their defense was? Not only is Florida's offense good, but their defense may be even better. They rank in the top five in the nation in rushing defense, allowing 56.6 yards per game. Not to mention, they rank in the top five in the nation in scoring defense (nine points per game) and total defense (231.8 yards per game).
Will Muschamp has turned Urban Meyer's spread offense into a pro-style attack, which has helped John Brantley out tremendously. The addition of Charlie Weis has also helped out the Florida Gators on offense.
To say the least, Alabama has owned the Gators the past two years. In the last two meetings, the Crimson Tide have outscored the Gators 63-19. In these two wins, the Tide have completely shut down the Gators offense and have walked all over their defense.
Although John Brantley is a key player for the Florida offense, the Gators do not need him to have the biggest game of his life to win, although it would help. However, they are relying on Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey to carry them on offense. Both of these players are capable of having a big game and have had great seasons so far, with 1,015 total yards combined.
The Swamp is one of the toughest places to play at in college football. Alabama's quarterback, AJ McCarron, is going to have a tough time playing in this kind of environment. He has played decent so far, but not great by any means. If you match McCarron's numbers up with John Brantley's, they are almost identical. The only difference is that Brantley has been here before and he is used to playing in big games.
Alabama's defense may be one of the best in the country, but Florida's offense will match up a lot better than it did last year. Charlie Weis is one of the best offensive coaches in the game, and he has helped to make Florida's offense one of the best in all of college football. Alabama's defense will definitely keep Alabama in this game, but Florida has a great defense as well and a better offense to go with it.
With all of this said, Florida is going to be all that Alabama can handle. The Gators have a solid team and the Crimson Tide will have to play on the road in the Swamp, which is a tough test for any team.
Prediction: Florida Wins.
If Florida beats Alabama, LSU and Florida will both be ranked in the top 10. Not to mention, this game would steal the thunder of the showdown between LSU and Alabama.
LSU is arguably playing like the best team in the nation. The Tigers have beaten three ranked opponents, including No. 3 Oregon. Not to mention, none of these games were played at home for LSU. As a result of these tough opponents, the Tigers do not have as good of stats as the Gators, but the competition the Gators have faced does not compare to the Tigers'.
The Gators have a good enough defense to keep up with the Tigers, but LSU is an all-around better team.
Last year's matchup between these two teams may have been played at Florida, but the Gators were able to keep the game close, losing 24-28.
Florida is much better this year than they were last year, so this game could be interesting. The Florida Gators and LSU Tigers have a great rivalry, and anything could happen in this game. However, the Gators will not have enough to beat the Tigers.
Prediction: LSU wins.