Florida Football: Five Reasons Why The Kentucky Wildcats Could Upset The Gators
The No. 9 Florida Gators will host the Kentucky Wildcats at "The Swamp" this Saturday, but forgive Urban Meyer's ball club if this is a boring football game.
After all, the 14-point spread indicates that the Gators should cruise to an easy two-touchdown win over Kentucky.
However, the undefeated Wildcats are a very talented team and they currently rank second in the SEC in total offense, posting an average of 497.3 yards per game.
Here are the five reasons why the SEC's most dangerous underdog could pull of an upset in Gainesville.
The Gators Are Slow From The Get-Go
For some reason, the adrenaline of a game's opening kickoff isn't enough to get the 2010 Florida Gators going.
So far this season, Urban Meyer's squad has been sluggish and ineffective in the first half, but a powerful juggernaut in the second half.
Florida went scoreless in the opening quarter against Tennessee last Saturday, marking the first time in 15 years that the Gators have failed to score in the first quarter in three consecutive games.
While Florida has managed to pull out victories in their first three games after slow starts, that luck will run out eventually.
The Kentucky Wildcats, on the other hand, have pounced on their opponents early and often this season, averaging 27.3 first-half points in their first three games.
While the Gators may be the more talented team, a bad showing in the first two quarters against the Wildcats will be difficult for them to overcome.
Florida Can Only Hope To Contain The Speedy Randall Cobb
If you were to take a peek at the Florida Gators' defensive game plan for Saturday, it probably focuses mainly on stopping Kentucky junior wide receiver Randall Cobb.
Actually, Florida will probably hope just to contain this electric playmaker.
Serving as a quarterback, wide receiver, running back, and returner for the Wildcats since 2008, Cobb has amassed 3,379 all-purpose yards on 447 touches and 31 touchdowns.
The Gators faced a similar threat in South Florida quarterback B.J. Daniels earlier this season and the results were not pretty.
Granted, the Florida defense shut down Daniels in passing game, limiting him to just five completions in 20 attempts for 84 yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions in a 38-14 victory.
However, Daniels torched the Gator defense in the running game, racking up 107 rushing yards on 17 carries, eluding would-be tacklers throughout the game.
Whenever Cobb is on the field, Florida will do whatever they can to keep him from breaking off a big play.
“I think [Cobb]'s a dynamic player that's going to play at the next level, and I can't wait to get him the heck out of this league,” Urban Meyer said. “That's probably what I told him. I'll tell him that Saturday, too.”
The Revenge-Minded Gators Have Their Sights Set On Tuscaloosa
No matter what the Florida Gators say in the media, they have had this trip to Tuscaloosa circled on their calendars since an embarrassing 32-13 loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game last season derailed their bid to repeat as BCS National Champions.
The revenge-minded Gators are so focused on defeating the Crimson Tide that they debuted a five-man defensive front against Tennessee, which will probably be used to combat 'Bama's dynamic ground duo of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson.
I'm not saying that Urban Meyer and his coaching staff are taking this weekend's matchup with Kentucky lightly, but they surely have already started on their Alabama game plan.
Florida's Winning Streak Has To End Eventually, Right?
With their 41-7 rout of the Wildcats in Lexington last season, the Florida Gators recorded their 23rd consecutive win against Kentucky.
The Gators' current run against the Wildcats is their longest winning streak against any other SEC team, including lowly Vanderbilt.
While many of the 23 wins have been lopsided affairs, Kentucky has come very close to ending the streak on several occasions.
Urban Meyer has made Florida one of the nation's premier college football programs, but in a conference as tough as the SEC, the Gators could easily slip up against a quality opponent like the Wildcats.
With Joker Phillips leading the football program and Kentucky's recent success (four consecutive bowl appearances), they certainly have the a to end their woes against Florida sooner rather than later.
The Gators Don't Have an Offensive Identity
As mentioned in the first slide, the Florida Gators have had trouble scoring in the first quarter.
As a matter of fact, they have had trouble maintaining any kind of consistent offensive production at all in their first three games of the season.
Running back Jeff Demps, who is averaging an astounding 10 yards per touch, has been the only formidable threat on offense and quarterback John Brantley has yet to play up to his full potential.
And the coaches aren't making things any easier.
Offensive coordinator Steve Addazio has come under fire for his playcalling and despite saying publicly that Brantley needs to throw for 200 yards in order for the offense to be successful, Urban Meyer decided to run the ball 49 times against the Volunteers.
To make matters worse, the longest play from scrimmage against Tennessee was a 36-yard run from wide receiver Omarius Hines on a fake punt play.
If the Gators want to beat Kentucky, or any quality opponent for that matter, the coaches need to figure out what they want to do with the offense and the players need to fulfill their roles and play at a high level.