Week 4 - Kentucky at Florida

Posted Sep 20, 2012

Week 4 CFN Fearless Prediction – Kentucky at Florida

Kentucky (1-2) at Florida (3-0) Sept. 22, 12:00, SEC Network

Here's The Deal: Florida has beaten Kentucky 25 times in a row and 31 of the last 32 years with the last gaffe coming in 1986. It's going to take something very, very special to keep the generational streak from continuing.

Florida might not be sexy, but no one has two better wins so far this season than back-to-back victories in wild environments at Texas A&M and Tennessee. The Gators pound on offense, they beat people up on defense, and they're doing enough of the little things right to get to 3-0 with the potential to be the IT team over the next few weeks. If Florida can be Florida and Kentucky can be Kentucky, there will be a two week hype fest before LSU comes to Gainesville.

The Wildcats have shown flashes with the SEC's leading passing game and an offense that appears to be starting to come into its own, but the defense hasn't been able to come up with a key stop, and after an overtime home loss to Western Kentucky, everyone is a little bit grouchy. UK will be the big underdog in each of the last six games before getting Vanderbilt in the beginning of November. Head coach Joker Phillips could badly use a big win to turn around the momentum, but that would be fighting upstream on talent as well as history.

Why Kentucky Might Win: It's not like the Gators are doing much of anything down the field. Florida is powering the ball on everyone, but the passing game is 13th in the SEC and 106th in the nation averaging just 176 yards per throw. The offensive line isn't doing a good enough job keeping Jeff Driskel upright allowing nine sacks so far, so if there's any way the pass rush that's been a plus over the first three games can hang out in the backfield, the Florida passing attack might not get anything going. On the flip side, UK has been bombing away averaging 322 yards per game. It's not an efficient attack, but it's effective.

Why Florida Might Win: Can the Wildcat defensive front hold up against the Florida power game? Florida's M.O. has been to bang, bang, bag and wear teams down. The D has already gone against a bomber in Tennessee's Tyler Bray, and it survived and moved on against Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel; Smith isn't going to throw anything crazy into the equation. The Gator secondary has been terrific under the pressure facing good quarterbacks in all three games, but the key will be the offensive front that's been shaky in pass protection, but great at blasting away averaging 233 yards per game. Kentucky is 117th in the nation in time of possession holding on to the ball for 23:54, while Florida is ninth in the nation keeping it for close to 34 minutes an outing.

What To Watch Out For: So who is sophomore Maxwell Smith? He's a big, strong passer with 6-4, 220-pound size and a terrific arm, and now he's starting to grow into the job throwing for 354 yards and four scores against Kent State and 322 yards and two touchdowns against Western Kentucky. However, he threw four picks against the Hilltoppers that turned into a big problem in the shocking upset. Senior La'Rod King has been the main man on the other end of the passes catching 23 passes for 214 yards, but he only has two scores. More steady than spectacular, he should grow into the No. 1 role.

What Will Happen: Never mess with a streak. Kentucky has a puncher's chance of blowing up with the passing game and making life interesting for the Gators, but the run defense won't be able to hold up.

CFN Prediction: Florida 34 … Kentucky 17
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Florida -24 O/U: 51.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ray Lewis: A Football Life, 1 – Frankenweenie): 2.5