Week 7 - Florida at Vanderbilt

Posted Oct 10, 2012

Week 7 Fearless Predictions - Florida at Vanderbilt

Florida (5-0) at Vanderbilt (2-3) Oct. 13, 6:00, ESPNU

Here's The Deal: October 15th, 1988. 21 years ago. That was just one of two times since 1974 that Vanderbilt was able to beat Florida, but this time an upset would really, really hurt the Gators.

Florida has everything rolling in Will Muschamp's second year with a tremendous defense that shut down LSU and Kentucky cold over the last two weeks and with a bruising, nasty offense that's doing exactly what it needs to. If winning at Texas A&M and Tennessee set the tone, then the win over the Tigers was the moment of arrival. All the talent amassed by Urban Meyer over a few great recruiting classes, and with Muschamp's work starting to kick in, this is a superior team that's starting to jell at just the right time.

And now it's up to Vanderbilt to screw it up.

The Commodores gave South Carolina fits in the opener, but a collapse to Northwestern and a blowout loss to Georgia seemed to put everything in its proper place. But just when everything appeared to be getting dark, the team came up with a strange but excellent win over Missouri in Columbia to kick in hopes for a bowl game. With winnable games against Auburn, UMass, Kentucky and Wake Forest ahead, an upset over the Gators could be the catalyst to something special.

Why Florida Might Win: Vanderbilt might have beaten Missouri, but it's not like the offense worked. The running game struggled a bit and Jordan Rodgers was just okay, and it's asking for way too much for a struggling attack to suddenly kick it all in against a defense that hasn't allowed a touchdown over the last two games. The Gators allowed a few passing yards early in the year, but Rodgers isn't a playmaker like Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and Tennessee's Tyler Bray and the speed and aggressiveness of the defensive front should keep everything under wraps. This isn't going to be the time when the Commodores all of a sudden find something special with an offensive line that struggled to generate any sort of a push against the South Carolina or Georgia defensive fronts.

Why Vanderbilt Might Win: It's not like Florida is lighting up the offensive stat sheet. This is a very good, very effective attack that relies on a brutish line and third down conversions. There's no downfield passing game to speak of with everything staying nice and conservative so the defense can take care of the heavy lifting. Vandy's pass defense has been stellar so far outside of a five-touchdown torching from Aaron Murray and Georgia - Florida isn't going to start bombing away this week – and there's a good chance the field will get very, very long. The Gators are getting a great year from Kyle Christy and the punting game, but Vandy's Richard Kent should be able to match him boot for boot averaging just over 45 yards per try.

What To Watch Out For: It's time to start putting Mike Gillislee in the All-America discussion. There are flashier backs and there are more statistically productive runners, but the Florida senior has been a godsend for the attack with his tough, power running and his consistent effectiveness. LSU's defensive front isn't allowing much of anything this year on the ground, but behind the bruising offensive line Gillislee was able to grind out 146 yards and two scores on 34 carries. It was his third 100-yard day and third two touchdown performance of the season. Considering the Commodores gave up over 100 yards to Georgia's Todd Gurley and South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore, Gilislee should be a lock to put up big numbers again.

What Will Happen: Florida won't have any problems. The defense will camp out in the Commodore backfield and the offense will dominate the time of possession. Expect over 250 yards of Gator rushing yards with the combination of Gillislee and quarterback Jeff Driskel ripping off yards in chunks.

CFN Prediction: Florida 38 … Vanderbilt 10
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Florida -8.5 O/U: 40
Must Watch Rating (5 – Argo, 1 – Pitch Perfect): 2