Tim Tebow, Florida Gators, Miami Hurricanes slated for Tilt in Orlando
In this USA Today file photo, Tim Tebow attempts a pass against the Hurricanes.

Florida Gators, Miami Hurricanes slated for Tilt in Orlando

Week zero is here! The 2019 college football season is less than a week away from kickoff and the Miami Hurricanes will clash with the Florida Gators at Camping World Stadium in Orlando on Saturday, August 24th.

Miami’s new head coach, Manny Diaz will look to start his tenure off with a bang and shock the nation by beating the 8th ranked Florida Gators. Second year Gators’ head coach Dan Mullen will be down on the sidelines looking to thwart any plans of an upset, though. Mullen is coming into this year looking to follow up his impressive campaign last season and get his Gator’s in the College Football Playoff in 2019.

There is a case to be made for either team to leave Saturday with a win. Will the Gators get off to the hot start they need to put them on the path of claiming their fourth national championship or will the Hurricanes storm through and put those national championship dreams to rest?

The Case for the Hurricanes

The Hurricanes come into this game the underdogs and for good reason. Last week to the surprise of many Miami’s head coach, Manny Diaz named red shirt freshman, Jarren Williams the starting QB for this week’s match-up. The lack of experience under center isn’t ideal against a defense that ranked 13th in passing yards allowed last season.

Even though the cards are stacked against them it isn’t impossible to believe that Miami could pull off the upset. For the Hurricanes to win this game their going to have to rely on their defense. Last season Miami had the top ranked pass defense in college football and ranked 4th in total defense. Miami’s defense also possesses a lot of experience amongst its players. Their three starting linebackers, Zach McCloud, Shaquille Quarterman, and Michael Pinckney are all seniors and will provide a high level of leadership on defense.

The experience doesn’t stop there, Miami’s defense isn’t slotted to have a single freshman start for them on Saturday which means there’s some level of experience at every defensive position. One of Miami’s biggest strengths to capitalize on will be their defensive line against the Gator’s very inexperienced offensive line. Only one of the five starters on Florida’s offensive line from last season are returning and their depth at the o-line consists of 8 freshmen.

Meanwhile, Miami’s defensive line is so deep that they have talked about rotating 10-12 bodies along their defensive front. If Miami can rotate that many players on their defensive line, those fresh legs against Florida’s inexperienced offensive line could be the difference maker in the trenches.

The ‘Canes’ secondary will have to capitalize on any mistakes Florida’s offense makes to keep the contest low scoring. The way to win for Miami will be to keep the game tight and not have to rely on an offense that lacks any true threats and is relying on a freshman quarterback.

On offense Miami will need to depend on their rushing attack, featuring RB DeeJay Dallas, to lead the offensive unit against Florida’s defense. The combination of Dallas and backup running back Cam’Ron Harris will provide the Hurricanes with a solid one two punch that should help take pressure from young Williams as he looks to lead the Miami Hurricanes to a win against the University of Florida Saturday night.

The Case for the Gators

The Florida Gators are the favorites in Orlando, and for good reason. They come into this season ranked 8th, and possess a very highly touted defense to pair with a peaking Feleipe Franks led attack. Franks will be returning to play under center and will have an array of wide receivers to throw the ball too.

Florida will make the short trip to Camping World Stadium with a very impressive receiving group in tow, led by senior Van Jefferson and junior Josh Hammond. Last season both receivers ranked in the top 4 amongst SEC receivers in drop rate, according to Pro Football Focus, with Hammond not recording a single drop. That’s not even touching on Kadarius Toney, the electrifying play maker that also returns this year.

Florida’s offense could have a tough night against Miami’s frugal defense, but they may not need to score many points to leave OTown with a win. Florida’s impressive secondary led by standout C. J. Henderson will look to take advantage of Jarren Williams lack of experience. Last season Henderson absolutely shut down opposing receivers not allowing a single touchdown reception. I don’t see the story being any different Saturday night.

Miami has an above average rushing attack but UF’s front seven should have an easy enough time shutting the run down once they expose Miami’s air attack. I do not think it is out of the question to think that the Gator’s defense holds the Hurricanes without a touchdown on opening night and put the rest of the nation’s offenses on notice. Look for Florida to spread the ball out to their receivers and hand the ball off to senior back, Lamical Perine to give them a very balanced offensive attack.

Prediction:

I think that this season opening game will be more of a defensive battle then a scoring frenzy. With both teams possessing strong defenses, the game will ultimately come down to which offense will be able to persevere and expose the opposing defenses’ weaknesses as the game goes on.

Florida will have their hands full against Miami’s deep defensive line but the difference in experience at QB will be the difference in this game. Franks with the help of his reliable receivers should be able to score enough to keep the game just out of reach for Jarren Williams and the rest of Miami’s offense.

I don’t predict many flashy numbers from any single offensive player in this game, but see the Gator’s spreading the ball out, maintaining possession throughout the game, and capitalizing time of possession on those long drives with enough points to seal the deal.

My prediction for Saturday night is that the Gator’s head into their bye week with a win. Miami’s defense will keep them in the game, but the offense will never be able to help close the gap.

Final Score Prediction:

Florida Gators – 24
Miami Hurricanes – 6

Aaron Breeding is a contributor to Post to Post Links II error: No link found for term slug "feud-sports".
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