Florida vs. Vanderbilt prediction roundtable with the Campus Insiders staff. Breaking down what will happen in Saturday’s SEC East matchup between the Gators and Commodores.
Florida simply can’t afford to lose this one – and it won’t. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Gators won’t struggle a little bit at first. Vanderbilt won’t be able to keep up talent-wise at the end, which ultimately will be the difference. Austin Appleby needs a big game after being held down by the play-calling in last week’s loss to Tennessee.
This is a no-win situation for the Gators. If they lose, then the sky is officially falling in Gainesville. If they win a tight one, fans and media will really start digging in on the team’s conservative play calling. If they blow the Commodores out, well, that was expected. All downside, little upside. This will be a sluggish, plodding contest with Vanderbilt holding tough through the first 30 minutes. The Gators will pull away in the second half and, despite the loss, Vandy will feel like it’s a team figuring things out while Florida leaves with more questions in tow.
Gators roll. That ball hawking defense will dominate a defunct Vanderbilt offense. Gators will pound the football early and then Austin Appleby will find his healthy, elite weapon Antonio Calloway several times for the big play. Florida has won 24 of the last 25 against Vandy. Gators cover 10 and they win.
Well, the performance against Tennessee was an absolute train wreck in the second half. But don’t expect that to be the case this time around. Florida owns Vandy, and Doug Nussmeier isn’t going to handcuff Austin Appleby late in the game like he did last week. The defense will be refreshed and ready to go. Jordan Scarlett and Mark Thompson will go off on the ground. The Gators will win by at least three possessions in a game they’re supposed to win.
The Gators probably wanted to get back on the field immediately after the meltdown against the Vols last week, so expect this team to start fast in Nashville and get back on track. Expect UF to focus on the run early and often, which will open up the offense for Austin Appleby to move the ball through the air. Vandy will struggle against a fierce UF defense that disappeared in the second half against the Vols. The Gators will win fairly easily and begin to forget–just a little bit–about last week’s disaster.