While the defense is Florida’s backbone, the consensus is they won’t be anywhere near the title discussion if their offense takes a step back. The SP+ is confident enough in UF’s offense to have them ranked 12th ahead of this fall. If Kyle Trask can keep Florida’s offense humming, they have nothing to worry about. However, losing a decent amount of receivers paired with a style of play that’s reliant on yards after the catch screams he’s due to regress in 2020. And if the Gators’ ground game remains terrible, that might be all she wrote. While Florida may have gotten a pass defensively, half of their opponents are ranked top 20 with three others being good enough to be top 40. Only Vanderbilt and Arkansas fall outside of that range at this point in time. Florida might be a trendy pick to represent the East with the league’s easiest schedule, but their success hinges on their offense picking up where it left off.
It’s Mullen’s side of the ball, then, that’s the key. Interesting.
Georgia @ Florida: Projected Margin Georgia by 2.5
Like you would except from a rivalry game of this magnitude feature the East’s top 2 teams, the SP+ figures the Florida-Georgia game will be highly contested. It truly could go either way; but as of today, the Dawgs are projected to win by about a field goal. Florida enters as the more well-rounded team. Both its offense and defense rank top 12 in the initial SP+. Georgia, of course, is led by is dominant defense. Like last year, passing should present Florida its best path to victory. Even if the Gators fix their ground game, Georgia’s formidable front stands to be the best against the run in the conference. On a down-to-down basis in SEC play last year, the Dawgs were average versus the pass. Kyle Trask has to rise to this occasion if he wants the honor to be the SEC’s QB1. On the other side of the ball, Todd Grantham’s prudence with blitzes might allow Georgia to take advantage of Florida’s defense on early downs. With the 2nd-worst Pressure Rate, Florida’s opponents were allowed to be more surgical though the air. The Gators finished with a bottom 6 Defensive Passing Success Rate in league play. Still, Florida stands to win if their offense shows up bests Kirby Smart’s bunch.
In last year’s meeting, Georgia made Florida one-dimensional on offense and rode that to a win behind what I hope was a worse offense than Grantham will seek to control this year. I do think his last sentence is accurate. It’s just that I don’t see that happening.