Florida vs. Texas A&M: Prediction, pick, line, odds, live stream, watch online, TV channel, game preview

By Adam Silverstein
October 14, 2017
Florida vs. Texas A&M: Prediction, pick, line, odds, live stream, watch online, TV channel, game preview
Football

The Florida Gators will play a night game in The Swamp for the first time this season as they host the Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday. Both teams are fresh off tough, relatively close losses and are meeting for the first time since the 2012 season. In fact, this is TAMU’s first ever trip to UF.

Here’s what you need to know and how you can watch Florida-Texas A&M.


Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Oct. 14 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, Florida [Capacity: 88,548]

TV: ESPN2 (Beth Mowins, Anthony Becht, Rocky Boiman)
Live stream: WatchESPN.com | Watch ESPN apps
SiriusXM: 119, 192 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Tale of the tape

Florida Gators Texas A&M Aggies
Head coach Jim McElwain Kevin Sumlin
Record 3-2 (3-1 SEC) 4-2 (2-1 SEC)
Conference Southeastern Southeastern

Four things to know

1. Not all quarterbacks are created equal: Even the good ones. Sometimes, even extremely talented signal callers simply need more than a year on the pine and a handful of games to show their true ability. This may well be the case regarding redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks, who has been adequate for Florida because of his big arm and ability to take care of the ball but has not done much more than that yet for the Gators. Fans may want UF to have a freshman phenom like many other teams around the country do or have in recent years, but Franks right now remains too green. He locks onto his primary target on each passing play and does not read through his progressions. Whether that is a chronic problem or a sign of his youth and inexperience is something that simply cannot be known at this point. What does not help Franks is the fact that the pieces around him are not exactly getting or staying on the field.

2. Why the offense is not improving: You may not like to hear this, but the problem with Florida’s offense is not coordinator Doug Nussmeier. It’s also not McElwain. While neither of the aforementioned men are perfect and Nussmeier certainly deserves his fair share of criticism, they have also completely changed their play calling and brought some inventive tweaks to the Gators’ playbook coming out of their abhorrent start in a season opening loss to Michigan. Here is the truth: Florida entered the season down its top two playmakers due to suspension. It found and developed three more over the last few weeks, and two of them are now out due to injury, leaving freshman running back Malik Davis as the lone true game changer who is truly healthy. Do you know how different this offense would look with all five players on the field at the same time complemented by guys like redshirt senior wide receiver Brandon Powell and a bulldozer in sophomore RB Lamichal Perine — instead of UF relying on those guys to be the entire offense?

3. The defense has not been fixed: Don’t kid yourself because Florida held LSU to 17 points a week ago. There is still a long way to go with a defense that is the worst the Gators have put on the field since 2007 and likely well prior to that. Not only is the unit as a whole young — and getting younger each week due to injuries — is has been under-recruited for two years since Will Muschamp left and McElwain took over. You are now seeing those deficiencies now. When all the players from Ron Zook’s recruiting classes departed following the 2006 national championship season, Florida’s defense fell off in a major way but saw a bunch of five- and four-star Urban Meyer recruits get extensive playing time and suddenly bounce back as one of the nation’s top units in 2008. That will not be the case here. Yes, there are a lot of players who have been thrust into action earlier than planned that will benefit from that experience, but the talent level is not the same for most of them save for a handful like cornerback Marco Wilson. The linebackers are still ridiculously thin and UF is going to have problems the rest of the year.

4. The Aggies are no slouches: The oddsmakers seem to disagree based on their line for this game, but even with the homefield advantage at night, the Gators should not be favored against a Texas A&M team that has proven it can put up points in bunches against bad defense. Yes, TAMU may only have posted 24 against Nicholls State, but it ran up 44 in a tough season opening loss at UCLA, 50 in an overtime win against Arkansas and even 19 in a close loss to Alabama. Florida seemed to underestimate LSU coming off its loss to Troy, but it should not do the same here to a team that could legitimately come into The Swamp and rout the hosts if they’re not careful.

Prediction and analysis

Spread: Florida -3 | O/U: 50

Florida deserved to be favored over LSU a week ago, but man, it should not be against a Texas A&M team that put up a legitimate fight at Alabama and saw its lone other loss coming on the road at UCLA to open the season on a fake spike touchdown that should not have counted. Sumlin’s team may not be blowing opponents out of the water this season, but it is talented and healthy — descriptors that do not necessarily fit UF at this time.

I would have the Aggies as a slight favorite on the road in The Swamp and project them to win by 4-7 points on Saturday. Remember: The Gators will be without another veteran defensive back and possibly their top three wide receivers, which encompass three of the team’s top four playmakers overall.

Though I have previously picked Florida not to cover at home, I am not sure I’ve ever predicted UF losing outright in The Swamp. Suffice to say, this team is tough to believe in considering what’s happening on both sides of the ball right now. It should be kept relatively close, however, and I’m not sure points will be plentiful so the under is probably the play.

2017 records: ATS picks 3-2 | O/U picks 4-1

Injuries and absences

Suspended (9): WR Antonio Callaway, RB Jordan Scarlett, DL Keivonnis Davis, DL Richerd Desir-Jones, DL Jordan Smith, WR Rick Wells, LB James Houston IV, LB Ventrell Miller, OL Kadeem Telfort

Probable (3): DB Chauncey Gardner (ankle), LB Jeremiah Moon (undisclosed), LG Brett Heggie (concussion)
Questionable (5): WR Tyrie Cleveland (high-ankle sprain), RB Mark Thompson (heel), DE Jabari Zuniga (ankle), CB Duke Dawson (illness), TE Moral Stephens (undisclosed)
Doubtful (1): WR Kadarius Toney (separated shoulder)
Out (4): DB Nick Washington (shoulder) WR James Robinson (heart), QB Luke Del Rio (collarbone – season), DB Marcell Harris (Achilles – season)

Game notes

» Florida is 2-1 all-time against Texas A&M. The teams meet as SEC opponents for just the second time with the Gators previously beating the Aggies on the road in 2012. It is TAMU’s first time playing at UF since 1962, a game the hosts won.
» This is Florida’s first night game in The Swamp against an SEC opponent since Oct. 3, 2015 when UF hosted Ole Miss.
» McElwain is 13-2 at home after last week’s loss to LSU.
» The Gators have neither forced a turnover since Sept. 16 nor committed one since Sept. 23.
» Florida is 214-12 since 1990 when an opponent scores 21 points or fewer in a contest, including 19-1 under McElwain.
» Also under McElwain, the Gators are 18-2 against unranked opponents and 4-7 against ranked opponents. UF is 16-0 when outrushing an opponent, 18-4 when scoring first, 16-2 when leading at half and 10-1 when winning the turnover battle. UF is 9-2 under him in one-possession games and 13-8 in games decided by eight points or more.
» Florida owns the nation’s longest streak of returning either a kickoff or punt for a touchdown, doing so in 12 consecutive seasons. It has yet to do so in 2017.
» The Gators have the second-most wins in the nation since 1990 (261).
» Florida has scored in 366 straight games, the longest active streak in the nation and longest streak all-time.
» McElwain is the first coach in SEC history to play for the conference title in his first two seasons at the helm of his program.

Uniforms

Florida will wear a set of alternate uniforms in a color other than blue, orange or white for the first time in program history. The “swamp green” alternates are made to make the Gators look like real alligators with scales on the jersey, undershirt and cleats. Check out the pictures below.


One Comment

  1. SW Fl Joe says:

    Texas A&M lost to UF on Florida Field 42 to 6 on October 13, 1962

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