No. 10 Florida Gators football returns home for the first time in a month to host the Vanderbilt Commodores. The Gators have an opportunity to clinch the SEC East crown and a trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game, while the ‘Dores hope to keep hope for a similar fate alive.
Here’s a look ahead at Saturday’s game: what to know and how to watch Florida-Vanderbilt.
Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, Florida [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather: 84°F, mostly sunny (0% chance of rain), winds SE at 5 mph
Time: 12:00 p.m. EST
TV: ESPN (Beth Mowins, Anthony Becht, Paul Carcaterra)
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter
Tale of the tape
|No. 10 Florida Gators||Vanderbilt Commodores|
|Head Coach: Jim McElwain||Head Coach: Derek Mason|
|Record: 7-1 (5-1 SEC)||Record: 3-5 (1-3 SEC)|
|Conference: Southeastern||Conference: Southeastern|
Spread: Florida -21 | O/U: 37
Though Florida has proven to be capable of dominating opponents (beating Ole Miss by 28, Missouri by 18, Georgia by 24), an argument can be made that none of the aforementioned teams has a defense as talented as that of Vanderbilt. One of the top 25 units in the nation, the Commodores present a tough challenge for a Gators offense that was less than stellar last week.
Though Vanderbilt gave up 34 on the road to No. 18 Houston last week, it has held six of eight opponents this year to 30 points or fewer (Georgia, 31). For Florida to cover the spread (-21) and the game to go over the total (37), the Gators would have to buck that trend in a major way.
There are so many factors pointing to this being a low-scoring game: kickoff time (UF’s first before 3:30 p.m. all season), homecoming weekend, two great defenses, VU’s awful offense. As such, I would not touch either of these numbers. But since we must, I’ll side with Vanderbilt ATS as expecting Florida to cover such a big spread in an early game is a lot to ask. Regarding the total, perhaps a late defensive touchdown pushes it over, but I doubt it. Really though, these are both toss-ups.
ATS picks: 6-1-1 | O/U picks: 5-3
Injuries and absences
» Probable (2): Offensive lineman Martez Ivey (knee), kicker Austin Hardin (hip)
» Questionable (1): Linebacker Jeremi Powell (undisclosed)
» Doubtful (5): Offensive lineman David Sharpe (foot), defensive backs Chris Williamson (leg) and Kylan Johnson (ankle), defensive tackle Thomas Holley (hip), linebacker Matt Rolin (undisclosed)
» Out (2): LB Alex Anzalone (shoulder), quarterback Will Grier (suspension)
— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) November 7, 2015
The team captains, which change weekly, are solely responsible for choosing the uniforms ahead of each game.
» Florida is 36-10-2 all-time against Vanderbilt, 19-2-1 in Gainesville and 23-1 overall since 1988. The Gators held a 22-game winning streak over the Commodores, which was snapped the last the VU visited UF in 2013.
» The Gators are 10-2-1 all-time against the ‘Dores on homecoming.
» With back-to-back road games, a bye week and a neutral-site contest, Florida has not played at home in a full month.
» The Gators can clinch the SEC East title and advance to the SEC Championship Game for the first time since 2009 with a victory on Saturday. Should Florida lose, it would also win the league crown and advance to the title game with a victory at South Carolina next week.
» This is the sixth season that Florida started 6-0 dating back to 1995. The Gators finished the previous five seasons with at least 11 wins.
» McElwain is the first UF coach since Galen Hall (1984) to win the first six games of his career at the school.
» Florida returned to the top 10 of the AP Top 25 for the first time since the 2013 preseason and was placed in the College Football Playoff Rankings for the first time since its inception in 2014.
» The Gators’ defense has been a hallmark of the program; it is 200-11 since 1990 when an opponent scores 21 points or fewer in a contest.
» Florida’s defense has forced the most turnovers in the SEC since 2000 (415).
» UF’s +13 turnover margin is the best in the SEC and second-best nationally.
» The Gators own the nation’s longest streak of returning either a kickoff or punt for a touchdown, doing so in 11 straight seasons, including 2015.
» Florida is one of only four teams nationally to play three or more consecutive games away from home in 2015 (Arkansas, Arkansas State, Louisiana-Monroe). UF continues that trek Saturday against Georgia.
» Florida has the second-most wins in the nation since 1990 (246, Ohio State – 254).