Florida vs. Florida State: Pick, prediction, spread, odds, football game time, watch live stream, TV channel

By Adam Silverstein
November 27, 2021
Florida vs. Florida State: Pick, prediction, spread, odds, football game time, watch live stream, TV channel

Image Credit: Michael Nash

The end of a season many wish could be forgotten arrives Saturday as the Florida Gators host the Florida State Seminoles in the 65th addition of their rivalry. With both teams at 5-6 seeking bowl eligibility while hoping to avoid losing seasons (UF’s first since 2017, FSU’s fourth straight) there is some added juice to a game that otherwise would not have much going for it.

The Gators are reeling as losers of four straight and six of the last eight games against FBS competition. The Seminoles, meanwhile, have won five of their last even games overall after starting the season 0-4. In other words, the in-state rivals are headed in completely different directions entering the regular-season finale.

Adding complexity for Florida is the unknown status of redshirt junior quarterback Emory Jones, who has started 10 of 11 games this season but injured his ankle in practice this week. Jones was first expected to miss the game before being cleared to dress. Despite that — and reports that redshirt freshman QB Anthony Richardson would make his second career start after himself dealing with a string of random injuries throughout the season — Jones was announced as the starter through the public address system before the game.

With Dan Mullen fired last week, special teams coordinator and running backs coach Greg Knox takes over as UF’s interim coach. Though Knox is another of the Gators’ embattled assistants, he’s well-liked by the players and experienced in an interim role, winning a bowl game with Mississippi State after Mullen left for Florida after the 2017 season.

With recruiting still cratering and plenty of questions surrounding the program — including who the Gators will hire as their next coach — Florida could certainly use a big win in this spot to end the season on a positive note, add a dozen bowl practices to their schedule and set the stage for a potential turnaround this summer. It may feel unlikely to some, but anything can happen in a rivalry game.

What will go down Saturday when Florida hosts Florida State? Let’s find out.

Tale of the tape

Florida GatorsFlorida State Seminoles
Head coachGreg Knox (interim)Mike Norvell

Injuries and absences

Probable (1): QB Emory Jones (ankle)
Questionable (4): LB Jeremiah Moon (undisclosed), DL Daquan Newkirk (undisclosed), OL Ethan White (ankle), Jadarrius Perkins (Undiclosed)
Out for season (3): LB Ventrell Miller (torn biceps) CB Jaydon Hill (knee), DB Kamar Wilcoxson (knee)
Notable inactives (?): To be announced before kickoff

Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Nov. 27 | Time: 12 p.m. ET
Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium — Gainesville, Florida [88,548]

TV: ESPN (Mark Jones, Robert Griffin III, Quint Kessenich)
Live stream: WatchESPN | SiriusXM: 158/194 | Radio: WRUF, TuneIn
Live updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Game notes

» Florida is 36-26-2 all-time against Florida State with a 21-12-1 mark in The Swamp. The Gators have won consecutive games by an average of 25 points.
» UF and FSU did not play last season amid the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the SEC into a conference-only schedule. It was the first time the rivals did not battle on the gridiron since it began in 1958. As such, consecutive games are being played in the same location (Gainesville) for the first time since the initial six games of the series (1958-63).
» Since the start of the 2018 season, Florida is 24-6 when scoring first, 27-3 when leading at halftime, 30-3 when leading after the third quarter, 23-1 when allowing 20 points or fewer and 26-2 when outrushing its opponents. The negative marks in those last two statistics have come this season to Kentucky (both) and Alabama, respectively.
» UF is 7-12 when being outrushed by an opponent and 6-8 in games decided by 10 points or less since 2018.
» Florida is 6-10 against ranked opponents (2-4 vs. top five teams, 4-7 vs. top 10 teams) and 26-7 against unranked teams since 2018. It is also 13-1 against nonconference opponents.
» The Gators have scored 24+ points in 33 of their last 40 games. However, they have not scored 24 points against an FBS opponent since Oct. 16.
» Florida is one of two FBS teams nationally (Alabama) that has not yet lost to an opponent that finished the season with a losing record since 2004.
» UF has scored in 421 consecutive games, an NCAA record.

Prediction and analysis

Spread: Florida -2 | O/U: 59

There is no reason to believe the Gators are going to win this game. Not only is the team trending down in a massive way, it has lost its head coach, defensive coordinator and a veteran assistant to firings before kickoff. On top of that, Richardson looks to be just starting his second career game despite not playing much this season. The Seminoles, meanwhile, are on a tremendous uptick as of late with wins in five of their last seven games.

And yet, in a season of complete unpredictability, given I am literally forced to make predictions in this space, there’s just something internal that tells me Florida is going to win this game. Perhaps it’s a long-standing history of college football teams rallying together behind interim coaches. Maybe it’s a belief that this senior class sees this as a final chance to end their college careers on a high note. It could also just be the idea of a rivalry game in The Swamp that has me leaning toward the Gators. Florida is better than it has looked, and Florida State has lucked out against a couple weak opponents down the stretch here. Doing it through gritted teeth, I’m siding with UF in this spot and expecting the total to fall under.

2021 records: ATS picks 3-8 | O/U picks 4-6-1

Odds and ends

» Uniforms: Florida will wear blue jerseys, blue pants and orange helmets. (This is my favorite uniform combination.)

» Senior Day: There will be 27 Gators honored before kickoff as Senior Day is celebrated in The Swamp. Among them are 18 scholarship players, many of whom have been significant contributors to Florida football over their four or five years with the program.

Look for the following names as they are honored Saturday on Florida Field: Brandon Becar, Lacedrick Brunson, Amari Burney, Zachary Carter, Jace Christmann, Coleman Crozier, Malik Davis, Trey Dean III, Jean Delance, Chase DeMichele, Kemore Gamble, Chris Howard, Dylan Meeks, Ventrell Miller, Jeremiah Moon, Patrick Moorer, Daquan Newkirk, Dameon Pierce, Jordan Pouncey, Stewart Reese, Isaac Ricks, Randy Russell, Nicolas Sutton, Tyrone Truesdell, Joshua Tse, Antonio Valentino, Rick Wells

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