Missouri Tigers @ Florida Gators (12:00 ET)
Favorite: Gators -11
Missouri was THIS close to pulling the upset of the season against Georgia in Columbia last week. Up 10 points with less than 10 minutes to play, the Bulldogs finally found their offense and pulled away to secure a 26-22 victory. If you thought that wasn’t painful enough for Missouri fans, the week before they lost to Auburn in overtime by fumbling on their first play after holding Auburn to a field goal. It’s been a rough go for Missouri fans, but they’re a few plays away from a 4-1 record.
Moral victories mean nothing, and the reality is the Tigers sit at 2-3 and face a hungry Florida team in the swamp now. Desperate to turn the season around, the Tigers will again have to lean on their defense that held Georgia and Auburn to a combined 43 points to hold their ground against the ground attack of Florida. What’s promising for the Tigers is that they’ve faced many mobile quarterbacks already this year, and they’ve all been better than Richardson! Stetson Bennett and Adrian Martinez give Missouri practice and intel in how to stop the read option and scrambling ability, and I expect them to utilize it again Saturday.
Unfortunately, the Tigers offense is putrid. Against power five schools this year they’ve managed just 48 points through 12 quarters, or 16 points a game. While they had the lead against Georgia, they were held to under 300 total yards and only gained 312 against Auburn. Florida’s defense isn’t world beaters, but they’re no slouches either and need to have this win before a tough stretch including LSU, Georgia, and Texas A&M in a row.
I don’t know if we’ll get enough of a Missouri offense to upset the Gators in The Swamp, but their defense should give them every opportunity to. I’ll take this game to be a sweaty under due to underwhelming quarterback play and solid defenses.
Pick: u54.5 -110 (1.5u)
Duke Blue Devils @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (4:00 ET)
Favorite: Duke -3.5
Georgia Tech has had one of the most difficult schedules to date, facing Ole Miss, Clemson, UCF, and Pittsburgh in their first five games. While they failed the first three tests to the tune of an aggregate 110-20 score, they were able to upset Pittsburgh in their last contest. Now, Pitt’s offense has been horrible due to injuries and the inability to replace skill players from last year. While the Panthers have their offensive line back, their Kenny Pickett replacement get injured early and they haven’t been able to find their feet.
The Blue Devils have been a pleasant surprise offensively, and while they don’t have the schedule that Georgia Tech does, they’ve largely looked great. Averaging 35 points per game behind Riley Leonard’s steady leadership at quarterback, the Blue Devils have been able to put up points on everyone they’ve played. Given Georgia Tech’s ineptitude offensively, I doubt they’re able to keep up with the Blue Devils through four quarters. There’s a reason the Yellow Jackets were picked to finish last, and this game will fulfill the prophecy.