Way back in 2015, when this road trip to Arkansas in November was announced, Florida fans began more than a year of self-loathing worry about the Gators’ chances of prevailing in Fayetteville.
Arkansas is a good, strong team, we thought. Arkansas always plays well in November. Arkansas should match up well with the Gators.
Now, on the day of the game, I’m not so sure.
This Arkansas team is not either of the ones from 2014 and 2015 that posted a combined 5-3 — not 8-0, not 7-1, not 6-2, but 5-3 — record in the 11th month. It’s worse: These Razorbacks are No. 59 in S&P+, and have three wins over FBS teams by a combined eight points; S&P+ thinks the Hogs should be 2-6, with wins over Texas State and Alcorn State.
These Hogs have been gutted by the run, ranking a dismal No. 125 — of 128 FBS teams — in defensive Rushing S&P+, and giving up 6.4 yards per carry, a full foot more per tote than any other FBS team has allowed this year. They’re not that much better against the pass, except in the sense that it’s easy to be better than the worst.
Arkansas can throw the ball, with Austin Allen stepping in capably for his brother Brandon as Bret Bielema’s field general. But Allen has thrown for 13 touchdowns against three picks in five wins; he’s thrown for just five scores against four interceptions in three losses, and completed just under 58 percent of his passes in those contests.
And the Hogs’ running game shows an even bigger win/loss split. Arkansas is averaging just under five yards per carry in its victories, but just over two yards per carry in its defeats. Given that Florida has permitted exactly three yards per carry all year, that seems like an advantage for the Gators.
There are reasons to fear this game, given Florida’s wobbly road performances and the uneven play of Luke Del Rio, especially since his return from a knee injury. But I think there are more reasons to believe in this team on this day.
We’ll see if I’m right.
Here are my 25 predictions for Florida-Arkansas.
- Florida will score at least 28 points.
- Both teams will score in double digits.
- A team will lead by double digits at some point in the second half.
- Luke Del Rio will throw for at least 175 yards.
- Del Rio will commit no more than two turnovers.
- Jordan Scarlett will lead Florida in carries.
- Scarlett will also lead Florida in rushing yards.
- At least one Florida running back will run for more than five yards per carry.
- Antonio Callaway will lead Florida in yards per catch and receiving yards.
- Tyrie Cleveland will have a reception of more than 40 yards.
- Florida will record at least two touchdown passes.
- Florida will record rushing and passing touchdowns.
- Caleb Brantley will record a sack.
- Florida will record at least three sacks.
- Alex Anzalone and Jarrad Davis will combine for more than 15 tackles.
- Daniel McMillian will have at least three tackles.
- Quincy Wilson will make a big play.
- Florida will record at least one interception.
- Florida will allow fewer than 280 yards.
- Florida will allow fewer than 20 points.
- Florida’s defense will allow fewer than 5.0 yards per play.
- Florida will force at least two turnovers.
- Florida will win the turnover battle.
- Florida will not trail in the fourth quarter.
- Florida will win, 34-17.
Your predictions and comments, as always, are welcomed. A reminder: Please be kind and treat your fellow commenters as you would your siblings.