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Florida vs. LSU, Game Thread: Hope and faith in the heart of Death Valley

Can the Gators spring a second straight upset?

NCAA Football: Florida at Louisiana State Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Really, there are two ways this game — this seismic showdown between the Florida Gators and LSU Tigers (8 p.m., ESPN or WatchESPN) — can go.

The first way is the one that Las Vegas and most pundits are predicting, with LSU scoring too many points or stoppering a rickety Florida offense and taking off en route to a meeting with Alabama destined to blot out the history of defense-first clashes between the teams. The winner of that game will then become the national title favorite, a College Football Playoff shoo-in, the SEC’s most likely producer of the next Heisman winner.

That’s not the way we want it to go, obviously. But it’s a way it could go.

The other way is a lot better for Florida. The other way sees Joe Burrow crack under Florida’s intense pressure like he did a year ago, and sees Kyle Trask continue a heroic and historic season of backuppery — or maybe sees Emory Jones sear memories in the minds of Gator Nation — as the Gators win a second straight game against a top-10 SEC West team and put together arguably the best fortnight in program history.

I don’t know which way is more likely, really. I think my preview leans toward LSU. My brain does, too: I think Burrow’s just got too many options and will have too many chances, thanks in part to Florida being unable to sustain drives with its anemic running game.

But my heart is telling me that things that are special and supernatural happen in this series, and that Florida is overdue for a game like that in Death Valley at night.

My head has some hope. My heart has hope and faith.

And you know what hope and faith make one think...

In the interest of keeping on predicting things and in hopes that I might, one day, be able to review them, here are my 25 predictions for this game.

  1. Florida will score in the first quarter.
  2. Kyle Trask will throw for more than 200 yards.
  3. Trask will complete a pass of more than 40 yards.
  4. Trask will account for at least two touchdowns.
  5. Florida players other than Trask will throw more than five passes.
  6. Kyle Pitts will lead Florida in either catches or receiving yards, but not both.
  7. Multiple Florida receivers not named Kyle Pitts will average over 15 yards per catch.
  8. A Florida player who is not a running back will record a rush of 10 or more yards.
  9. A Florida running back will have a run of at least 20 yards.
  10. Florida running backs will combine for fewer than 100 rushing yards.
  11. Florida will record at least five tackles for loss.
  12. Florida will record at least three sacks.
  13. Jabari Zuniga will be responsible for at least a sack.
  14. David Reese will lead Florida in tackles.
  15. A Florida cornerback not named CJ Henderson or Marco Wilson will make a big play.
  16. A Florida safety will be involved in a turnover.
  17. Florida will force at least two turnovers.
  18. Florida will allow points in at least three quarters.
  19. Florida will not allow more than 400 yards.
  20. Florida will allow more than 20 points.
  21. Florida’s defense will allow between 3.0 and 6.0 yards per play.
  22. Both teams will score in double digits.
  23. Florida will lead after halftime.
  24. Florida will cover.
  25. Florida will defeat LSU, 27-24, and run its record to 7-0.

Please behave yourselves in the comments.

And as always: Go Gators!