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Florida vs. Miami: A preview through 25 predictions

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If Florida does what is expected, the Gators will leave Orlando with a win over the Hurricanes.

NCAA Football: Florida Spring Game Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Longtime Alligator Army readers will remember that I used to post 25 predictions prior to each game as a sort of psuedo-preview and a game for myself and the community to play. I’m reviving that for the 2019 season because 1) I like doing it and 2) I’ve been so nervous all week and today that I haven’t really been able to write up a proper preview of this Florida Gators opener against Miami.

If you want that sort of preview: I’m sorry. Probably, they’ll return (and run on Fridays) as the season continues. But what I know about both teams has me feeling like anything I write as Serious Analysis of their various strengths and weaknesses on this Saturday is asking to be exposed as charlatan’s work by 8 p.m. tonight.

These predictions, on the other hand, follow the basic format of how I think this game will go: Florida is, I believe, the better team, and assuming both squads are equally motivated for a rivalry game that has been suitably hyped this year — something I can grant is likely even if Desmond Howard does not — then the Gators’ depth of offensive talent and more experience quarterback will steer them through a game they should control unless their offensive and defensive lines are worse than anticipated.

At the same time, Miami’s good defense is likely to keep this game from becoming an out-and-out blowout unless a storm of turnovers hands Florida the ball in favorable field position time and again. While Florida’s last game was against a Michigan defense I suspect will prove to have been better in 2018 than Miami’s 2019 defense will be, and the Gators strafed the Wolverines in that contest, that was with an offensive line that had gelled and possessed better talent than Florida’s presently-constructed one does; if this is going to get out of hand, it’s more likely to come via pick-sixes from Miami’s QBs, whether Jarren Williams or other, than from the Gators rolling up 600 yards.

Here are my 25 predictions for Florida’s 2019 season opener against Miami. I’ll be reviewing them no later than Tuesday, but know tonight that I didn’t make of these picks as hedges and that they all comport with my projection of Florida winning and covering.

  1. Florida will score in the first quarter.
  2. Feleipe Franks will throw for at least 200 yards.
  3. Franks will complete a pass of more than 40 yards.
  4. Franks will throw at least one touchdown pass.
  5. Florida players other than Franks will throw at least one pass combined.
  6. Kadarius Toney will have at least six offensive touches.
  7. Lamical Perine will lead Florida in carries and rushing yards.
  8. Perine will not lead Florida in yards per carry.
  9. A Florida player other than Perine will have a rush of 10 or more yards.
  10. At least two Florida players will make at least four catches.
  11. Florida will force a three and out in the first quarter.
  12. Florida will record at least three sacks.
  13. Jonathan Greenard will be responsible for at least half a sack.
  14. A Florida player not named Greenard will record a solo tackle for loss.
  15. A Florida defensive back will record at least half a sack.
  16. David Reese will lead Florida in tackles.
  17. Florida will record at least one interception.
  18. Florida will not force more than three turnovers.
  19. Florida will allow between 200 and 375 yards.
  20. Florida will allow fewer than 24 points.
  21. Florida’s defense will allow between 3.0 and 5.0 yards per play.
  22. Both teams will score in double digits.
  23. Florida will lead by double digits at some point in the game.
  24. Florida will lead in the fourth quarter.
  25. Florida will defeat Miami, 34-20, and begin its 2019 season 1-0.