Florida Gators vs. UAB Blazers
The Florida Gators and UAB Blazers meet for a week two college football match up in Gainesville. The Gators are -20.5 point favorites over the Blazers with an over/under point total set at 51.5.
It was a successful start for new Florida Head Coach Will Muschamp and a successful return to the college game for offensive coordinator Charlie Weis as the Florida Gators routed FAU in their season opener. While the Gators’ result wasn’t too surprising, the team still showed that they are going to need to work on a few things of they are going to be able to compete in the SEC this year. John Brantley was 21 of 20 for 229 yards but he had two interceptions to just one touchdown though Weis seemed to let Brantley throw downfield more than we have seen in the past. Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey are home run threats every time they touch the ball and they averaged 8.8 and 7.2 yards per carry with both finding the endzone several times against the Owls. Deonte Thompson and Frankie Hammond hope to fulfill their potential this season at receiver with Weis’ offense but at least in the first game most of the focus went to the backs. The Florida Defense allowed just 137 yards in the opener and while they played an over matched opponent that is a solid number and while they are lacking experience on the defensive side of the ball speed makes up for a lot of things.
The UAB Blazers didn’t play on opening weekend so Neil Callaway’s team walks into the Swamp for their season opener. The Blazers are coming off of a 4-8 year where they lost a few close ones that really made the difference and if they are to improve this year they will need to improve on their 95th ranked scoring defense. Tommy West has been brought in to run the defense and the former Memphis Head Coach has shown he can do it in the past though things didn’t end well in Memphis as the teams’ results had been declining. Offensively UAB should be pretty tough as Bryan Ellis is a solid QB throwing for 25 touchdowns in 10 games last season and with seven starters returning on the offensive side of the ball, Ellis has a lot to work with. Pat Shed is a multiple threat at running back and put up big numbers last season and the receiving corps is more than capable with Patrick Hearn healthy and a slew of freshmen who can burn. West’s defense will be the key for this team and he has eight returning starters to work with but they may be a little inexperienced up front which is where there are potential issues but Elliot Henigan is a potential star and middle linebacker Marvin Burdette makes up for a lot as not too much gets past him. Four seniors start in the secondary and with West’s coaching they can only improve over last season.
Florida is 5-1 against the spread in their last six games as a favorite, 22-7 against the spread in their last 29 non-conference games, and 0-4 against the spread after scoring 40 or more points their previous game. UAB is 5-1 against the spread in their last six SEC games, 4-1 against the spread in their last five non-conference games, and 4-1 against the spread in their last five games as an underdog.
This is a much stiffer test for the Gators than they faced in week one and despite their 4-8 record a year ago the Blazers aren’t to be taken lightly. I expect UAB to move the ball on the Gators but with Rainey and Demps, Florida should be scoring plenty as well. Look for a big number on the total.