TV Schedule: Saturday, November 21, 12:00 pm, ET, SECN
Stadium: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL
Line: FLA (-31)
The Florida Gators should be able to float through the rest of the regular season after clinching the SEC East for the first time since 2009, but it seems doubtful the Gators will want to. A strong finish in the regular season could bolster them past the SEC West champion on December 5, a feat Florida hasn’t been able to accomplish since 2008 (the last time the East beat the West).
If that weren’t enough motivation for the 9-1 Gators, a win in Atlanta would all but guarantee a spot in the playoffs. But the Gators will have to get past Florida Atlantic and Florida State first. And a win Saturday would make Jim McElwain the winningest first-year coach in Florida Gator history.
Florida Atlantic could be without two of their top three leading rushers Saturday and are coming off a tough loss to Middle Tennessee. Jenson Stoshak caught a 70-yard pass in the end zone that would have tied the game but was called for a taunting penalty. The Owls failed to convert in the red zone in the final two minutes and turned the ball over after Stoshak’s near-TD.
It would be tough for anyone to get over that loss and prepare for an SEC East champion, but it will be even harder for the Owls and their 2-8 record. Florida is mentally focused since it needs strong wins to convince the committee it deserves a spot in the playoffs.
Although Florida’s only loss this season came against the run-heavy LSU, with two of FAU’s leading rushers likely out, this game should be no problem for the Gators. Not to mention that Florida leads the all-time series 2-0. Although the two Florida teams haven’t met since 2011, Florida only allowed the Owls to score one measly field goal and came out on top 41-3.
Prediction: Florida 42, FAU 10