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Florida Gators vs. Missouri Tigers Preview and Prediction


The Florida Gators shocked the college football world with a 38-10 upset of Ole Miss in Week 5. It was a win that bumped the Gators up from No. 25 to No. 11 in the AP Poll and made believers out of skeptics who questioned the team's chances of contending in the SEC during head coach Jim McElwain's first season.

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Missouri defeated South Carolina 24-10 in its most convincing win of the season thus far. The Tigers' defense forced quarterback Lorenzo Nunez to throw three interceptions while Missouri's Drew Lock threw for a pair of touchdowns on 21-of-28 passing.

The two SEC East foes will face one another on Saturday in a game that has major implications for the division title.

Florida at Missouri

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)
TV Channel: SEC Network
Spread: Florida -6

Three Things to Watch

1. Is Florida a legit contender in the SEC
Saturday's win against Ole Miss left many fans wondering why they ever doubted the Gators. Despite an inexperienced offensive line, Florida sits atop the SEC East standings as the division's only remaining undefeated team and the team most capable of challenging Georgia for the division title by season's end.

McElwain has done wonders in his debut season as the Gators' coach. His offensive scheme has already seen a rapid improvement, aiding to a 5-0 start. But is Florida a legit contender or was last week's win against Ole Miss just a fluke?

2. Will Drew Lock keep his spot as Missouri's starting QB?

Lock made an impressive debut as Missouri's starting quarterback in Week 5. But that was against South Carolina, one of the SEC's worst defenses.

Florida will be a much tougher matchup for the freshman with one of the conference's best secondaries and a talented front seven. Lock could secure his spot as Missouri's starting quarterback even after Maty Mauk returns from suspension should he have another impressive performance on Saturday.

3. Will Grier vs. Missouri defense

Will Grier has been the perfect compliment to McElwain's offense. Grier has thrown for 996 yards — seventh among SEC quarterbacks — and has a 10-3 touchdown-to-interceptions ratio.

Surprisingly, the redshirt freshman had his best performance of the season against Ole Miss — the most talented defense Florida has faced in 2015. Missouri provides another difficult matchup for the young quarterback, but in a hostile road environment. It will be interesting to see if he can repeat last week's success.

Final Analysis

Florida looks like a legitimate contender in the SEC East. The Gators have a complete team now that their offense has proven to be a competent unit.

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Missouri, however, needs to improve on offense to be in consideration for its third consecutive SEC East division title. It's not impossible to think this is the game where the Tigers suddenly turn it around and make a run for the division, but it seems unlikely.

Prediction: Florida 21, Missouri 10

— Written by Jason Hall, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and works for Fox Sports Florida. Follow him on Twitter @jasonhallFSN.