Florida has been very difficult to beat at the Swamp over the last 20 years. However, the Gators lost three home games last season on their way to an 8-5 record. Urban Meyer quit after the tumultuous season, and now Gainesville native Will Muschamp has UF sitting at 4-0 with Alabama rolling into town. Florida is making big plays on offense this season with new coordinator Charlie Weis, and the talented defense has been excellent so far. The Gators will look to recapture the former magic of the home field on Saturday night, but the competition will be fierce with the physical nature of Nick Saban’s club.
Will Florida upset Alabama in the Swamp?
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
I don’t think this game will be a blowout by any means, but I like Alabama to win. The Gators are off to a nice start and playing in the Swamp is never easy. Running back Chris Rainey has been one of the top offensive players in the SEC through the first four weeks of the season, while quarterback John Brantley looks comfortable in the new offense. Florida’s defense has been outstanding, allowing only nine points and 231.8 yards per game. Even though AJ McCarron is only making his fifth start for Alabama, he’s passed both tests thrown at him this year – at Penn State and Arkansas. McCarron won’t need to win this game, but will need to keep the Florida defense honest to open up rushing lanes for Trent Richardson. The Crimson Tide’s defense could be the best in the country, allowing opponents to manage only 184 yards a game so far. Will Muschamp should have the Gators ready to play and one can expect a low-scoring game due to the defenses. However, the Crimson Tide will lean on an experienced defense and an improving offense to pull out a close contest.
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
I think the Gators have a shot in this one because their defense can keep them in the game and the crowd in the game. If Alabama gets an early 10- or 14-point lead, then forget it. Florida must rely on running backs Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps and make sure that John Brantley is not forced to try and lead a comeback. It comes down to UF’s ability to make big plays versus Bama quarterback AJ McCarron’s ability to throw against a suspect Gators’ defense. I’ll take Florida in an upset, 20-16, with the defensive line and the lathered-up Saturday night Swamp crowd leading the way.
The Gators are looking better under first-year coach Will Muschamp and offensive guru Charlie Weis, but they're still not ready for Nick Saban's Crimson Tide. Arguably the top team in the nation, Alabama plays a brand of power football The Swamp has not seen this season. Expect UF's Chris Rainey (625 total yards, 4 total TDs) and Jeff Demps (320 rush yards, 4 TDs) track meet to hit the wall against Bama, whose tidal wave of Trent Richardson (562 total yards, 9 total TDs) and Eddie Lacy (365 rush yards, 4 TDs) will continue to roll on. In an old-school, low-scoring brawl, Alabama will stop the run, control the clock and bludgeon Florida for an impressive win.
Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden)
Which punter has a better game? This game features two scoring defenses that are allowing a combined 17.0 points per game and two total defenses that are allowing a combined 415.75 yards per game. A.J. McCarron will be facing his toughest defense in the toughest atmosphere of his young career. However, Trent Richardson is much better suited to repeatedly plow into a brick wall than Chris Rainey. It will be low scoring, tightly-played and Alabama will make one less mistake on offense than Florida. Give me the Tide to force one big John Brantley second-half turnover and pull out a nail-chomp-er in The Swamp.