The time has come.
Week Zero is here.
The #8 Florida Gators and the Miami-Florida Hurricanes will face off in Camping World Stadium in Orlando very soon, bringing the great sport of College Football back to us.
But who’s going to win the kickoff game of the 150th season of College Football? As is often the case, it will all come down to match-ups.
Florida offensive line vs. Miami front seven
Florida is breaking in four new starters on an offensive line that played well last season, but was unspectacular in doing so. The lone returning starter is Nick Buchanan at center. The new players at guard and tackle have been talked up by the coaching staff, but that doesn’t replace a valuable thing called experience.
Miami returns a bulk of their defensive talent this season, and their front-seven remains stacked. With an ultra-experienced linebacker corps and monsters on the line, the Hurricanes should be able to at the very least exploit the inexperience on the Florida O-Line.
Whichever side of this match-up gets more push in the trenches, can be safely assumed the winner.
Miami wide receivers vs. Florida secondary
Miami is starting redshirt freshman quarterback Jarren Williams for the game. He was a highly-touted recruit out of high school, but it’ll be his first start. He’ll be trying to throw against a secondary that has two likely high-round NFL Draft picks in cornerback duo CJ Henderson and Marco Wilson. Trey Dean is also a talented defender and plays the star position, while the Florida safety tandem of Brad Stewart and Donovan Stiner are serviceable.
Miami has talented wide receivers in Jeff Thomas and K.J. Osborn (and maybe Tate Martell? I don’t know). Dan Enos is a proven offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, so Williams will be prepared and have weapons to utilize. If is offensive line grants him the time and the Florida secondary leaves open some windows, Williams could turn in a breakout opening performance.
That’s a big “if” however.
Key to the Game
Simply put: Turnovers.
Both of these teams field great, proven defenses and offenses with some questions. If either team turns the ball over and gives the other short fields it will be difficult to overcome that.
Conventional wisdom would give offensive guru Dan Mullen a better shot at overcoming, but it’s not a given.
Florida is entirely capable of losing this game, and Miami has the talent to win it. That being said, the smart money would be on the Gators.
Feleipe Franks, while not without his flaws, is a more proven quarterback in a more proven system with more proven weapons. Expect Dan Mullen to scheme around the offensive line issues, like he did in the 2018 Mississippi State road win.
Miami will score late, but turnovers will give Florida a win in a defensive win.
Florida 24, Miami 13