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Florida vs. Georgia Prediction: Picks, betting odds, analysis, more

 Billy Jones   in Football

Top-ranked Georgia’s march to Atlanta feels almost inevitable. The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party has consistently produced some strange results, and we could see the same Saturday. Florida is struggling after losing three of its last five but could save their season with an upset win over their undefeated rivals.

When Florida has the ball

Georgia’s defense is good. Really good. To put things in perspective, it has allowed only 46 points on the season, and no one else has allowed fewer than 100. This dominant defense owes a lot of its success to its dominant front. 

Their defensive tackles, Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt weigh a combined 660 pounds. Coach Dan Mullen’s offenses (with last year’s team under Kyle Trask being an exception) rely on an ability to run the football.

Georgia’s opponents have run for just over 60 yards a game which is an incredible compliment to that defense. These big men up front are not Georgia’s only advantage as their linebackers rarely miss tackles, and their secondary has come up with eight interceptions.

Mullen has always been able to find ways to score against more talented teams, but Saturday will be a real test.

His primary consideration will be the selection at QB1. Emory Jones has been the starter for every game this year, but he's also been removed in the middle of games. Freshman Anthony Richardson has played this season. Most recently, he led five straight scoring drives against LSU after replacing the benched Emory Jones.

Richardson brings the size of a typical, old-school Mullen quarterback. Richardson comes in at 6-4 and 225, which is much bigger than his counterpart Jones.

Jones can throw the ball more effectively and has more experience, which could be more useful to Mullen.

The big key for Florida will be running the ball, which it has effectively to the tune of 254 yards per game, but Mullen has shown that he is willing to play two quarterbacks, which is likely what he will do.

Saturday’s game will be a strength-on-strength match-up as Florida will look to run the ball as they have against Georgia’s vaunted front in Jacksonville.

When Georgia has the ball 

Florida’s defense was supposed to make considerable improvement after a historically bad 2020 season. The defense had been solid under Todd Grantham, which made 2020 seem like an outlier.

They have been widely inconsistent for the majority of this season under Grantham. The Alabama game saw them give up three touchdowns on the three possessions but only 10 points during the remainder of the game.

Against Tennessee, they pitched a shutout in the second half but gave up almost 300 yards in the first half. Against Kentucky, they gave up two touchdowns in the fourth quarter but, more importantly, allowed the Wildcats to run all over them.

Most recently, Grantham and his defense showed an inability to stop a simple counter scheme that allowed LSU’s Tyrion Davis-Price to break a school rushing record to the tune of 287 yards at eight yards a carry as LSU put up 49 on the Gators.

Georgia’s offensive coordinator Todd Monken will undoubtedly be licking his chops against this Gators' defense. The new offensive coordinator has brought NFL run schemes that bring the Bulldogs almost 200 yards a game which has been a perfect complement to their defense.

Zamir White and James Cook have carried the load for the Bulldogs offense that has taken care of business by scoring over 30 in every game besides the Clemson game.

This success seemed out of reach after playing a game in which their only touchdown was a pick-6 but Stetson Bennett’s accuracy has been very important in helping out his running game.

Bennett’s ability to hit open receivers has prevented the defense from stacking up against the running game, and he will need to continue to do so to win on Saturday.

Grantham and his defense will need to fix many issues in their run defense to put pressure on Georgia and keep this game within reach for his offense, who will have their work cut out for them.

Florida vs. Georgia Prediction

Nick Cole and Christopher Smith share their Florida vs. Georgia prediction and betting picks for Week 9 of the 2021 college football season.