NCAA

College Football Gameday Preview: Florida Gators vs. Miami Hurricanes

Albert, the Florida Gators mascot

The 2019 college football season is finally upon us. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of college football, this matchup between the Florida Gators and the Miami Hurricanes was moved up a week. It will be the first game of an August 24 doubleheader as the Hawaii Warriors host the Arizona Wildcats in the nightcap.

Saturday’s meeting will be the first between these two former in-state rivals since 2013. Miami holds a 5-1 straight up and against the spread advantage in its last six games against the Gators.

Game Details

Date: Saturday, August 24
Time: 7:00 pm ET
Location: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
National TV: ESPN
Streaming Apps: WatchESPN
Spread: Florida -7.0
Total: Over/Under 46.5 Points

Florida Gators Notes

The Florida Gators enter the regular season ranked No. 8 in both the AP Top 25 Poll and the Coaches Poll. After going just 4-7 in 2017, Dan Mullen’s group improved to 10-3 SU and 9-4 ATS in 2018. The Gators ended last season on a high note with three straight blowout wins, crushing Idaho 63-10 at home, Florida State 41-14 on the road and Michigan 41-15 in the Peach Bowl.

Quarterback Feleipe Franks was one of the biggest beneficiaries of Dan Mullen’s arrival in Gainesville last season, putting his disappointing season in 2017 behind him with 2,457 passing yards, 24 touchdown passes, and just six interceptions. He should be in for another step forward in his development this season as long as an offensive line breaking in four new starters in front of him holds up.

Florida is 22-1 in its last 23 games as a betting favorite of a touchdown or more and has covered the spread in nine of its last 10 instances as one.

Miami Hurricanes Notes

Jarren Williams beat out N’Kosi Perry and Tate Martell for the starting job
Jarren Williams beat out N’Kosi Perry and Tate Martell for the starting job | Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Manny Diaz takes over for the retired Mark Richt at head coach this season, and there is plenty of reason for optimism in Miami. While the Hurricanes went a disappointing 7-6 in 2018, they are just one year removed from a 10-win season in 2017, and there is enough talent on this squad to potentially get back into double-digits in the win column.

Miami is loaded on defense, but the big question will be on offense as redshirt freshman Jarren Williams opens the season as the starting quarterback. Williams is in good hands under Miami’s new quarterback coach and offensive coordinator Dan Enos, who helped Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts thrive last season as Alabama’s quarterback coach.

The Hurricanes are just 1-6 SU and ATS in their last seven games as a betting underdog.

Prediction

On paper, this one has the makings of a low-scoring game. Miami and Florida both have strong, athletic defenses; this could spell trouble for Florida’s inexperienced offensive line and Miami’s inexperienced quarterback.

Feleipe Franks should be the difference-maker on Saturday. His experience and decision-making skills should give him a clear edge over Jarren Williams, who may have a bright future ahead of him but has a brutal first-game draw against one of the nation’s best defenses in this one. Miami’s schedule shapes up nicely for a big season after the opener, but the 2019 campaign probably starts off with a loss.

Prediction: Florida 24, Miami 14