With Week 0 of College Football starting Saturday, Jason Radowitz shares his best bet for the Miami/Florida renewed rivalry game.
Woah. College football is right around the corner! Week 0 starts this Saturday with a two-game slate on August 24th. The Miami Hurricanes and Florida Gators will begin the college football season looking to start a major rivalry between these two teams. While this game is going to be played in a neutral site, Miami and Florida announced they’ve agreed to a home and home in the next couple seasons. This could be the start of an awesome rivalry between Miami and Florida.
Here’s the deal. The Miami Hurricanes landed transfer quarterback Tate Martell from Ohio State but ultimately he was beat out by redshirt freshman Jarren Williams. There was plenty of talk about Martell looking to transfer out of Miami, but it looks like he might transition into a wide receiving type roll. He’ll be a non-factor in this game.
While Martell won’t be a factor in the first game of the 2019-2020 college football season, Miami starting quarterback Jarren Williams will be. This will be his debut as a starter and it won’t be an easy test. Williams nearly transferred before the season began with Martell coming in. His only experience was coming in to mop up a blow out win last season. The Hurricanes didn’t have the best season offensively last season. This good news is that the Hurricanes hired an entirely new coaching staff. Head Coach Manny Diaz isn’t afraid to make the moves he feels are best for the team. I love the approach with Diaz announcing Williams as a starting quarterback, if that’s what he’s seen and feels will be best for the football program.
Expectations are much higher this season, especially on the offensive side of the ball. ESPN ranked Miami as 25h in the “Future Offensive Power Rankings.” Miami feels like they have plenty of high quality talent offensively. The questions remain on the offensive line and really how good Williams can be at quarterback. The projection is based on a three-year out model. This projection isn’t for this season.
Defensively, depth is a problem for Miami. Miami lost three seniors at linebacker and watched two prospects in the secondary transfer out of the program. The Hurricanes have five cornerbacks on scholarship. The group of linebackers and secondary is shaky. However, the defensive line is deep up front. Miami believes they’ll be able to use about 10 defensive linemen in-game which would help the health and energy on the line. They’ll be able to get pressure up front against shaky offensive lines, but the secondary needs good coverage to make it happen.
Head Coach Dan Mullen’s first season with the Florida Gators exceeded expectations. Offensively, Florida finished 22nd in total offense and 32nd in yards per play. Mullen also got the best of out quarterback Feleipe Franks, who will be returning for his junior season. Franks went from being the second-least efficient quarterback in all of power 5 conferences, to one of the most efficient under Mullen. Franks and Florida went on to win a New Year’s 6 Bowl game (Peach Bowl) while Franks won the MVP. In his final four games of the season, Franks led Florida to an average of 45 points a game.
Expectations for Florida this season are a lot greater. After winning the Peach Bowl, fans want more this season. Franks (to some) is a Heisman sleeper. While I disagree with Heisman talks for Franks, it’s not out of the realm. Florida will have a bunch of playmakers this season. Like Miami, the offensive line will have its hiccups though.
Florida’s defense is stingy. Last season, they ranked 18th in points allowed per game at 19.5. They’ve really improved under Dan Mullen as well. The Gators finished top 25 nationally in sacks, pass efficiency defense, total defense, QB pressure rate, to name a few. The defense produced 26 turnovers, which was good for 7th in the nation.
They’ve had trouble stopping the run against elite offensive running teams. DeeJay Dallas will be a handful for Florida, but Florida’s defense figures to be a Top 20 defense when the season is over. Florida might be vulnerable on third down and short along with red zone defense, but freshman quarterbacks are vulnerable too. They’ll make mistakes. Florida will bait Williams.
Jarren Williams will make his debut as a college quarterback against one of the toughest defenses in college football. The Gators force a ton of pressure on the quarterback, they led nationally in sacks and they produced 26 turnovers, good for 7th in the nation. Williams could (and probably will be) a good college quarterback. But his first game will not go as planned.
Feleipe Franks averaged 45 points offensively in the last four games of the season last year. Miami’s secondary is a major concern. Franks should have a field day with the best group of playmakers Franks has been able to work with since joining Florida.
Give me Florida on the spread.
The Pick: Florida -7 -115 @FanDuel