Now on a 6-week college football winning streak off our Georgia Tech outright win over Clemson last week this week we’ll look to the Southeast for our next winner as the “new” Vanderbilt Commodores head to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, otherwise known as “The Swamp”, to take on the Florida Gators in an early 9:20 Pacific start. Florida of course is the favorite here having beat up on Vandy historically (33-9-2 and 22 straight) but these two sides look very different that in the past. For the Commodores that is a good thing, for the Gators it is not. Florida has lost four straight now, all against ranked opponents, as their overall record sits at 4-4, and 2-4 in conference play. Vanderbilt is also 4-4 overall and just 1-4 within the SEC.
These two will now meet with the Commodores coming in as a big +13.5 road dog despite the Gators string of losses. The posted Total at BetDSI Sportsbook is 44.
Vanderbilt hung very tough in losing to No. 8 ranked Arkansas last week after leading 28-17 in the third quarter before letting the win slip away in a 28-31 loss. In that game the Commodores tallied a total of 462 yards of offense and an impressive 222 yards rushing. RB Zac Stacy was big last weekend, and I expect him to be a key for Vandy here as they have run the ball very well which has given the team an identity under HC James Franklin that had been lacking. QB Jordan Rodgers has looked very good at times, just needing to limit mistakes and turnovers as he progresses.
The Florida dreams of an SEC title are long dead and they must now come to grips with the disappointment that this season has become with the only remaining hope being a small bowl bid. Anything less than a focused effort and improvement on the field will see the Gators looking at a historic 5-game losing skid. Vanderbilt is not the skinny weakling that they used to beat up on. The recent problems for Florida steam from the sudden absence of its power running game which will be trouble here too. Vandy front four did very well last week facing Arkansas and I expect them to shutdown a struggling Florida ground game on Saturday too. Vanderbilt run defense is 35th in the nation and has held half of its opponents to fewer than 100 rushing yards.
Vanderbilt has demonstrated such a solid running game while the Gators are struggling to run and I think this will be key. The Commodores defense will stuff Florida and force them to be one dimensional looking for a big play from their erratic passing game. Vandy also has done a very good job of protecting QB Rodgers in recent weeks and time is all he needs.
I like the dog Vanderbilt as once again we have a solid team playing much better than it is known for under a new coach facing a big home favorite that is struggling all around and has to deal with disappointment in a season that is now lost. I am taking the big cushion and looking for another solid game from Vanderbilt. Make it official, Vanderbilt +13.5 over Florida Gators at BetDSI Sportsbook is my bet.