The Florida Gators were one of the surprise teams in the nation last year under first-year coach Jim McElwain as they won the SEC East title. Should you expect something similar again in 2016? I don’t think so. UF has a wins total of eight with the over a -230 favorite on NCAA football odds.
Let’s Take a Look at the 2016 Florida Gators Fearless Betting Predictions
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) August 16, 2016
Luke Del Rio Will Win QB Job
Neither of UF’s starting QBs from last season are back as both transferred. So who wins the job for Week 1? It will be former transfer and walk-on Luke Del Rio, the son of Raiders coach Jack Del Rio. He is battling Purdue transfer Austin Appleby. This week, McElwain did not give a timetable for the decision in his first press conference since a scrimmage, but promised when he is ready to announce a starting quarterback, he won’t keep it a secret. He offered mostly a positive review of Del Rio’s and Appleby’s performance in the 118-snap scrimmage last Friday. While Del Rio and Appleby have taken the majority of the reps in camp, true freshmen Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask have shown improvement.
Antonio Callaway Won’t Face Suspension
UF’s top returning offensive player is receiver Antonio Callaway but he has had some off-field issues. The good news is that Callaway has been cleared of sexual assault in a case heard by a Gators booster. Jake Schickel heard the case Friday, and wrote that Callaway “;was honest, sincere, and presented himself well” in a student code of conduct hearing. Callaway testified that the sexual encounter, which took place in December, was consensual. The accuser’s attorney, John Clune, was critical of Schickel presiding over the hearing, given his ties to the Florida program.
Callaway, who caught 35 passes for 678 yards and four touchdowns as a freshman last season, was suspended in January and did not participate in spring practice. He was reinstated in June and has been practicing with the team in fall camp. His status for the season is up to the schools administration. But since Callaway was cleared of three violations of Florida’s student conduct code: conduct causing physical injury or endangering another’s health or safety, sexual assault and sexual misconduct, he’ll play Week 1.
UF’s Winning Streak Vs. Kentucky Will Continue
One of the most incredible winning streaks in college football is Florida over Kentucky, but the Gators have been very lucky to keep it going the past seasons. Last year, they won 14-9 in Lexington. Will Grier and Kelvin Taylor each rushed for short touchdowns, the Gators’ defense registered six sacks for 50 yards and two interceptions and Florida extended its winning streak over the Wildcats to 29 games, the longest active winning streak in the nation by one school over another. The Gators held Kentucky’s Patrick Towles to 8-of- 24 passing for just 126 yards and allowed just 115 yards rushing behind those half-dozen sacks. That streak reaches 30 this year.
UF’s Winning Streak Vs. Tennessee Will End
Also last year, Florida beat rival Tennessee 28-27 in Gainesville, an incredibly lucky result. Callaway’s 63- yard touchdown reception with 1:26 remaining gave the Gators an 11th consecutive win against the Vols. Callaway ran a deep curl on a fourth-and- 14 play, caught the pass from Will Grier, turned outside and beat three defenders to the end zone. UT kicker Aaron Medley missed twice from 55 yards with 3 seconds on the clock. He missed badly on the first one, and the Gators ran onto the field to start the party. They were summoned back after realizing McElwain had called timeout. Medley missed again. Florida goes to Knoxville this year and will lose.
Go Over On Wins Total Projection
While I don’t see Florida repeating as SEC champion, I would go over eight wins on NCAA football lines. The Gators will go 9-3, losing at Tennessee, home to LSU and at Florida State.