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Podcast: Previewing the Florida Gators road game against Missouri
18th November 2021 • GatorCountry.com - Your Florida Gators Podcast: Football, Recruiting & All University of Florida Athletics News • GatorCountry.com - The Insider Authority on Florida Gators Sports!
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GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we preview the Florida Gators road game against Missouri on Saturday afternoon.

Andrew Spivey and David Soderquist breakdown the keys for the Gators on Saturday as they to stop a good rushing attack by Missouri.

Andrew and David also pick three players to watch on Saturday, plus we pick several games around the country.

Transcripts

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David: What’s up folks of Gator Country? This is none other than your boy David Soderquist, along with Andrew Spivey. Florida will travel away to Missouri, a 4:00 SEC Network game. The Gators were a 10-point favorite. Now they’ve dropped to 8.5 favorite. Vegas is knowing something that we don’t know, or a lot of bets are coming in for Florida.

Florida’s going to be up against a team that just beat a team that completely demolished them two weeks ago, a South Carolina team. They beat them 31-28. Missouri boasting a running back that’s leading the SEC and leading a lot of categories in the nation. Tyler Badie, a guy that’s rushed for 1,239 yards already and 12 touchdowns. Actually, if you go to some sites, they count 1,244 for his rushing stats, because they count different differentials when it comes to rushing. Either way, Florida’s up against one heck of a rushing attack from Missouri, and here lately, the past four games, Florida’s given up over 900+ rushing yards. Andrew, that’s not a good stat.

Andrew: No. He’s the only player in the country with four 200+ yard games. That’s been a struggle for Florida. It’s been a situation where Florida hasn’t been able to stop the run. They haven’t been able to keep good running backs down, and that’s a problem. It was a problem last week against Samford. It was a problem against South Carolina. Teams were just able to run the ball against Florida. I think we’re all still having nightmares about LSU running counter right up the shoot against them 26 times or something like that.

It’s a bounce back. You’ve got to figure out a way, if you’re Christian Robinson, to bounce back from last week. If you’re Florida’s defense, to bounce back from last week. You were embarrassed last week defensively against Samford for three quarters. You’ve got to find a way to bounce back. Florida typically doesn’t play very well in Columbia. You have that long trip, plane ride. Most plane rides are an hour, hour and a half for Florida, and this one’s about a four-hour flight. It’s going to be cold. It’s going to be middle of the afternoon, so it won’t be too bad.

What concerns me, David, is this team who hasn’t showed much fight, hasn’t came out with much energy. You’re traveling to Missouri, like I said, on a way far away trip. You’re on your longest trip of the year in a cold environment against a team that isn’t very good. They’re okay. How do you come out of the gate? You can’t come out of the gate slow and expect to pull out like you did Samford. It won’t happen.

David: I think just about every podcast we’ve talked about starting fast, instead of starting really slow. So far this season, Florida’s had four games where the opponent has scored over 20 points in the first half and held the team to 10 points in the second half. So, in the second half they’re not doing too bad on defense. The first half, they’re getting killed. Alabama, they gave up 21 points in the first, 10 in the second. Georgia, 24 points in the first, 10 in the second. Samford, we all know last week, 42 points, 10 in the second. South Carolina, 30 points, 10 in the second.

Right then and there shows you that they’re not getting off to fast starts, and as the game goes on, maybe with halftime adjustments or something said by Dan Mullen at halftime, the team’s coming out with a little bit more fire. I can’t even say passion, but just a little bit more oomph and emphasis on stopping the run, playing great defense, and holding this team to under 10 points, for some reason.

Andrew: It’s been a problem under Mullen in general. I wish I had that stat, just how slow they’ve been typically under Mullen. That’s a problem. It seems like it takes them a quarter to a quarter and a half to really get going, and it’s hurt them a lot. You look at the past two LSU games. They haven’t been able to put them away. You look at the Kentucky game. Early on, Kentucky couldn’t do nothing. They weren’t able to put them away. You look at the Alabama game. Any resemblance of a start in that game you’re probably looking at a different outcome in that game. You just look at certain games, and you go back and you just say, had they had a pulse early on you’re able to have different outcomes.

I think the biggest concern for me, David, is continuing to be once the defense comes out and lays an egg early, it’s like, oh my God, here we go again. I think it becomes a problem for this team, because they lose confidence. It takes them till halftime to kind of get in there and regroup a little bit. You can’t allow Badie. If you allow him to get going early, you’re probably in for a long day. If you allow Missouri to stick around and get out to a lead, you’re in for a long day. You need to get out and put the naysayers and put the doubt in everybody’s mind behind you before you go back to say, here we go again.

David: Yeah. Missed tackles is a part of it with the rushing game, and then keeping the defense on the field. When a team can consistently get 1st downs and just keep running the ball and right up the middle right at you, your defense will get tired out, and it’s going to take a halftime rest for them to come back out energized and hopefully have a different gameplan and be able to stop the run or the pass or whatever happened. It’s happened in numerous games where we’ve gotten off to a slow start, and then we come out in the second half, and we’re a completely different team, energized on defense.

The offense, obviously, I want to roll over to the offense just a little bit. We’re all worried about Tyler Badie, but a guy on offense for us that’s a running back that should see more of the touches is Dameon Pierce. I think we’ve seen it all over social media and Twitter. Dameon Pierce has completely dominated all the rushing statistics here. If you go by Pro Football Focus, which a lot of people go by stats there, because they’re some of the best at breaking down stats, he’s the #1 running back in America right now, graded at a 94.3. If you’re graded in the blue anywhere at Pro Football Focus, you’re a good player. When you’re #1 in the nation out of all of that, that’s elite.

He’s had 68 carries so far this whole season. That’s not even seven carries a game on average, and he’s averaging 6.6 yards per rush. He’s already rushed 448 yards, just only getting six carries a game. Almost 500 yards just that. I’m thinking to myself now, if Dameon Pierce would have at least had 12, 13, or 14 carries per game, he could probably be sitting over here 1,000 yards rushing, if not even more.

Andrew: That’s been a problem, and it’s been something that we’ve asked multiple times throughout the year. Why is Dameon Pierce not getting more carries? It’s an issue. When you look at the SEC, he’s third in touchdowns overall. Badie’s got 16, and Brian Robinson, Jr has got 16 as well. Then Dameon Pierce comes in at second, if you don’t count tied for first, at 13. You look at that, and you say, this man’s getting a lot of touches a game, but it’s not. You go back to the Samford game last week. He didn’t get a touch until midway through the second quarter. Then it’s like they feed him for a little bit, and then, once again, it goes back to we kind of forget about him. That’s a problem.

The thing is we can’t be the only ones that see this. Dan Mullen’s got to see this. Dan Mullen’s got to understand and know that this is happening. I get it. Dan Mullen wants to play the hot hand, as he calls it all the time. That’s fine, but at the same point in time, Dameon Pierce has been the hot hand all year. You’ve got to figure out a way to get him 15 touches a game, something. Especially if you’re planning to win these next two ballgames. If you’re not planning to win these two ballgames, it’s a different story. We all know they’re planning to win.

You’ve got to play the guy who’s going to give you the best chance to win, and right now that’s Dameon Pierce. Especially in a game like these next two are going to be, Missouri on the road, and then a rivalry game against Florida State. Those are going to be tough, physical football games. Dameon Pierce is that guy. He’s tough and physical.

The thing for me is we’ve talked a lot in the past, and one of the biggest things for me was could Dameon Pierce be good enough to be a four-down back and catch the ball out of the backfield. He’s answered that question. He’s catching the ball just fine. He’s doing things after the catch. To me, there’s no excuse for him not to have 15-20 touches a game.

David: Especially now, with Missouri. Their rushing defense is terrible. They’re 125th in the nation in rush defense, allowing 244.6 yards per game. Where Florida, obviously they pump their numbers up from the LSU game and all of that. They’re up to 162.6. They’re 77th in the nation, so they’re actually still better than Missouri in average rushing yards allowed per game.

Coming back to that, with the defense getting off to a really slow start, you kind of want that running back in there to get you some 1st downs, keep the other team’s defense on the field, keep their offense off the field. That way your defense doesn’t have to worry about coming out not as strong in the first quarter, second quarter, and all that. Then get that guy. Get that bruising running back in there, because once you get him, say Dameon Pierce gets 100 yards rushing in that first, second quarter, those guys are going to be stacking the box, and then that opens up the passing, where we can’t seem to get separation from our wide receivers, our deep guys.

Open up the pass game. Get Copeland involved. Get Shorter involved after that. Then go ahead and take it to these guys early, that way you don’t have to worry about the second half, and you’re up far ahead enough to, I don’t know, even put second-string guys in there, if we’re that far ahead.

I think the problem is getting off to a fast start this year has been nonexistent, and that’s why we haven’t been able to blow out teams like Samford that we should blow out. Had one blowout game against Vanderbilt, but that score should have been worse than what it was. I think if you get off to a faster start, you could have won a lot more football games this year than what you’ve lost.

Andrew: Yeah. When you look at it, and you kind of compare things here, you look at what Missouri is. Missouri’s pretty good against the passing game, only allowing 207 a game. That’s because they allow 248, almost 250, on the ground. You’ve got to go in there and figure out a way to get your offensive line going, get those guys with some momentum to come out and fire off the ball, and fire off the ball, get the running game going. Then when they do, like you say, sink in, you’ve got to find a way then to throw the ball and throw the ball consistently, like you did last week.

Again, it kind of all starts with Dameon Pierce and up front. If Pierce is in the game, you like your chances, and if this offensive line can really come out and get some blocks and fire off the ball and kind of show what they showed early in the season, and that was really getting to the second level. Not just getting those two and three-yard runs, but it was those 10-15 yard, those explosive plays and figuring out that. Then you still have to protect. You’ve got to protect Emory as well and go at it.

This is a team that’s allowing 35 points a game. You feel pretty good about yourself offensively. I think the key definitely is defensively and how you stop this Missouri rushing attack that’s averaging 177 yards per game, when you’re giving up 157 on the ground. That’s kind of where you’re going to have your game won and lost, in my opinion, is how does Florida stop Missouri’s rushing attack, and then how does Florida rush against Missouri’s defense?

David: Right. Also, tackling, we just mentioned at the beginning of the program, hasn’t been that well either. You got two safeties in Rashad Torrence and Trey Dean leading the team in tackles.

Andrew: Not good.

David: As you said before, when safeties are leading the team in tackles, that means teams are getting to the second level. So, they’re also doing the same thing against us as well. You got to clean that up too. The defensive line’s got to play more cohesive. I know the sack numbers have not been like they should have been, or we’ve expected from the past three to four games. Both lines are getting pushed around, and when you can’t win in the trenches, that usually decides the game, for the most part, unless there’s turnovers or something else like that.

Obviously, Florida needs to come out fast, as we talked. Right now, they’re still, even with the bad games, they’re still tenth in the nation in rushing yards per game at 225. Missouri, 172.4. They’re 56th. Missouri’s had games where they’ve been able to run Tyler Badie like crazy, but then they’ve had games like against Georgia. But nobody’s been able to really run the ball against Georgia. They’ll have a Georgia game, or a game where they slip up, and they only rush maybe 100 yards, maybe 90. Tyler Badie’s been ridiculous in every game that he’s had. He’s going to play in the NFL, obviously.

Points allowed per game. This is a stat that I looked that that gave me a little bit more confidence. Missouri is giving up- listen to this, Andrew. It’s pretty bad. They’re giving up 36.8 points per game. 114th in the nation. Florida’s at 24.7. They’re 54th. Way up from last week, when Samford put a good 50 points on them. That stat might be a little skewed in your brain, but, obviously, we still gave up those points, and it still counts. Points per game we’re about even. Florida’s averaging 29.4 points per game. Missouri is averaging 28.4 points per game.

Pretty much across the board it’s even in points per game on offense, but Missouri giving up a ton of rushing yards and a ton of points. I think that’s where Florida can really expose that weakness there, especially if they can get that run game going and get that offensive line cohesion going too as well. Hopefully get some injuries cleared up on that offensive line too. I think I believe I heard Ethan White might be back this week. You were in that teleconference.

Andrew: That’s the plan is him to be back. You have Gouraige, who’s continued to get better. You’ve had Reese and Delance, who are a little banged up. They continue. You’re in Week 12 of the season. Week 13 really, if you count the bye week. 14 if you count Week 0 now of the season. You’re as healthy as you can be. Nobody’s fully healthy. Missouri’s not fully healthy in this game. Florida’s not going to be fully healthy.

The key is to come out, like you said, with a fire, with a passion. Unfortunately, it’s probably going to be another shootout, because you’ve seen this team play for 11 games now, or 10 games now. You’re not going to just change overnight and be better defensively. You’re just not. You gave up that to Samford. You can say what you want to, that it shouldn’t have happened. It was the first week for Robinson. It happened. Shouldn’t have happened. I feel like it’s going to continue to be a shootout thing.

The thing is can Florida’s passing game continue to do what they’ve done? Especially last week. Obviously, there was guys wide open, but even the later part of the year it’s been better. How Anthony Richardson kind of figures into this. I think you have go Emory Jones until he makes a mistake. I don’t even think you have packages per se for Anthony until Emory goes in there and makes a mistake. If he comes out, and he throws a couple interceptions, it’s time to go there. Until then, you’ve got to ride with the guy who’s given you the stats the last few weeks and had a career game last week.

To me, we can say all this, and we can break it all down. It all comes down to the mentality of this team. Do they come out with a fire? Do they come out with a want to in this game? If they do, and the answer is yes they do, then I think you can come out and win this ballgame. If they come out flat like they did against Samford, I think you’re looking at a blowout. It’s happened before in Missouri.

David: Yeah. Samford didn’t have a leading rusher in the SEC last week, and if they did I’m pretty sure Samford would have blew the top off of Florida, the way that they were playing on defense.

You’re right, man. I think Emory Jones is going to start this game as well. He deserves to. I can’t really say he deserves to start, but after the performance he had last week, I would say he deserves to start. I’m sure Anthony Richardson could have had a great performance last week though too. It was Samford. You should have a great performance against a team that’s 4-5 like that, but I got to give Emory credit where credit is due. He didn’t turn over the ball. He took care of the football. He threw receivers that were open, that were either wide open or just open. He threw it to them. That’s what you’re supposed to do as a quarterback. You find an open receiver, it goes to him. I can’t complain about what Emory Jones has done so far this season, especially last game.

As I said last week, you want Emory Jones’ confidence to be up. Right now, his confidence is probably really that far up, because of the performance he had last week. I don’t even think he cares that he’s playing Samford last week. I mean, he threw up seven touchdowns. I think it was over 400 yards passing. You definitely want a quarterback that’s on a hot streak going into a game like this, especially with a team that’s giving up as much points as they are every game and the rushing yards.

I don’t know. I’ve looked at Missouri’s defensive line. I don’t really think it matters which rushing running back that you have in this game. I think anybody would be able to run all over them, but definitely Dameon Pierce. Dameon Pierce has just set himself aside from both the running backs, Nay’Quan and Malik Davis. That’s not me saying that Malik Davis and Nay’Quan Wright aren’t good running backs. Dameon Pierce has just been a whole other orbit from them. I think with the running game and with Emory Jones being able to run too, I think you get some designed run plays in there, get some two running back sets, and I think it’ll set Missouri off guard. If you can keep nickel and diming 1st downs, it’s just going to keep their offense off the field, and it’s going to keep that running back that’s rushed for 1,200 yards off the field as well.

Andrew: That’s the thing too. If you’re Florida, you kind of are in a situation where you almost want to control the clock a little bit to keep control of the game. Last week they were scoring very quick. It was two minutes to a minute and a half and three minutes, their first three scoring drives of the game. If you’re Florida, you kind of want to control the clock a little bit in this game and try not to make it a shootout. At the end of the day, you’ve still got to score, and you just got to go out and score. If it comes on the first play of the game, it comes on the first play of the game. If it comes on a minute drives, it comes on a minute drive. Can’t get picky there.

Got to limit turnovers, and you got to win special teams. You cannot have a special teams mishap like you did last week, or two mishaps last week with the kickoff return and then the onside kick recovery. You can’t have that happen. If you do, then that’s trouble. You can’t have that happen in the SEC and still expect to win ballgames there. Got that issue, and then penalties. Can’t have penalties like you did last week.

David: I was about to say that.

Andrew: The unforced offsides penalties. You cannot have that. I don’t know if that was just guys lining up trying to get there in a hurry, because the play call was in, or if it was just straight undisciplined, which in my opinion it’s straight undisciplined. Whatever they want to say, they’ve got to get it fixed. It’s like false starts. There’s just no room for it when you’re trying to win games. You’ve got to win the three phases of the game. When you’re a team that’s not very good, you’ve got to do it. I’ll ask this question. This is a question that’s been raised, and I’ll raise it to you too. If you love Dan Mullen, all these players, and everyone says that they do, and I don’t doubt that, it’s time to play for his job.

David: Exactly.

ig result in what happens for:

David: Exactly. That’s a good question to ask. I’m not going to say this either, because they could just be out schemed and out talented, but I was about to say you’re going to really see what these players think of Dan Mullen by the way that they play when they come out, but that’s not really fair for me to say, to go ahead and critique what a player plays like or anything like that. I’m not going to go there. They could still play hard and still probably get crushed by this running back.

I’ll go ahead and go over his stats real quick. He's 1,244 yards rushing. ESPN has him at 1,238. Different sites do different stats. This is all coming from Pro Football Focus here. 12 touchdowns for the year, 711 yards after contact, 45 forced missed tackles, 32 runs of 10+ yards, 55 total 1st downs, 49 receptions for 336 yards. He’s doing pretty well. Florida, for the year, has missed 109 missed tackles total. That’s actually right down the middle in the SEC. I ran those number earlier today. Actually, Ole Miss is at 146. They’re leading the SEC in missed tackles. You want to be able to keep that running back from running all over the field.

You’re right, man. You’re playing for Dan Mullen’s job at this point. These kids, and we’ve heard a lot of kids talk about Dan Mullen. Zachary Carter, Dameon Pierce. I can name 20 more kids that said really good things about Dan Mullen and how they want to play for him. We’ll see. We’ll see how hard the defense comes out, if they can get off to a fast start, and, like you said, clean up penalties. This is a funny stat I rolled up too. Penalties. Florida’s averaging 7 a game. Missouri is actually averaging 7.2, so they’re not good on penalties either. They’re ranked right underneath Florida.

Running some of these stats, and I know it’s just stats, and it’s on paper, and the eye test tells a different thing. Going down stats wise, there’s things where Missouri’s better than Florida, and then there’s things where Florida’s better than Missouri, and it kind of evens out across the board. The turnover margin, obviously, we’ve got one of the worst turnover margins in the nation, throwing 15 interceptions and a couple fumbles there. Missouri’s 39th at +.3 turnover margin per game. That’s average per game. That’s not through the year.

Andrew: Right.

David: They’re giving up a lot of 1st downs. Missouri’s giving up 25.1 1st downs per game, 122nd in the nation. That’s why I said you need to come out with a fast start. I would run Dameon Pierce. Nickel and dime it down the field. This team is giving up a ton of 1st downs. Nickel and dime it. Keep their running back off the field. Keep your defense fresh. I think that’s the key to winning this football game.

Andrew: Like you said, there’s a lot of guys that are playing for it, and a lot of guys saying they’re there for Mullen and everything else. You’ll find out. We’ll find out what this team is. You got to have one more game to go to a bowl game. We’ll see how important that is. Again, we’ll see how this team is, let’s say 10 minutes into the game. Maybe five minutes of game clock. We’ll see where this game is going to go very quickly, because if this team comes out with some fire, good luck, because this team is going to come out, and they could run Missouri off the field. If they come out with nothing, good luck. Missouri may run you off the field.

I’m with you. The keys, when you’re a middle of the way football team, and that’s what Florida is right now, you’ve got to play almost perfect. You’ve got to play really good game, especially when you’re on the road at a place you just don’t play well at.

Let’s pick some players. We haven’t done that in a couple weeks. Let’s pick some players.

David: I was about to say. We haven’t.

Andrew: I’ll let you go first this week. Who’s a player to watch for you?

David: I really want to pick Dameon Pierce, but I don’t think he’s going to get enough carries. I’ll go ahead and pick him anyway. I think that’s the solid pick right now with the way that Missouri is not doing so well in rush defense. Dameon Pierce, he’s not setting records, but he would have set records if he got more carries. I’m going to go ahead and pick Dameon Pierce.

Andrew: Okay. I’m with you. I think Pierce will do enough in the game. I’m going to go Emory. I think Emory has a big day. After last week, I think the confidence is up for Emory. I think he’s ready to go. I think they’ll definitely sell out on trying to stop the run and make Florida throw the ball, and if they do that should be good news for Emory.

David: I’m going to go ahead, since you picked Emory, I’m going to go ahead and pick Kemore Gamble. Kemore Gamble has had a couple of decent, pretty good games these last couple of games. Over 100 yards in receptions a couple of games here. He’s been pretty good. He’s been running some really crisp routes. He’s got really good, I would say, acceleration off of his cuts, and I think that’s what puts him into that second level. I’m going to go ahead and pick Kemore Gamble.

Andrew: The thing for Kemore is when they’re using him he’s doing really good. It’s kind of like Dameon Pierce a little bit where it’s like, we may know Kemore’s here, but we’ll see. He had a good game last week. I’m going to go on the defensive line and go Zach Carter. If the team is going to do well defensively it’s going to go through #6, who just got his Senior Bowl invite.

David: That’s it. Yeah, he did. He’s also leading the team in sacks as well, Zachary Carter there. Can I pick somebody that’s hurt on the offensive line? Because if I pick somebody that’s hurt on the offensive line, then they technically don’t give up anything. Would that work? No. I’m going to go all offense, man.

Andrew: Okay.

David: I’m picking Shorter. Recently here he’s had a couple of 100-yard games as well. I’ve seen that he’s been getting the ball a lot more too, and they’ve been going to him a lot more. I’m going to go ahead and pick Shorter too. I think he’s going to have a big one.

Andrew: They were going to Xzavier Henderson a little bit last week too, so that’s where I’m going to go next is Xzavier Henderson. Started to go to him a little bit more as the year’s went on. I think they look to maybe double team Shorter and Kemore or put more attention to those guys, and Xzavier Henderson gets the beneficiary of that.

David: You think he’s going to have a good kickoff return?

Andrew: Probably not.

David: Lloyd Summerall had a bigger kickoff return.

Andrew: I was going to say. Lloyd Summerall might.

David: I was about to say. Yeah. He might lead the team, if they squid kick it a little bit, and it lands in his hands. You might have Lloyd Summerall returning kicks here for the University of Florida. Who knows, right?

Andrew: For real. That’s bad when Lloyd Summerall, him and Malik Davis have two longest ones. Not good. Definitely don’t have the 99-yard from, what was it? Montrell Washington last week.

Some okay games. Not very many around the country, especially in the SEC. The one in the SEC that’s noteworthy is Arkansas at Alabama. 20.5-point favorite for Alabama.

David: I think Arkansas is going to be able to run the ball. I don’t think that they’re going to be able to run the ball as much against Alabama, but I’ve seen teams run the ball on Alabama. Shoot, we were able to run the ball on Alabama.

Andrew: They’ve given up 162 a game, and Arkansas is putting up 233 a game.

David: I would say that Arkansas will keep themselves in the game by running the ball, but I don’t think they’re going to be able to do that all game. I think Alabama is going to wind up sniffing that out after a while, and then probably take the top off. I’ll go ahead, and I’ll pick Alabama. I don’t know. What is the spread? You said 20 points?

Andrew: 20.5.

David: They’ll probably cover that. I’ll take that spread.

Andrew: I got Bama covering. They may not cover early, but they’ll cover late. Another game, I think this one decides the Big Ten, the division. Michigan State goes up against Ohio State. First of all, the college football committee is stupid. Their reasoning behind Michigan State being behind Michigan is Michigan’s looked better. Well, they might, but Michigan State beat Michigan on the field. If the games don’t matter head-to-head, then what’s the point of playing the games? Why don’t we just line them all up against Samford and say, whoever looks the best gets to play? What does it matter playing the game, if it doesn’t matter? That’s my rant. I guess Michigan State can kind of put all that to bed with a win over Ohio State. Mel Tucker just got paid too.

David: I know, man. What was it? $96 million contract for eight years?

Andrew: Eight years. $96 million, I believe. Basically two boosters self-paid for it. That’s wild, man.

David: That is $11-$12 million per year. That’s nuts.

Andrew: 10 years, $95 million.

David: Jeez.

Andrew: 9.5 a year.

David: You got coaches out there getting fired making close to that kind of money still, after getting fired.

Andrew: We’ll see. Maybe Lincoln Riley goes over that, if he goes to LSU.

David: Report coming out there of Lincoln Riley and LSU offering him a contract, so we’ll see what happens there.

Andrew: That was a major contract too. Let’s see what that was. It was up there.

David: It was pretty high. It was up there.

Andrew: Eight years, $96 million.

David: Eight years, $96 million. That’s about the same. I probably got Lincoln Riley’s contract mixed up with Michigan State coach there. They were close. Both of them were close.

Andrew: That’s over $10 million a year. $12 million a year. Whatever. Good luck. I get it if you’re LSU. You want to get back to the prominence of the SEC. I don’t know. That’s a lot of money for Lincoln Riley, who still hasn’t won a championship at OU.

David: I know. I’m hoping that they’re counting on the fact that they can recruit at Louisiana, where a lot of elite recruits do come from. Not as many as Florida or Texas or California, but they got some elite recruits in the state of Louisiana. They got no competition there. It’s just LSU.

Andrew: Right. You got to get Bama and Texas out, which Sarkisian, he’s on some hot seats too. He’s not getting fired. Who do you got?

David: I’m not a Big Ten guy. I don’t really like to watch the Big Ten games, because I’m just an SEC guy. I am actually going to watch this game. I’m actually really interested to see this game. This is actually tough, because I know that they’re not giving Michigan State a chance, but I’ve seen Ohio State, not here lately. I think Stroud has been more better as the year’s went on. I’ll go ahead and pick Ohio State, just because they have the better talent, but I’d watch out. Michigan State could upset them.

Andrew: I don’t know, man. Every bit of me says Ohio State wins this game. Then again, Michigan State’s played some really good ball this year. Ohio State hasn’t looked particularly great against some teams. It’s at the horseshoe though. I got Ohio State and Ryan Day. They’re scoring the most points in the country at 46 points a game.

David: I think Alabama is somewhere in that range too. I think they’re at like 44 or 45, I believe. Right under Ohio State. I would pick Ohio State, just based on the fact that they have more talent. There’s a lot more closer games that Michigan State has had than Ohio State. I think overall talent is probably going to win this game. Who knows? It could be a blowout. Ohio State could just take them to the woodshed.

Andrew: Yeah. You look at the two teams, where they’ve been up and down. You look at Ohio State, and what they did against Oregon. Then Michigan State, they come out and lay an egg after beating Michigan. It’s the Big Ten. I’ll go Ohio State, but it could be close.

David: Watch out for Kenneth Walker too. Kenneth Walker’s been running through some people over there at Michigan State.

Andrew: I’m looking to see. Here’s another top 25 game. Mario Cristobal and Oregon travel to #23, Utah.

David: Yeah. I’m going to go ahead- actually, this is the funny stat that they have here, the matchup predictor. This is why I like looking at ESPN’s matchup predictor. They actually got Utah winning this game with a 61.8% chance to win it.

Andrew: Really?

David: Yeah.

Andrew: They’re a three-point favorite.

David: Yeah. I have no clue. Maybe because Utah has probably defeated tougher opponents, but they’re 7-3. I’ll go with ESPN. I’m going to go ahead and pick Utah, because I don’t know that much about Utah. That just scares me. Do they know something we don’t know, Andrew?

Andrew: Besides Mario Cristobal not being the most spectacular game day coach? It wouldn’t shock me if Utah won. It really wouldn’t. Oregon, they’ve played okay. They’re on the board as high as they are because of the Ohio State game. That’s what put them up there. They lost to Stanford and everything else. A lot of pressure on them going to Utah. I got Oregon in a close one. I think they pull it out.

David: This year’s really tough to decide who’s going to win what game, because just about every team has had a loss that’s been in the top 10, and then the guys that are undefeated have had such close games. The only team that separates themselves from everybody is Georgia. Alabama, they lose to A&M, and they’ve pretty much blown out every other opponent. They’ve scored over 40 points per game. Georgia just has separated themselves from everybody. I hate to say that, because I live in Georgia, and I don’t want them winning a national championship. The way it’s looking, man. I don’t even want to say it.

It’s just tough. It’s tough to predict games this year, because there’s been so much of a shakeup. That’s why the top 10 seemingly changes just about every single week, because somebody in the top 10 will drop a game that they’re not supposed to drop. Like Oklahoma. Look what happened with them. They dropped that game to, who was it? I think it was Baylor. That’s it. Baylor beat them 27-14. I think they’ve switched quarterbacks at least, what, three times now? Between Rattler and the other guy.

Andrew: That was going to be my question for you. Does Florida State get a win in order to be in contention to go to a bowl game by beating Florida next week?

David: They’ve won four games? Florida State.

Andrew: Yes. They have to beat Boston College, and then they have to turn around and beat Florida.

David: I don’t know if I see them beating Boston College. They might. They could beat Boston College. I don’t see it. Then they’ve have to turn around and beat Florida, which I don’t know, man. I still think Florida could beat Florida State. I’m not sure. It just depends on how they play next week and what kind of energy they come out with.

I know those rivalry games, even if those people out there are saying a team “quits” or wants to quit on their coach, whatever they say. These players, they get up for these rivalry games. Even if a team was to quit on their coach, and the rival was coming into town, they don’t want to lose to that rival. That’s them talking trash to them all game. Then they got bragging rights for a year. Then they hang it over their head.

Nobody on Florida’s staff wants to lose to Florida State. They just don’t want to. You’ve seen it. You’ve seen that. It seems like the defense plays a lot better when they’re in a game against a rival, or a game that they want to win, like Alabama. They started off really slow. Then they only gave up 10 points the rest of the game. Missed tackles was a big thing about it, and then that one turnover from Emory Jones. Georgia. The defense actually played pretty well that game. Anthony Richardson didn’t set them in good field position three times in a row, and they scored 21 points. You can’t really put that on the defense. If you don’t count the 21 points in two minutes, they held Georgia to 13 points.

Andrew: Right.

David: You come into now a game against Florida State. If the defense plays halfway as decent that they were playing against Alabama and Georgia, they’re probably going to win that game. Florida State’s still not that good. If they come out like they played against Samford, and just don’t give a lick, then they could get blown out of the building.

Andrew: You have to just throw everything away in the rivalry game against Florida State. That’s just Florida can go out and get smoked by Missouri and come back and smoke Florida State. They can go out and smoke Missouri and come out and lay an egg against Florida State. You have to throw it all out the window. We’ll get into that next week. Hopefully after a win over Missouri, so the Gators can clinch bowl eligibility. We’ll get into some basketball as well. Gator basketball took down Florida State last weekend. Currently, as we’re taping this, taking down Milwaukee. They’re up big in that game. Good to see Mike White and the Gators continuing to play well. They don’t typically play well after being ranked. New year, new team. Good year so far.

David: New year, new team, new transfers as well, and more size for that Florida offense and defense, since they play both on the basketball court. The Mike White guys, I’m not a big fan of Mike White, but right now you can’t really say anything bad about the guy. It looks like Florida is starting to turn over that new leaf in basketball. I hope I’ll be able to say this when we enter into the tournament, and hopefully we can make it to the Sweet Sixteen, maybe the Elite Eight, maybe even the Final Four.

Andrew: This is a good team.

David: It’s a good team. We’ll find out as the year goes on.

Andrew: And an experienced team. That’s it for me, David. Unless you got something, we’ll be ready to hopefully recap that W.

David: That’s it. More positivity on the podcast this time.

Andrew: That’s right.

David: We didn’t have anything bad to talk about, because we won last week.

Andrew: That’s right.

David: Got to critique the team in every weakness, but also critique the team in every strength that they have as well. I think Florida will be able to run the ball pretty effectively against Missouri. Just go to watch out for that running back Missouri’s got, because he’s setting SEC records almost right now. That’ll wrap it up, folks, for this episode of the GatorCountry.com podcast. You can follow me @SoderquistGC on Twitter, and you can follow Andrew Spivey @AndrewSpiveyGC on Twitter as well. That’ll wrap it up, folks, for this episode of the GatorCountry.com podcast.