Saturday, September 17, 2005Tennessee-Florida
The Game: Well for many years this has decided the SEC East, these days Georgia is part of the disucssion, but the loser is definitely on the outs. It's a great rivalry, one of the first big conference games of the year and it usually delivers the goods. Last year Tennessee won a classic, but a controversial one at that. This is the biggest game in Urban Meyer's career, he's never beaten an opponent ranked higher than 19th.
The Players: Chris Leak gets all the attention at Florida, but for what exactly? It is his 12-8 record as a starter or his status as a high school legend. Either way the junior quarterback has forever ruffled the Volunteers to the point of where they consider a battle against him personal. For Tennessee is it Rick Clausen or Erik Ainge. The players want Clausen, the coaches want Ainge.
The Numbers: The Volunteers have won three of the last four and two in a row at the Swamp. They have been able to pound the Gators with their bruising running game that will include Gerald Riggs Jr. this year.
The Line: Opened at Florida by 6.5 and has stayed stable.
The Forecast: Hard game to call here. Florida will have the luxury of a great coach and an inspiring coach with all kinds of momentum. But this Tennessee team is confident they can beat the Gators and Phil Fulmer didn't become one of the best in the SEC by making good speeches.
The Pick: Tennessee 27, Florida 23