Florida vs. Tennessee is hardly a rivalry anymore. The Gators have defeated the Volunteers all but once dating back through the 2005 season, and it's hard to imagine Tennessee will double their win count against Florida in that stretch this season.
However, it's going to be chilly up on Rocky Top, and we've not seen UF handle a cold game this season. Could the weather be a serious factor? Las Vegas would appear to think so as the Gators are barely a three-score favorite (-17.5, 62.5 over/under) after being favored by at least 20 points in back to back games, and Tennessee offers a similar level of poor competition to Kentucky and Vanderbilt.
With that, how does the Sports Illustrated-AllGators staff see Florida vs. Tennessee going down? As always, picks and records are not against the spread.
Zach Goodall (7-1): Florida 31, Tennessee 14
Last year, the Florida Gators posted a season-low of points in a victory with 23 against Missouri. Why is that relevant? Because the kickoff temperature was 43 degrees, and UF scored just six first half points.
The current forecast calls for a high of 48 degrees, partly cloudy on Saturday in Knoxville, Tenn. Florida has yet to play in a cold-weather game such as this weekend's all year, and perhaps the Gators will be totally fine, however it's hard to imagine the cold won't make UF a little uncomfortable.
Still, that should prove to be no matter for UF considering their competition. Tennessee rides on the back of a five-game losing streak into this contest with nothing to play for other than spoiling UF's SEC Championship and playoff hopes. It's an admirable goal, but the Vols are expected to be without several starters due to COVID-19 concerns and tracing as is.
Pair that with UT's miserable passing attack and middle-of-the-pack defense, the Volunteers don't have what it takes to keep up with Florida's offensive firepower. The Vols had better hope the ice in Kyle Trask's veins actually freezes over, in order to have a chance in this game.
Demetrius Harvey (7-1): Florida 33, Tennessee 13
The Florida Gators are entering this week's matchup with a lot on the line. Not only will they need a victory to secure its spot in the SEC Championship game against the Alabama Crimson Tide, presumably, they'll also need to maintain momentum as they make it across the final stretch of the season.
Against Tennessee, Florida is entering new territory against a cold-weather opponent late in the year. While it may not have much of an impact, it could be something to watch as far as the slow starts are concerned. Offensively, Florida struggled throughout much of the first half against Kentucky last week, and they cannot afford to do so against the Volunteers this week.
In all, Florida will likely end up in the driver's seat as they have been throughout the season, at least by the end of the contest. On defense, the team will need to get off to a fast start and play consistently throughout the game, something it's struggled with throughout the season. Preventing Tennesse's offense to stay on the field might just be the difference-maker the team is looking for.
Ultimately, Florida will come out of this with a 'W', securing its first SEC East title since 2016, and getting ready for Alabama, or whoever wins in the SEC West, in two weeks in Atlanta.
Brandon Carroll (7-1): Florida Gators 45 Tennessee 10
Florida is looking at a chance to clinch the SEC East and a trip to Atlanta with a win on Saturday. While Kyle Trask and company should have their way against a lackluster Tennessee defense, the Volunteers rushing attack is the Gators' lone cause for concern given their physical offensive line and talented running back Eric Gray.
However, the Gators' defense has the opportunity to prove something on the heels of their best half of football all season. As a result, I look for them to put together their most well-rounded performance on the season against a subpar Vol offense, resulting in another lopsided victory for Florida being added to the record books for this longtime rivalry game.
Donavon Keiser (7-1): Florida 38, Tennessee 10
My scores have been quite off lately, but one thing remains true regardless, that the Gators will walk out of Knoxville with another tally in the win column.
Simply put, Tennessee is a mess. The 2-5 Vols have nothing to play for other than the hopes of upsetting the Gators, but the odds are very slim. Tennessee is still having the same problems they have had for years, especially at QB.
For the Gators, Kyle Trask will come out ready to prove himself yet again to Heisman voters that he is the leader of the race and I expect four touchdowns from the redshirt senior yet again.
The offense should click with no issues, but my eyes will be on how the defense can contain Tennessee’s offense, and if I can find improvement in personnel and scheme just weeks prior to a possible matchup with Alabama in Atlanta.
In the second half of last week’s game, the Florida defense locked up Terry Wilson and his Kentucky Wildcats, holding them to only 10 points and a shutout in the second half. I’d like to see a replication of this performance again this week, allowing the Gators to build some confidence before seeing the juggernaut that is the Crimson Tide.
Michael Knauff (7-1): Florida 41, Tennessee 20
I guess it’s a good thing Gators aren’t like iguanas and freeze and die when the temperature gets below 40 degrees, because, if so, Knoxville, Tenn. in December would be a less than ideal place to go.
With the SEC East crown a win away, I doubt the Smokey Mountain chill will slow the Florida offense down. Tennessee isn’t equipped to handle the Gators explosive passing attack, and doesn’t have the offense to counter every score.
The only smoother than Trask’s game on Saturday will be Tennessee whiskey, as the Heisman front runner will torch the Vols secondary for over 350 yards and at least four scores.
Graham Marsh (6-2): Florida 45, Tennessee 7
The Vols have no quarterback and have no direction as a team. The Gators are going to come in hot in a brand new uniform combination and dominate Tennessee in Rocky Top.
I see no way UT competes with UF whatsoever, all game long. Florida has struggled defensively in 2020, but it won’t matter against a team that has no quarterback as Jarrett Guarantano has regressed and the Vols may have quarantine QB issues this Saturday.
With a few games left to pad Heisman stats, look for business as usual offensively for the Gators, as Kyle Trask will throw for three-four touchdowns per usual.