On the heels of the Gators' most complete game of the season with a 38-6 victory over South Carolina, Florida hits the road to take on another SEC East foe looking to continue improving.
Florida (6-4, 3-4 SEC) travels to Nashville to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores (4-6, 1-5 SEC) in the final conference game of 2022.
Florida is considered a 14-point favorite over Vanderbilt, according to the Sports Illustrated Sportsbook. The over/under is set at 57.5 points.
You can find All Gators' picks and predictions for Florida vs. Vanderbilt below.
Zach Goodall (6-4): Florida 28, Vanderbilt 17
This game tends to be much closer in Nashville than in Gainesville, and I predict a similar result this week. There will be frigid temperatures unlike what Florida is used to, and Vanderbilt is freshly removed from its first SEC victory since the 2019 season, an upset over formerly-ranked Kentucky, providing the Commodores with some momentum.
Still, I like the Gators' rushing offense to overpower the Commodores' rushing defense, as the unit has done to the opposition by the feet of Montrell Johnson, Trevor Etienne and Anthony Richardson all season long.
Vanderbilt can run the ball too and Florida, although its defense has sharpened up in recent weeks, has struggled against mobile quarterbacks this year. Vandy has one of its own in Mike Wright, who will test UF's gap discipline and ability to contain, unlike Haynes King and Spencer Rattler in recent weeks.
In what will be a short game with the clock constantly winding, I foresee two rushing attacks finding success throughout the day, but Florida coming up with a few big stops that hand the Gators their third victory in as many weeks.
Brandon Carroll (7-3): Florida 34, Vanderbilt 14
My dilemma with picking this game wasn't necessarily to choose a victor, as there is little reason for Florida not to win this contest — albeit this may be the best team Vanderbilt has fielded in events memory production and record-wise.
It was more so how will the Gators win.
Momentum is moving in Florida's favor. The program is playing its best football of the season as the defense sits on six straight quarters of pitching shutouts and the offense is settling into its identity as a dominant rushing team. However, Vanderbilt also has momentum on their side after a monumental victory over Kentucky in Lexington a week ago and the propensity to play Florida closely at home historically.
Florida wins this game and covers the previously indicated point spread but may struggle with the Commodores' rushing attack at points defensively. That's especially true if quarterback Mike Wright is the one that is taking snaps, given his dynamic athletic ability.
He and running back Ray Davis have consistently made plays on the ground for Vanderbilt as they establish the program's foundation under Clark Lea.
Last week, the duo combined for 255 yards and two scores to snap a 26-game SEC losing streak for the Commodores. They look to continue that success against a UF defense that, while resurgent this season, has exemplified weaknesses playing dual-threat quarterbacks.
I think the Vanderbilt rushing attack exploits some holes remaining in the Florida defense early on before the Gators sure it up to ensure they're able to separate in the second half.
Florida's own rushing game continues to tick and Anthony Richardson combined for three scores, with at least one coming via his legs.
The Gators walk out of Nashville with their seventh win and set up arguably the most skilled competition with Florida State since the 2012 Sunshine State Showdown.
CJ Clarke (8-2): Florida 38, Vanderbilt 17
The Florida Gators are coming off their most impressive win of the Billy Napier era beating South Carolina 38-6 and have not given up a point defensively in six quarters. It looks like the team has started to find its stride as the season is winding down.
In one of the south's favorite cities resides a team that won their first conference game in nearly three, ending a 26-game skid. Vanderbilt will certainly be riding high at home after the win against a Kentucky team that beat Florida in the Swamp. Offensively they have a couple of QBs that could challenge the improved Florida defense in AJ Swann and Mike Wright and a running back in Ray Davis, who is pushing the 1,000-yard mark.
Clark Lea has certainly looked to have the Commodores moving in the right direction and could be primed to make some noise in the conference in the near future.
However, this isn't the same Florida team that lost to Kentucky, and I don't think Vanderbilt is there yet. Anthony Richardson is playing his best ball of the season and finally using his legs as a weapon. Couple that with the fact that Florida has two of the top RB's in the conference in yards per carry and I think it makes for a rough Saturday for Vandy.
The Gators just seem to be doing things right since halftime of the Texas A&M game and are as confident as we've seen them in a few years. Napier has this team disciplined and ready to close out the season strong, and because of that, I have Florida winning this one.
Chris Thornton (3-0): Florida 35, Vanderbilt 20
Chris Thornton joined All Gators' prediction story in Week 10
Vanderbilt feels like the perfect game to derail my undefeated record this week. However, I'm sticking with the hot hand in Florida. It's going to be a brisk day in Nashville, and while that could serve some advantage to Vanderbilt, I think Florida's pieces are just too good for Vanderbilt to overcome.
The wildcard in this matchup will be can the Gators contain Mike Wright, who can punish you with his ability to run the ball and is something the Gators have struggled to stop this year. A more complete effort from the secondary also could make this matchup easier for the Gators.
The Gators will put on another strong offensive performance to extend UF's win streak to three, as well as their third game in a row scoring 35+ points, giving them four such results in their last five games.
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