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Florida vs. Tennessee football preview, prediction

Preview and prediction for Florida vs. Tennessee on the Week 4 college football schedule
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A pair of SEC rivals meet on Rocky Top as Tennessee hosts Florida to renew the old animosity in college football's Week 4 action on Saturday.

This time, the matchup has the added benefit of both teams being featured in the AP top 25 rankings, with a ton on the line in the East Division standings.

Here's what you need to know about the matchup this week.

Florida vs. Tennessee football preview, prediction

Florida Gators college football team

Week 4 college football schedule: Florida vs. Tennessee

How to watch

When: Sat., Sept. 24

Time: 3:30 p.m. Eastern

TV: CBS network

Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)

Odds, point spread, betting lines

Line: Tennessee -11

O/U: 62

Moneyline: UF +310 UT -500

FPI pick: Tennessee 87.4%

What you need to know

1. Gators want to run. That's the strength of Florida's offense right now, and it has the backs and the protection to give Tennessee's defensive front a real test. UF averages 212 rushing yards per game, totals 8 TDs coming in, is over 600 total yards in 3 games, and averages 6.4 yards per carry. Overall the unit doesn't make too many mistakes and goes against a Vols D that had some tough moments against Pitt's rushing attack 2 weeks ago.

2. What Anthony Richardson shows up? The Gators' quarterback has been up and down this season, but is still yet to establish himself as a competent thrower. He has no passing TDs, threw 4 interceptions, and is hitting on just over 53% of his attempts. Not ideal, especially as Florida seems to lack that real deep, perimeter threat to help him out. Still, AR is 3rd on the team in rushing, and leads that unit with 3 scores on the ground.

3. Vols will win if they can run. Balance this offense out, and Tennessee should take this one - comfortably. Hendon Hooker is a maestro, hitting on almost 70% of his throws with 6 TDs and no picks for college football's 3rd best total offense, and has 2 rushing scores to his credit. He's dealing to a gifted receiving corps good for 15 ypc with 2 targets already over 200 yards. UT lines up against a Florida defense that's the SEC's worst on 3rd down and has the backs to move the chains and keep the Gators off the field.

Florida vs. Tennessee: Fast Facts

cedric tillman tennessee football

+ Florida beat UT on the road in 7 of its last 8 appearances

+ Tennessee scored at least 30 points in 6 straight games

+ UF has scored 31-plus in the last 4 against Tennessee and at least 26 points in the last 7 straight

+ UT is 5th in FBS with 2nd in SEC with 371.3 passing ypg

+ Gators have held Tennessee to 21 or fewer points in 5 straight games

+ Tennessee is 10-0 when leading at halftime under Josh Heupel and 0-6 when trailing

+ Florida is 2nd in SEC and 5th nationally with 6.4 yards per carry

+ Vols are 10-1 under Heupel leading after 3 quarters and 0-5 when not

+ Florida had 300 yards of offense in 12 of the last 13 against the Vols

+ UT is 9-3 under Heupel when scoring first and 1-3 when opponents do

+ Gators have 200-plus rush yards in 8 of its last 16 total games

+ Tennessee allowed 0 points in the first half at home this year

+ Florida has allowed 2 sacks this year, 10th fewest in FBS

What happens?

Don't expect another 60-point game from the Vols, who teed off on the likes of Ball State and Akron. This looks more like the slug fest UT had on the road against Pittsburgh with a lot of hard-earned yards on the ground and some drives that don't go anywhere.

Florida may have no other choice given the subpar passing performance from its quarterback so far. Tennessee has no such problem, as Hooker leads an able and balanced attack that will have the benefit of home field.

The Gators will run the ball well enough to keep it close all day, but lack the big-play ability of Hooker and his targets, who should have the advantage especially on third down, a major Florida weakness, and pull out a statement win over a rival that will feel like an important test passed, precisely because it was close.

College Football HQ Prediction: Tennessee 36, Florida 27

College football rankings

According to AP top 25 poll

  1. Georgia
  2. Alabama
  3. Ohio State
  4. Michigan
  5. Clemson
  6. Oklahoma
  7. USC
  8. Kentucky
  9. Oklahoma State
  10. Arkansas
  11. Tennessee
  12. NC State
  13. Utah
  14. Penn State
  15. Oregon
  16. Ole Miss
  17. Baylor
  18. Washington
  19. BYU
  20. Florida
  21. Wake Forest
  22. Texas
  23. Texas A&M
  24. Pittsburgh
  25. Miami

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