7:03 pm
September 3

#7 Utah @ Florida

Who will WIN this matchup?

#7 Utah Utes (0-0)

@ Florida Gators (0-0)


Current odds:

Utah Utes: (-139)

Florida Gators: (+113)


• The spread for this game is Utah by 2.5 points.

• Intriguing questions abound as No. 7 Utah travels to Florida for a prime-time matchup on Saturday night. Can the Utes’ loaded defense derail the hype train for Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson? Will underdog Florida deliver head coach Billy Napier a win in his Gators debut? Can defending Pac-12 champion Utah withstand the literal and figurative heat in Florida’s raucous, sold out Swamp?

• As for Richardson, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound sophomore is projected to be a top-10 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. He also has one career start. With his elite arm talent and 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash, some have compared Richardson to Cam Newton. But Napier is trying to temper the expectations.

• Napier, a former Clemson and Alabama assistant who went 40-12 the last four years at Louisiana, has created much buzz in Gainesville after replacing four-year coach Dan Mullen, who went 6-7 last fall.

• From his previous stop, Napier brought his top running back, Montrell Johnson (891 total yards, 12 touchdowns), adding to a deep backfield, and his top blocker, O’Cyrus Torrence, to join three returning starters on a formidable offensive line.

• Edge rusher Brenton Cox, who had 14.5 tackles for a loss last season, leads a defense that will be guided by another Louisiana import, co-coordinator Patrick Toney. The unit needs a major revamp. Its low point last year was surrendering 52 points in a shootout win over FCS Samford.

• A season in transition usually calls for a cupcake opener. The Gators get anything but in the Utes, however, who went 10-4 last year and with 17 starters back are the pick to repeat as the conference champions.

• Leading the offense are Pac-12 first-teamers in quarterback Cameron Rising (20 touchdowns, five interceptions) and running back Tavion Thomas (1,108 rushing yards, 21 touchdowns).

• Also back is a veteran offensive line and five of Utah’s top six receivers, including tight ends Brant Kuithe and Dalton Kincaid who combined for 1,121 yards and 14 touchdowns.

• The defense is formidable with a pair of huge, run-stuffing linemen, a secondary full of NFL prospects and a linebacker, Mohamoud Diabate, who had 89 tackles last year at Florida.

• It’s also a chance for Utah to show it can win on the road, which was a sticking point from last year when its losses came at BYU, at San Diego State, at Oregon State and in the Rose Bowl against Ohio State.

StreakSmarter Pick
Florida Gators