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Free Pick: Alabama at Florida 9/18/21
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Free Pick: Alabama at Florida 9/18/21

No.1 Alabama ventures to the Swamp in Gainesville to take on the Florida Gators in the SEC opener for both teams. The Tide broke out of the gate impressively with a 44-13 romp against Miami and then had a cakewalk in game 2. Meanwhile, the Gators have easy wins over outmatched Florida Atlantic and South Florida. No one is giving Florida much of a chance in this one but it’s no easy task winning on the road for anyone in the SEC.

Scouting Alabama: The Crimson Tide lost Mac Jones to the NFL, where he is now starting for the Patriots, and replaced him with Bryce Young without no apparent difference. Young has thrown for 571 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions, while completing 70% of his passes. Brian Robinson Jr. has been the leading rusher with 130 yards in about a game and a half. Trey Sanders has added 71 more. Jameson Williams, John Metchie III, and JoJo Earle have combined for 27 catches, 413 yards, and 3 touchdowns. The offensive line is experienced and talented.

Alabama is almost always dynamic at linebacker and this year is no different as they are led Henry To’o To’o (13 tackles), Christian Harris (13 tackles), and Will Anderson (12 tackles). Upfront Phidarian Mathis has had his way and has 2 sacks. Josh Jobe leads a deep and talented secondary. They will provide a lot of problems for Florida’s young quarterback.

Scouting Florida: The Gators are led by junior quarterback Emory Jones, who has thrown for 264 yards and ran for 155 more against 2 relatively easy opponents and Anthony Richardson who has rushed for 336 yards and passed for 219 more. So, Alabama will have to prepare for both of them this week. How well this 2-player rotation works remains to be seen. Malik Davis has rushed for 126 yards on 21 carries. Jacob Copeland has shown big-play potential at wide receiver and will have to make some plays against the Tide.

Florida will have to play a tremendous game on defense to have a chance to beat the Tide. They are giving up 318 yards per game and that isn’t bad but the competition hasn’t been very good. Linebackers, Jeremiah Moon, Mohamoud Diabate, and Ventrill Miller are talented and have the ability to cause havoc. Upfront they are led by Zachary Carter and Brenton Cox. The secondary is young and will be tested in this one.

Alabama has opened as a 15-point favorite and Florida will use that as motivation. The problem is, Alabama doesn’t care about that. They just show up and kill you. The Gators will play hard but I just don’t think they are good enough to do much in this one.


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