The Missouri Tigers (2-2) are set to play the Florida Gators (2-1) on Saturday night in The Swamp (we think). After back-to-back wins over LSU and Kentucky, Mizzou is riding plenty of confidence and momentum against a Florida team that hasn’t played since October 10th, which is surely setting up to be an interesting match up.
Believe it or not, SEC East implications and some Top 25 consideration are in play for Mizzou if they somehow find a way to win this game. Get hyped, y’all! Kick-off on Saturday night is set for 6:30 p.m. CST on the SEC Network Alternate channel.
To break it all down, we discussed things over with Christopher Adams at Alligator Army with a Q and A.
Sammy Stava: Florida was predicted to win the SEC East in the preseason media poll. Despite the loss at Texas A&M, the Gators are still in pretty good positioning, but the latest COVID outbreak may have changed things. All things considered, is getting to Atlanta still the fair expectation for this team?
Christopher Adams: The season was expected to be an excellent one, but the past few weeks have been challenging to say the least. It’s easy to hit the panic button after this challenging stretch, but I still think this team will be in Atlanta at season’s end. The defense needs to get better if there’s any hope of winning games, but this offense is so good, and I have enough faith in the coaching staff to win the division. It’ll be challenging as Georgia is still very talented and Missouri looks revitalized, but Florida is absolutely capable of playing for a conference title.
SS: Kyle Trask has been pretty dang good so far this season. Through three games, he’s 74/103 (71.6 completion percentage) with 996 yards, 14 touchdowns and one interception, plus a 196.0 QBR rating. What are the chances he becomes a Hesiman Finalist when the season is all said and done?
CA: I don’t want to sound like a complete homer, but if Kyle Trask keeps doing what he’s doing, he absolutely deserves to be a Heisman finalist. The Joe Burrow comparisons loom large and thus far have been justified. Trask’s stats are nearly identical to the former LSU gunslinger through three SEC games, with Trask actually outpacing Burrow in touchdowns. His command of the team has been excellent and he’s been by far the best Florida quarterback since Tebow. Though Mac Jones has been great for Alabama, I still believe Trask is the best quarterback in this conference and will be a Heisman finalist come season’s end. I also want to shout out tight end Kyle Pitts, who’s been on the receiving end of half Trask’s touchdowns this season, as he’s been the real standout of this team and himself deserves some award recognition.
SS: There’s a lot of uncertainty around this Florida roster right now due to the COVID situation, but Dan Mullen believes 53 players will be available. It might be kind of tough to predict, but what are you overall expecting from this Gator team when the return to the field after two weeks off?
CA: I expect a very challenging game on Saturday. It appears that almost the entire team is back out of isolation (great news for more than just football reasons) so it seems that at least there’s no absences we’ll have to compensate for this week. However, missing two whole weeks in the middle of a season is a massive loss and who knows what that will do to the rhythm and conditioning of this team. I have faith that Mullen and his team will be playable, but how good they look is really uncertain. The only real reference point I can think of is what happened with Notre Dame earlier in the season. Following their breakout, they played fairly well against Florida State, but struggled probably more than they should’ve against a pretty incompetent Seminoles team. So I expect Florida to have some problems on Saturday, but they should be at a similar level to earlier in the season.
SS: What are your thoughts on the Gators’ 1960s throwback uniforms they will be wearing on Saturday night?
CA: These beauties are excellent. When they debuted against Auburn last year, they were one of the best uniforms of the season. I don’t know what it is about the vertical shoulder stripe and the white accents but it is absolutely delightful. I was a huge fan of the white helmets last year and thought they complemented the stripes perfectly, but this season it’s a new blue helmet. I think they look great but it’ll be weird seeing the Gators in blue lids, something they’ve never worn in the modern era.
SS: Florida is currently around a 13 point favorite against Mizzou. How do you see this game playing out on Saturday night? Have a final score prediction?
CA: 13 points feels a little optimistic. Given how Florida’s most recent game went, the COVID breakout, and Missouri’s uptick in play, I don’t expect Florida to cover. This is going to be an incredibly difficult game. Against the Aggies, the defense was horrible, unable to contain Kellen Mond or any of TAMU’s running backs. I am very worried about Connor Bazelak and Larry Rountree III, both of whom have been excellent of late. This should be a very high scoring game, as both offenses are outpacing the defense. At the end of the day, I expect Trask, Pitts, and the Gators offense to be excellent again and put away the upstart Tigers 45-38.
Thank you to Christopher for his time on this. And judging by his thoughts on the Gators, it should be a fun one on Saturday night. And be sure to follow Alligator Army for all of the Florida coverage this week.