Site: Neyland Stadium
After a week of closed practices, an injured quarterback, talk of ducks and trucks and #TennesseeTwitter ganging up on the ever-so-confident backup UF passer Austin Appleby, there’s really only one thing you need to remember for Saturday’s showdown between the Volunteers and the Gators: the number 11.
Florida’s winning streak over Tennessee rests at 11 games. This week, the Vols will try to break it.
There are rumors that Tennessee players have plastered quotes of UF’s cocky corner Quincy Wilson’s words all over their locker room this week. There are rumors that the UT coaches have banned the word “Florida” since Monday, and that any player heard saying the name of their opponent is suspended for Saturday’s game. There are even rumors that the players invested in a Austin Appleby blow-up doll and placed it at the entrance to Neyland stadium, and each player has to knock it down before stepping onto the field.
All right, I made all of that up. But isn’t it fun to speculate?
Let’s continue to speculate with our game of the week: Stanford vs. UCLA. The Cardinal and the Bruins face off at 8 p.m. on Saturday on ABC, and football writer Jordan McPherson and sports editor Ian Cohen have some predictions.
Stanford will win because...
Christian McCaffrey. … Do I need any other reason than that?
UCLA will win because…
A blue and yellow color scheme beats a red and white color scheme any day of the week. UCLA wins. Science.
Now, onto the picks!
In first place with a 14-10 record is alligatorSports editor Ian “I wish I were a Broadway star” Cohen, who took advantage of a recent Alligator news story to confess his undying love for all things musical. Rumor has it he won’t leave his car if it means missing out on those last few bars of a “Hamilton” song, and we’re bracing ourselves for the entire playlist of songs from “The Book of Mormon” and “Hamilton” for Friday’s roadtrip to Tennessee. But, honestly Ian, if Lin-Manuel Miranda heard you sing his musical, he’d regret having made it in the first place.
Next is a four-way tie for second place with a 12-12 record.
First is alligatorSports assistant editor Ethan “I forgot my key again” Bauer, who constantly forgets his key card to get into the Alligator’s office every time he comes to work. Maybe calling him out in our picks column will finally get him to bring his damn key card to work so his co-workers can go one night without getting the inevitable text: “Hey dude, can you let me in?”
Second is the Orlando Sentinel’s Edgar “Suspicious” Thompson, who asked Florida coach Jim McElwain why he had someone tasting his water at a recent press conference, and if it was because the coach was scared of being poisoned because it’s Tennessee week. Do you know something we don’t, Edgar?
Next is The Gainesville Sun’s Graham “I found love in a hopeless place“ Hall, who missed a pair of media availabilities this week while tending to his adorable new foster cat, Denzel. How sweet, Graham. You’re actually growing up and being responsible. It’s a shame Denzel probably thinks you’re his scratching board because of your patchy beard.
And rounding out the four-way tie is Gator Country’s Nick “Make me your quarterback, coach Mac“ De La Torre, who attempted to show off his throwing abilities inside UF’s indoor practice facility while the media waited for interviews. It didn’t end well. Don’t worry, Nick. With those gray hairs, you can expect an invite to the Senior Olympics any day now.
We have a two-way tie in third place with records of 11-13
First is staff writer Jordan “Teacher’s Pet” McPherson, who missed one of his classes on Thursday in order to help a certain UF Master Lecturer of Journalism proctor an exam. We won’t mention names, but we all know you’re trying to get on his good side, Jordan. Those job references are hard to come by.
Second is 247sports.com’s Thomas “add that to my Tinder account“ Goldkamp, who was the most recent media member to be called “beautiful” by Gators head coach Jim McElwain. That’s sweet, Goldkamp, but unless you get past second base and actually get hands on McElwain’s game plan for this week, the gesture means absolutely nothing.
And in dead-ass-last with a piss-poor record of 7-17 is alligatorSports online editor Patrick “hard shell or no shell“ Pinak, who refuses to eat soft-shell tacos because of the mess it causes. Dude, have you ever eaten a hard-shell taco? One second you’re guiding the delicious container of meat and cheese to your mouth, and the next second it’s crumbling everywhere as you try to bite into it. Your awful track record of picking football games is one thing, but don’t fall on the wrong side of the taco-shell debate, Patrick. We all know the saying: Once you go hard shell, well… just don’t go hard shell.