Mick Hubert, the voice of Florida Gators radio, has been immortalized for all time with his call of Florida-Tennessee last season. You can probably hear his exasperated voice trying not to crack as he shrieks, “IT’S A TOUCHDOWN! HOOO MY!”
That’s all well and good, but we here at alligatorSports like to live in the present. UF football fans may not share the same sentiment, but that’s OK. Allow us to be the shepherd to guide you back into the fold.
This week, we’ve got Scott Frost searching for his first win on the road against a pair of khakis, the annual street fight that is FIU-UM, and our featured game of the week wherein the defending national champs defend their high-school stadium against the debauchery that is Lane Kiffin.
The only institution equal in loathsomeness to the Lane Train is our alligatorSports picks column. Before we meet our competitors, online editor Mark Stine and editor Morgan McMullen will debate the highly anticipated matchup between the Knights and the Owls.
Central Florida (-13.5) will win because…
Turnovers. The Knights have only played two games this season -- victories over Connecticut and South Carolina State -- but they’ve collected six takeaways on the season and rank 15th nationally in turnover margin (1.50), while Florida Atlantic ranks 84th (-0.33).
Sophomore defensive back Richie Grant has an interception in each game, half of UCF’s total. FAU quarterback Chris Robison will be throwing the ball a lot -- he’s 64-for-93 passing with four touchdowns and two picks -- and I think he’ll have difficulty fitting the ball into windows against the country’s fifth-best scoring defense (31st against the pass at 173.0 yards per game).
Central Florida has been generally strong in coverage, allowing only one passing touchdown and knocking down 12 passes as a team, triple the amount of passes the Owls have defended (4).
The Knights have also fallen on each fumble they’ve forced (2) as well, while FAU is prone to putting the ball on the ground, losing one of the three balls it has coughed up.
This will be a tough outing for Lane Kiffin’s team under the lights in Orlando on national television.
-- Mark Stine
Florida Atlantic (+13.5) will win because…
The Lane Train stops for nobody, including the so-called “national champions.” Plenty of folks believe this will be an offensive shootout, and that’s precisely the way it looks to shake out. UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton is 45-of-71 on the season for 589 yards, and that’s in a pair of blowout wins against UConn and South Carolina State. Not exactly the pinnacle of competition.
FAU’s Chris Robison, on the other hand, looks to be the best quarterback in the state. He has a 68.8 completion percentage (first in Florida) and 8.6 yards per completion (second in Florida behind USF’s Blake Barnett’s 8.7). Both of those figures put Robison in the top-35 passers in the country.
The Owls’ leading rusher, Kerrith Whyte, has a respectable 5.5 yards per carry on the season. While it’s a far cry from UCF’s Adrian Killins (7.5), consider the competition gap between the schools both teams have played. FAU has wins over Air Force and Bethune-Cookman and had a decent showing against Oklahoma on the road.
Chalk it up as an easy win for Lane Kiffin and the Owls. The nation’s longest win streak comes to an end Saturday night in Orlando.
-- Morgan McMullen
Now onto the picks!
In first place at 16-8 is Alanis “Rational thoughts” Thames, who wants Gator Nation to pump the brakes on the Feleipe hate. Alanis, you raise great points in Franks’ development and learning a new offense. But do you have to be the only calming presence in all of UF sports media? Be like the rest of us and start calling for everybody’s jobs. Assimilate!
Tied for second with three others at 14-10 is Mark “Crooked Long from the Failing AP News” Long, who was labeled as “Fake News” by the President of the United States himself. OK, it was actually Nick de la Torre, but does it really matter? The fact that you had to look over to us for confirmation that Nick was full of s*** was already bad enough, but getting flabbergasted that we didn’t take your side doesn’t make your reporting any more factual.
Also tied for second is Graham “I don’t have to show up to media” Hall. When he’s not taking an Uber to weekly press opportunities, Graham is sitting in the comfort of his home watching the live tweets roll in. Graham, it’s tough to listen to Feleipe up at the podium, but is so hard to listen to that you can’t even bare it?
At 14-10 as well is Mark “Alarm Clock” Stine, who has served as the official timekeeper for alligatorSports writers showing up late to post-practice media availability. Mark has twice reminded Jake and Morgan that their tardiness was imminent after the team finished practice early. Hey gang, if you wanna get a good spot in the gnat-infested IPF, show up early like Mark.
Rounding out second place is Nick “Sleepy” de la Torre who, during the second quarter of UF’s win over Colorado State, was nodding off while gazing at his computer screen. Nick, we know the Rams’ offense wasn’t exactly a thrill to watch. However, it was much more entertaining looking to see if you’d drool on your keyboard or not.
In a three-way tie for sixth at 13-11 Jake “Low Energy” Dreilinger. Jake, bud, we’ve gotta talk about your recent appearance on the Gator Bites podcast. We know the Gainesville Plague is alive and well, but did you have to try your best to transmit the disease to all of our listeners? We hope the wedding you attend this weekend will do more to stay your sickness than hacking up a lung in the recording booth.
Also at 13-11 is Edgar “Back in my day” Thompson, who recalled the old days of covering the Gators when reporters didn’t split up interview transcriptions. Sure, we only started that this year, but Edgar didn’t mess around letting The Alligator writers know how lucky they are that they don’t have to slave over the head coach’s tangents. But hey, hakuna matata, we’ve all had to transcribe seemingly endless recordings of coach speak.
Last and definitely least is Morgan “Buzz Kill” McMullen, who informed wide receiver Van Jefferson that The Flash isn’t a Marvel superhero. Morgan, we were all having a good time talking about nonsense before you ruined it with your nerd drivel. Next time, just let people be happy. We know it doesn’t make you happy, but old men shouldn’t ruin the dreams of 20-somethings. Lighten up, dude.
Alanis Thames has led the Picks Column since Week 1.