picks

Well, the Gators beat a top-10 team.

I think that’s a wrap, folks. Florida made it past its toughest test of the season, and now it should be smooth sailing from…what’s that?

UF plays No. 5 LSU Saturday night? Really?

And people complain that Florida doesn’t schedule enough quality opponents.

The Gators are bigger underdogs against the Tigers than they were heading into last week’s win over Auburn, but there’s been a quiet confidence in the locker room.

No ducks pulling trucks this time around.

The alligatorSports crew is excited to head to Louisiana on Friday and enjoy the s̵m̵e̵l̵l̵ ̵o̵f̵ ̵c̵o̵r̵n̵ ̵d̵o̵g̵s̵ festivities. We may have cajun cuisine on our minds, but that won’t keep us from giving you the pick for a Hawaii-Boise State game that could have New Year’s Six implications. 

Football writers Dylan Rudolph and Kyle Wood debate that one below:

Hawaii will win because…

The tide has turned on the sandy shores of the island of Oahu.

Honolulu has an exciting team to cheer for once again, as the University of Hawaii has shown that it has turned a corner.

After a disappointing 3-9 season in 2017, the Rainbow Warriors have never looked brighter under coach Nick Rolovich, and an 8-6 2018 season prefaced what could be UH’s best season in nine years.

Hawaii’s 4-1 start can be traced to its high-octane, run-and-shoot offense led by redshirt junior quarterback Cole McDonald.

McDonald’s ability to run the up-tempo offense to quickly move downfield has resulted in him leading the Mountain West Conference in yards (1,629), touchdowns (17) and quarterback rating (161.0) and an offense that has averaged 37 points a game.

Hawaii will lean on him for success as it has all season. And the only one who can stop McDonald is himself.

In Hawaii’s one loss, he threw three interceptions and was held to a season-low 218 yards against a determined Washington defense in the lopsided 52-20 defeat. He'll need to take care of the ball but shouldn’t have much trouble against a Boise State defense that has just three interceptions this season.

The Hawaii defense, however, will have its hands full against the Broncos, who come into the matchup averaging 32.6 points per game led by freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier. The young quarterback likes to spread the ball around, and the UH secondary may have a long day if it can’t keep up with Boise State’s talented receiving corps — which has five players with over 150 yards this season — in check.

With two high-flying offenses, the game is shaping up to be another shootout. And there’s nothing that suits the Rainbow Warriors better.

-Dylan Rudolph

Boise State (-12.5) will win because…

The Broncos actually have a blue field. I’m looking at you, Cincinnati Bearcats, with your teased black field, that would’ve been pretty cool. But no, the only colored football field in the country is located in Boise, Idaho, and the football team that plays on it has a stout offense.

Led by quarterback Hank Bachmeier, who is among the nation’s leaders in passing yards with 1,489 on the year, Boise State averages 32.6 points per game. Unfortunately for the Broncos, he’s nowhere near the top of the country in the touchdown department, having thrown only eight in five games.

The two-headed rushing attack complements the passing game nicely. George Halani and Robert Mahone both have 300 yards on the ground this season on better than three yards per carry.

Since beating Florida State in Tallahassee, the Broncos have met little competition, mowing through their non-Power 5 school slate. Hawaii, however, has beaten two Power 5 teams this season already in Arizona and Oregon State. Boise State, the UCF of this season, is in desperate need of a win with the FPI clout to vault it into its top 10. If the right teams in the top 10 fall and the Broncos take care of business, they could find themselves in the same position as the Knights the past few years. That’s motivation enough to show out against the Rainbow Warriors.

-Kyle Wood

Now onto the picks…

There’s a tie for first this week at 33-14. Up first is Kyle “Too Good For ‘Friends’” Wood. It’s fine, Kyle. I respect the fact you have a distaste for one of the most popular television shows of all time. Your hatred for the beloved series goes with the theme of your life, honestly. I mean, you skipped out on an entire copy editing shift last week on a wrap night, nonetheless. Maybe you need more “friends” in your life, in both spectrums. It’s fine, Kyle.

Also leading is Tyler “I Refuse To Show My Love For My Student Newspaper” Nettuno. Tyler, it really hurt when you said you would not abide by the longstanding tradition to get the trademarked Alligator “a” tattoo after your time at our beloved student newspaper. I really believe you need to take some time to rethink this. How many college graduates can say they’ve had the honor to brand themselves with a letter that signifies so much? C’mon Ethan Bauer, help me out here.

There’s another two-way tie for second at 30-17, led off by Mark “Millennials, Man” Long. Mark overheard a young woman complaining that she couldn’t buy a ticket on Saturday because “none of them would take Venmo” and decided to take his frustrations out on an entire generation. Get with the times, Mark. It’s 2019, no one carries around a checkbook anymore. 

Also in second is Nick “What’s With The Chipotle Shade?” De La Torre. We get it Nick, Chipotle has had its ups and downs over the years, but you can’t convince us that Moe’s is superior. Yes, Moe’s has better queso and maybe Chipotle gave some innocent customers E. coli, but there really isn’t any competition here. We don’t see Moe’s giving out free burritos for a year to some starving college students. 

Tied for fifth at 28-19 is Graham “It’s That Time Of The Year Again” Hall. Graham, it pleased us greatly to casually scroll through our individual Twitter feeds and see your beautiful face. We’re so happy to see you thought it was time to change things up a bit with your profile picture and give your 10,000 followers a change of pace. Great headshot, Graham, alligatorSports staff approves. 

Also in fifth is Sam “Sorry To Burst Your Bubble” Campisano. Sam was very excited when he realized that he went 8-0 in picks last week, exclaiming, “Has this ever been done in picks column history?” Well, Sam, it has. Three times. Last Saturday alone. We hate to rain on your parade, but you’re going to have to share that distinction with Graham and Tyler.

In seventh at 25-22 is Edgar “What The Hell Did You Tweet About Lamical Perine?” Thompson. Ohhhhhh, boy, Edgar. What was that? I guess Perine isn’t a fan of your Twitter content. Either way, we’re going to go easy on the roasting here since the UF running back pretty much handled that for us. We’ve all tweeted about Florida’s run struggles, so whatever you said must have been pretty bad. Don’t let it get to you, just remember, he looks at everything.

In eighth at 24-23 is Dylan “Geaux Tigers” Rudolph, who is making a pilgrimage back to his homeland. Yes, you read that right. The Gators football beat writer you know and love was born and raised in Baton Rouge. We expect Dylan to go full ragin’ cajun upon being reunited with his beloved crawfish.

Leading off a three-way tie for last at 22-25 is Zach “Welcome To The Last Place Club” Goodall. Zach, you’re in good company as you join Brian and I in last place. Really, I welcome you with open arms to the best place on the picks list. You’ll soon see what I mean. But I hope you don’t let “The Office” get in the way of your future picks. You’ve seen what happens when I let “Friends” get in the way...

Also in last is Mari “You Work Here, You Know” Faiello, who emailed Tyler a pitch for a story like she was a contrib. Mari, you’re the assistant sports editor. You don’t have to email me like a reporting student every time you want to write a story. Though, I do like being thanked for my time and consideration.

 

The final member of last is Brian “Sore Loser” Fox. After back-to-back weeks on the bottom, Brian has apparently decided to phone in the picks column this year, as he didn’t send in his picks this week until the 11th hour. Come on, Brian. We know doing as bad as Mari is pretty embarrassing, but that’s no reason to give up! There’s so much football left to be played and games for us to pick wrong.