Thursday, December 4, 2008

Florida-Alabama Preview and Prediction


SEC Championship
Atlanta, GA
Florida vs Alabama
Line: Florida -9.5
Saturday 4PM CBS

This game needs no introduction, but I will do one anyways. Florida and Alabama meet in what will equate to a national semifinal. Alabama is undefeated in Nick Saban's 2nd season and #1 in the country. Florida has lost just 1 game by 1 point and has defeated their last eight opponents by 28 or more. This is also a matchup of the SEC most storied program (Alabama) against the new age dominator (Florida). These two teams met for the first three SEC Championship Games and have met a total of five times in this game. And if that was not enough you have two of the best coaches in the nation matching up in Nick Saban and Urban Meyer. They like to do things in different ways, but the results are very similar.

Earlier in the week I had 4 questions for each team that will relate to these keys.
4 Questions for Florida

4 Questions for Alabama

Keys to the Game:

1. Who Will Impose Their Style?

These two teams have contrasting styles on offense. Florida likes to spread it out and beat with you speed while Alabama would rather line it up and pound you. If this game turns into a battle of time of possession with long drives then you have to favor the Tide. If each team is trying to keep up with the others scores as fast as possible then it favors Florida. Alabama wants to play keep away from Florida and let their offensive line do the dirty work. Florida wants to get out fast and make 'Bama play from behind.

2. Percy Harvin's Health

Harvin injured his ankle last week against FSU, but the news is that his ankle is healing well and he will probably be able to go in the Championship Game. However, how much of a factor he can be will not be known until he gets an opportunity. The Gators have other weapons, but Harvin is their best weapon and a huge difference maker.

3. Turnovers & Special Teams

When you have two teams as evenly matched as these two (don't look at the line) then turnovers and special teams always play a huge part. Both of these defenses have a knack for creating turnovers and the offenses are very reliable with the ball. Florida has a slight edge in the kicking game with return man Brandon James and their punt block unit, but do not sleep on Alabama's Javier Arenas who can plays of his own in the return game.

Prediction

This could be called the most anticipated game in SEC history. You will have the two loudest and proudest fan bases in the conference meeting for a likely berth in the BCS Championship Game. I cannot remember the last time a #1 team was nearly a double-digit underdog, but that is what Alabama is facing. The hot money is on Florida with their recent performances, but you cannot deny the fact that Alabama is undefeated. I think this game hinges on key #1 - who can impose their style of play. This one will be a classic and will not disappoint. I like Florida to win, but Alabama easily covers the +9.5.

Florida 30 Alabama 28
Alabama Covers +9.5

Last Week: 2-7-1 ATS, 6-4 SU
Season: 31-28-3 ATS, 40-22 SU


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