Florida vs. FAU: Pick, prediction, spread, odds, football game time, watch live stream, TV channel

By Adam Silverstein
September 4, 2021
Florida vs. FAU: Pick, prediction, spread, odds, football game time, watch live stream, TV channel
Football

Image Credit: Michael Nash

There’s nothing like starting a brand new college football season, and the Florida Gators enter this one with renewed hope after their national championship dreams were dashed late in the 2020 season with the team faltering massively down the stretch with three straight losses, including a bowl game blowout. With fans returning to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, a new quarterback under center, 75% of its offense gone from last season, a defense that has no choice but to improve and three new assistant coaches on the roster, it’s obvious that Florida has some work to do in order for its 2021 hopes to be fulfilled.

The Gators welcome the FAU Owls in the fourth meeting between the in-state opponents and first since 2015. They will face a familiar foe on the opposite sideline but most likely enter the game seeing an opportunity to give their retooled roster a chance to coalesce before a gauntlet of an SEC schedule begins in Week 3 when Alabama enters The Swamp.

Though anything can happen on the gridiron, the question Saturday is not so much whether UF will win but how it will look when it faces the Owls and whether the game will be used as an opportunity to get some younger, less-experienced players extended playing time. The game has not yet been announced as a sellout, though there is expected to be a significantly large crowd on hand for the first time in more than a year.

What will go down Saturday night in the Florida-FAU game? Let’s find out.

Tale of the tape

No. 13 Florida GatorsFAU Owls
Head coachDan MullenWillie Taggart
Record0-00-0
ConferenceSECSun Belt

Injuries and absences

Doubtful (1): OL Yousef Mugharbil (undisclosed)
Out (1): DB Kamar Wilcoxson (knee)
Out for season (1): CB Jaydon Hill (knee)
Notable inactives (?): To be announced before kickoff

Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Sept. 4 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium — Gainesville, Florida [88,548]

TV: SEC Network (Tom Hart, Jordan Rodgers, Cole Cubelic)
Live stream: WatchESPN | SiriusXM: 81 | Radio: WRUF, TuneIn
Live updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Game notes

» Florida is 3-0 all-time against FAU, hosting all three contests in The Swamp. UF last beat the FAU 20-14 in 2015 but has outscored the visitors 120-37. It is also 7-0 all-time against Sunshine State-based FBS schools not named Florida State or Miami.
» The Gators have won 31 straight home openers dating back to 1989, the longest active streak in the nation. Their lone season opening loss since 1990 came in 2017 in a neutral-site game against Michigan. It is the first time since 2018 that UF gets to open in The Swamp.
» Florida has been ranked among the top 15 teams in the AP Top 25 in three consecutive preseason and postseason polls. UF is No. 13 in the AP Top 25 and No. 11 in the Coaches Poll.
» Under Mullen, the Gators are 20-3 when scoring first, 25-2 when leading after the third quarter, 19-0 when allowing 20 points or fewer and 21-0 when outrushing their opponents.
» UF is 7-8 when being outrushed by an opponent and 6-4 in games decided by 10 points or less.
» Florida is 6-8 against ranked opponents (4-5 against top 10 teams) and 21-3 against unranked teams under Mullen. It is also 10-1 against nonconference opponents.
» The Gators have scored 24+ points in 26 of their last 29 games.
» Florida has scored 163 offensive touchdowns in 38 games under Mullen. It scored 93 in 38 games from 2015-17. UF has also scored 50+ points five times under Mullen compared to five times over 101 games from 2010-17.
» The Gators have posted 400+ yards of total offense in 10 consecutive games, the longest such streak since at least 1981.
» Florida is one of two FBS teams nationally (Alabama) that has not lost to an opponent that finished the season with a losing record since 2004.
» UF has scored in 410 consecutive games, an NCAA record.

Prediction and analysis

Spread: Florida -23 | O/U: 52

Talent disparity is the name of the game here, and while the Gators will be breaking in an offense that lost nearly 75% of its production to graduation and the NFL Draft a season ago, there are still plenty of playmakers on that side of the ball for Mullen and redshirt junior quarterback Emory Jones to exploit. It may not come easy at first, but once Florida gets a handle on how FAU intends to defend it, a team scoring total of 38 points or more would not be surprising. Especially if redshirt freshman Anthony Richardson gets a chance to sling it late in the game.

On the other side, everyone saw how poorly the Gators defense played last season. Florida allowed four touchdowns or more in seven of 12 games, but it did hold its lesser opponents to 17.4 points per game. With it likely that UF gives up an early score before fortifying its defense and uses backups late in the game, FAU should have a few opportunities to score. Though it would be preferable to have this a couple points lower and it is not advisable to take a spread this large, the leans are Florida and the over with a final score around 41-16.

2020 records: ATS picks 7-5 | O/U picks 5-7

Odds and ends

» Florida is suggesting fans wear white for the game. It will wear orange helmets, white jerseys and white pants in its home opener. This is a rarity for the Gators and likely being worn because FAU prefers to wear red on the road.
» The Swamp will have white end zones with an orange outline for the first game of the season. This is the first time in program history that Florida Field will be dressed in this manner.

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