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

By Adam Silverstein
September 11, 2021
Florida vs. South Florida: Pick, prediction, spread, odds, football game time, watch live stream, TV channel

Image Credit: Michael Nash

Though the No. 13 Florida Gators took care of business in their home opener last week, no one necessarily came away from that game enthusiastic about the team’s outlook for the season. AP Top 25 voters made their voice heard by leaving Florida in its same rankings spot and actually allowing two teams to jump it considering how unimpressive UF looked. Consider this Saturday, then, a second chance to make a good first impression as the Gators visit the South Florida Bulls, a team that got obliterated to the tune of 45-0 last week.

The first of this three-game series between UF and USF takes place at a sold out Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The victims of that horrendous day will be honored before the game, and Florida will feature the American flag within the “Gators” logo on its helmet for the first time in program history.

Saturday also marks the second all-time meeting between Florida and South Florida with this game coming exactly 11 years to the day after the first time they squared off. UF won that matchup 38-14 back in 2010.

Though anything can happen on the gridiron, the question this week is not so much whether the Gators will win but how they will look when they face the Bulls and what all of that will mean when Florida welcomes No. 1 Alabama to town next week in one of the top games of the entire 2021 season.

What will go down Saturday afternoon when Florida visits USF? Let’s find out.

Tale of the tape

No. 13 Florida GatorsSouth Florida Bulls
Head coachDan MullenJeff Scott

Injuries and absences

Questionable (3): DL Lamar Goods, Jaelin Humphries, Jalen Lee (all undisclosed)
Doubtful (2): OL Yousef Mugharbil (undisclosed), DL Chris Thomas Jr. (knee)
Out for season (2): CB Jaydon Hill (knee), DB Kamar Wilcoxson (knee)
Notable inactives (?): To be announced before kickoff

Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Sept. 11 | Time: 1 p.m. ET
Location: Raymond James Stadium — Tampa, Florida [65,857]

TV: ABC (Bob Wischusen, Dan Orlovsky, Kris Budden)
Live stream: WatchESPN | SiriusXM: 211/391 | Radio: WRUF, TuneIn
Live updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Game notes

» Florida is 1-0 all-time against South Florida with a 38-14 win in 2010. The Gators improved 8-0 all-time against in-state opponents other than Florida State and Miami after beating FAU last week.
» This is the first time in program history that UF has opened the season with its first two games against opponents from the state of Florida.
» Florida is 27-14-3 all-time playing in Tampa and 5-2 in Raymond James Stadium. It has three straight wins in the city, all Outback Bowl games in the stadium.
» With their win over the Owls last week, the Gators have won 32 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.
» Under Mullen, Florida is 21-3 when scoring first, 26-2 when leading after the third quarter, 20-0 when allowing 20 points or fewer and 22-0 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 22-3 against unranked teams under Mullen. It is also 11-1 against nonconference opponents.
» The Gators have scored 24+ points in 27 of their last 30 games.
» Florida has scored 168 offensive touchdowns in 39 games under Mullen (4.3 per game). It scored 93 in 38 games from 2015-17 (2.5). 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 11 consecutive games, the longest such streak since at least 1981.
» UF’s 400 rushing yards last week vs. FAU are the most in program history under Mullen and the most for any FBS team this season.
» 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 411 consecutive games, an NCAA record.

Prediction and analysis

Spread: Florida -28.5 | O/U: 58.5

This is a massive spread demanding a margin of victory that the Gators did not achieve last year when Mullen directed one of the most prolific offenses in program history. Still, the Bulls got absolutely annihilated 45-0 by NC State last week, which certainly makes this achievable by the visitors. The truth is that Florida not being able to dominate South Florida in the same fashion would be a massive disappointment.

As I generally note in this space, taking spreads this large is not particularly smart as so many factors can influence it not coming in, particularly ranked teams sitting starters in the second half, which the Gators will most certainly do given that Alabama is coming up next week. The idea in leaning toward Florida is that quarterbacks redshirt junior Emory Jones and redshirt freshman Anthony Richardson now have some game experience under their belts and should settle down in the passing game, leading to some quick strikes. That plus the Gators rushing attack makes for a potentially high-scoring, clock-churning offense that should allow Florida to cover but see the game fall under the total.

2021 records: ATS picks 0-1 | O/U picks 0-1

Odds and ends

» Mullen can win his 100th career game as a head coach with a victory on Saturday. He’s 30-9 at Florida.

» Florida will wear all-white uniforms for the game with special white helmets featuring an American flag embedded in the “Gators” script logo to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11, the 20th anniversary of which is being recognized on Saturday.

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