Florida vs. LSU: Pick, prediction, spread, odds, line, time, watch live stream, TV channel

By Adam Silverstein
December 12, 2020
Florida vs. LSU: Pick, prediction, spread, odds, line, time, watch live stream, TV channel
Football

Image Credit: Michael Nash

The end of the regular season has arrived, and for the first time since 1964, it will come with the No. 6 Florida Gators facing the cross-division rival LSU Tigers. The Florida-LSU rivalry has only seen its intensity ratchet up over the last few seasons, and there is certainly no love lost between the Gators and Tigers — either the players or the fans watching them play.

Florida is headed back to the SEC Championship Game for the first time since 2016 with the program’s first College Football Playoff berth at the forefront of its mind. LSU is suffering through a horrendous season that has seen it capsize after losing most of the talent and coaches that led it to a miraculous CFP National Championship last season.

The Gators and Tigers seem to always play at night when the game is in Death Valley but only do so occasionally in The Swamp. Not this time. Florida hosts LSU on Saturday night inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium with a (COVID-19 limited) crowd that should be amp’d to see its team for the last time in its biggest home game of the season (despite LSU’s record).

History is also on the line for redshirt senior quarterback Kyle Trask as he looks to break Danny Wuerffel’s single-season touchdown passing record. This as Trask himself pushes to become the fourth Gators signal caller to win the Heisman Trophy. His 38 touchdowns lead every other FBS QB by eight entering the game.

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

Tale of the tape

No. 6 Florida GatorsLSU Tigers
Head coachDan MullenEd Orgeron
Record8-13-5
ConferenceSECSEC

Injuries and absences

Questionable (3): LB Jeremiah Moon (foot), LB David Reese (shoulder), WR Trent Whittemore (ribs/lung)
Out for season (1): DB Ethan Pouncey (hip)
Notable inactives (3): DB Shawn Davis, DL Lamar Goods, DL Jaelin Humphries

Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Dec. 12 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium — Gainesville, Florida [18,000]

TV: ESPN (Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge, Todd McShay, Allison Williams)
Live stream: WatchESPN | SiriusXM: 132/191| Radio: WRUF, TuneIn
Live updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Game notes

» Florida is 33-30-3 all-time against LSU with a 16-3-3 record in The Swamp. The Gators and Tigers are 2-2 over their last four meetings, but UF is 3-7 against LSU since 2010. The teams have played every season since 1971.
» This is the first time since 1964 (due to a hurricane) and second time ever that the Gators and Tigers will play in December. It is the latest game on the calendar in rivalry history. The game was originally scheduled for Oct. 17 but postponed due to COVID-19.
» Florida is advancing to the SEC Championship Game for the first time since 2016 and can clinch the SEC East outright with a win over LSU or Georgia loss on Saturday. The Gators will face SEC West champion Alabama for the 10th time in the league title game. The Crimson Tide hold a 5-4 edge in that championship series.
» Under Mullen, Florida is 21-1 when scoring first, 25-1 when leading after the third quarter, 19-0 when allowing 20 points or fewer, 6-2 in games decided by fewer than 10 points and 21-0 when outrushing its opponent.
» UF lost for the first time when scoring first and leading after the third quarter this season vs. Texas A&M. It is now 7-6 when being outrushed by an opponent.
» Florida is 5-4 against ranked opponents (4-3 against top 10 teams) and 23-2 against unranked teams under Mullen.
» Mullen has begun his career 29-6 through 35 games, the best start in program history with Urban Meyer and Steve Spurrier both going 27-7.
» The Gators’ 29 sacks this season are the most in the SEC.
» Florida has scored 378 points through its first nine games, the sixth-most at this point in program history. However, this team has played all of its games against SEC opponents.
» The Gators have scored 24+ points in 24 of their last 26 games and had scored 34+ points in 10 straight games, the longest stretch in program history. Eight of those came against SEC teams, also a record.
» Florida has scored 151 offensive touchdowns in 35 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.
» UF has scored in 407 consecutive games, an NCAA record.
» Florida is one of only two FBS teams (Alabama) that has not lost to an opponent that finished the season with a losing record dating back to the 2008 season.
» The Gators finished the 2019 season undefeated in The Swamp for the first time since 2016 and can now finish consecutive seasons undefeated on Florida Field for the first time since 2005-06.

» Redshirt senior quarterback Kyle Trask’s 38 touchdown passes leads all other QBs nationally by eight. It’s the third-highest total through nine games in FBS history, trailing Houston’s Andre Ware by two (40 in 1989), but all of Trask’s have come against SEC competition. He’s one TD away from tying Florida’s single-season record set by Danny Wuerffel in 1996. (Wuerffel finished with 42 including a bowl game.)
» Trask is the first player in program history to throw 4+ touchdowns in six straight games. He previously set an SEC record for most TDs through the first six games of a season and tied an FBS record for most through six games in the last 20 seasons (28). Trask is also the first Gators signal caller to throw for 6+ touchdowns twice in a single season and the second to do it in his career (Wuerffel).
» Junior tight end Kyle Pitts’ 11 touchdowns are most for his position in program history and most for any Gators pass catcher since Jabar Gaffney had 13 in the full 2001 season. Pitts has the fourth-most TD catches among FBS players despite only playing seven games. 92% of Pitts’ receptions have resulted in a TD or first down, according to Pro Football Focus.
» Senior wide receiver Kadarius Toney became just the 11th SEC player since 1996 to record a passing, rushing, receiving and punt return touchdown in his career.
» Florida is the only team in the nation with three players who have caught 8+ touchdowns (Pitts, Grimes, Toney). That has only happened one other time in program history (1996) and rarely happens in any given season. All three also have 30+ receptions and 400+ yards receiving.

Senior Night

There will be 27 players eligible to graduate who will be honored ahead of kickoff on Saturday night. These seniors saw the program hit rock bottom with a 4-7 record and rise to prominence again with consecutive New Year’s Six bowl victories and a College Football Playoff push now in their final season. The ceremony will begin at 6:45 p.m., but it is not known whether it will air on TV or stream online.

Scholarship players, starters: Brad Stewart Jr., Brett Heggie, Donovan Stiner, Jacob Finn, Jean Delance, Jeremiah Moon, Kadarius Toney, Kyle Trask, Kyree Campbell, Marco Wilson (redshirt junior), Marlon Dunlap Jr., Rick Wells, Shawn Davis, Stewart Reese, Stone Forsythe, Tedarrell Slaton, Trevon Grimes

Walk ons: Austin Perry, Brett DioGuardi, Clifford Taylor IV, Erik Askeland, Jack Ruskell, Michael Weir, Nick Oelrich, Nicolas Sutton, Quaylin Crum, Trey Thompson

Prediction and analysis

Spread: Florida -23 | O/U: 68

The Gators are favored entering this game for the first time since 2014, and there is no doubt that they deserve to be. Now, whether they will cover the more than three-touchdown spread is another question altogether, but there is some reason to believe. Namely, Florida is motivated and seems to be pissed off after LSU trounced it 42-28 last year on the way to a national title. And many of these players remember the chants by Tigers fans echoing throughout the concourse of The Swamp back in 2017. Mullen has absolutely played those videos for his team.

On the field, LSU’s passing defense is atrocious, but there is young and inexperienced talent back there. As disappointing as Florida’s defense has been this season, it does lead the SEC in sacks and is going up against one of two freshman quarterbacks, whoever Orgeron chooses ahead of kickoff. The Gators have failed to make a “statement” over the last few weeks, winning games by 21, 24 and 12 despite far more impressive performances in tougher games earlier this season. Their scoring total has also gone down each week as Mullen has played conservative in the second half, much to the chagrin of many.

It’s tough to pick Florida to cover this game given the lack of care Mullen’s shown to build and sustain large leads late in games. However, this is an LSU team that lost by 37 at Auburn and 38 to Alabama. Gators defensive coordinator Todd Grantham may get out all of his aggression in this one, and I would not be surprised to see a touchdown from his unit. Let’s side with Florida covering but the game staying under the total.

2020 records: ATS picks 6-3 | O/U picks 3-6 | Overall: 9-9

Odds and ends

» Florida will wear orange helmets, blue jerseys and blue pants in its regular-season finale.
» The Swamp will have blue end zones with white lettering and orange outlines for the home finale.

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