McElwain's Gators welcome UMass to Swamp
After a 6-0 start, Florida’s 2015 season ended with a thud. That’s why it’s instrumental to hand heavy underdog Massachusetts a Swamp drubbing this evening.
The Gators kick off the new campaign at 7:30 p.m. ET, hosting Mark Whipple’s Minutemen at Ben Hill Griffen Stadium. According to handicappers at online sports book BetDSI, UF enters the tilt a 34.5-point favorite. The over/under is 50.5.
Jim McElwain’s troops last took the field on Jan. 1, dropping a 41-7 verdict to Michigan in the Citrus Bowl. It was a disconcerting ending to an otherwise impressive first year under the new head coach. Will Grier threw for 1,202 yards and 12 touchdowns, while Kelvin Taylor amassed 1,035 yards on the ground to go along with 13 scores.
Of course, both of those individuals are now gone. Luke Del Rio steps into the void at quarterback, having beaten out Purdue graduate transfer Austin Appleby and freshman Feleipe Franks during the spring. It’s imperative that the son of the Oakland Raiders’ head coach acquit himself well right away, because the Gators already commence SEC play vs. Kentucky next week.
That shouldn’t too much of a challenge against UMass. Coming off a 3-9 season, the school is suddenly competing as an independent. Ross Comis, who replaces Blake Frohnapfel as signal-caller, has the challenge of facing a Florida group that ranked fourth in the conference in both total and scoring defense last fall.
Provided that UF’s reconfigured offensive line doesn’t sabotage Del Rio, look for the host team’s first- and second-stringers to pile up the points. The Minutemen may even add a garbage-time TD or two, making for an offensive barrage in the Sunshine State.
SATURDAY NCAA FREE PICK: UMASS/FLORIDA OVER 50.5 POINTS