The cross-divisional rivalries in the SEC can be somewhat unfair, but this one has been strength-on-strength since it’s been established. The Tigers and Gators ebb and flow, but have a similar history, and this has turned into one of the best East-West rivalries in the league, not in small part thanks to the off-the-field drama.
Let’s take a look at a rising UF team, and an LSU squad coming off an historic 2019 that will need to test its depth this season.
LSU Tigers vs. Florida Gators
When and where
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Florida
Why the line is what it is
Because the national champs lost a ton of talent to the NFL, and the Gators should be back near the top of the SEC in 2020 in Dan Mullen’s third year in Gainesville.
Kyle Trask has won the starting quarterback job via his play, and although a transfer QB is never an impossibility, he seems to be the safe choice after 2,941 yards and 25 TD’s against seven interceptions in 2019 which his sophomore or junior year depending on how the NCAA deals with a potential injury waiver after this season. He’s not an elite guy, but he can get the job done and win enough games with the talent around him.
Dameon Pierce should replace the versatile Lamical Perine at running back, Kyle Pitts is an elite tight end likely headed to the NFL after this junior season, and there are a ton of playmakers on the perimeter that will battle for wide receiver reps. It’s Florida, and speed grows on palm trees. There’s also a ton of talent returning on defense, with the first string of the front six in a 3-3-5 look all upperclassmen.
LSU lost plenty of talent from one of the best college football teams ever last season. They will be in reload mode, but the depth that has been recruited to Baton Rouge is certainly capable of winning right away.
Myles Brennan replaces Joe Burrow at quarterback, with tons of weapons to get the ball to including future NFL wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who decided to return to campus in a bit of a surprise. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is gone as well, with Chris Curry, Tyrion Davis-Price, and John Emery all in the mix to replace him.
LSU also has tons of speed and strength defensively, but not a lot of experience. This will be a force to be reckon with in 2021 most likely, but maybe not quite at peak Tiger this season.
Why it might change
If LSU’s defense comes out of the gates as they did last year, the Tigers are going to be tough to contain until the Final Four. But the defense that might be able to make more of an impact is that of the Gators, who could be one of the top three units in the country in 2020.
Where the value is now
It’s hard to not catch points with the champs, but there’s no game The Boys of Old Florida will be more hyped for in 2020 than this one. There will be a circle on it all year long, and The Swamp remains one of the toughest places to play in college football on a big SEC afternoon or night. We’ll take the Gators, but at 2.5... and not 3.5.
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