Gators heavily favored to beat Kentucky for a 32nd straight time

Dan Mullen was undoubtedly stoked to run out of the tunnel into The Swamp for the first time in a decade, and his team delivered with a 53-6 win over Charleston Southern.

Published on Monday, 9/3/18, at 4:19 p.m. Eastern.

The Dan Mullen Era is off to a successful start. Obviously, Florida should beat up on FCS teams and did just that at The Swamp in its opener this past Saturday night, coasting to a 53-6 win as a 43-point home favorite.

I’ve said all summer on my Games Galore podcast (please rate, subscribe, etc. on Apple I-tunes) that I think UF’s schedule is easy, I like the overall roster but I have minimal confidence in the players at the quarterback position. I’ve also repeatedly stated that I really hope I’m wrong and that Feleipe Franks, who I’ve always said has great size, an elite arm and excellent athleticism, vastly improves under Mullen’s tutelage.

Well, the early returns were extremely positive. Franks completed 16-of-24 passes for 219 yards and five TDs without an interception. The Wakulla Co. High School product also ran for 34 yards on five attempts for a 6.8 yards-per-carry average.

With better coaching and a pair of five-star WRs to throw to in transfers Van Jefferson (Ole Miss) and Trevon Grimes (Ohio St.), maybe Franks is poised for a breakout campaign? Whatever the case, he enjoyed a confidence-bolstering performance that has Gator Nation extremely optimistic.

Jefferson had a pair of TD grabs and Grimes had three catches for 50 yards and one TD. Veteran wideouts Tyrie Cleveland and Josh Hammond also had TD receptions and back-up QB Kyle Trask had a 12-yard TD run.

On deck in Week 2, the Gators face Kentucky and will put a 31-game winning streak on the line. UF’s dominance of UK dates back to 1986, representing the longest active rivalry winning streak in all of college football.

As of Monday afternoon, most books had Florida installed as a 14.5-point home favorite. UK is 11-11 ATS as a road underdog during Mark Stoops’s six-year tenure.

Kentucky failed to cover the number in Saturday’s 35-20 win over Central Michigan as a 17-point home favorite. This was a one-possession game most of the way and UK’s new QBs (Terry Wilson and Gunner Hoak) weren’t particularly impressive, especially Wilson, the juco transfer who won the starting job. Wilson was a 2016 signee by Oregon who transferred after one year in Eugene.

Seven UF players were suspended for the opener, including WR Kadarius Toney and DE/LB CeCe Jefferson. It is unknown how long the suspensions will last. All seven of those players are currently listed as ‘questionable.’ Junior LB David Reese, a first-team preseason All-SEC selection and a fourth-team preseason All-American in Phil Steele’s magazine, missed the opener with an ankle injury and is also a question mark vs. UK.

UF’s defense was led by junior DB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, who had five tackles, two sacks and 0.5 tackles for loss vs. Charleston Southern. Jachai Polite added four tackles, one forced fumble and one pass broken up.

Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on the SEC Network.

Here are my picks that are already loaded up for Saturday and some embedded tweets from the last few days below.

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