One of the top games in Week 2 of this college football season matches No. 12 Florida against Miami who came in 25th in the Coach's poll this week.
The Gators are coming off a hard fought win over Toledo who hung with Florida until the second half.
The Hurricanes are coming off an impressive showing against Florida Atlantic. The competition for both teams will take a step up as they face off against each other.
The Gators in their opener still showed that they had question marks on the offensive side of the ball.
Florida wasn't even able to reach the 30-point mark against an inferior Toledo team. The defense for Florida, much like last year, was the difference maker in the outcome. The Gators' defense held Toledo to six points and never allowed the Rockets to get in a flow on offense.
This Gators' defense was one of the best statistical defenses in 2012 with athletes and speed all over the field. It appears by their early season performance that they will need this defense to keep this dominant force up to make up for offensive struggles.
As Florida enters the game against Miami the level of speed and athleticism will increase to a much higher degree. The offense for Florida must show up on the road if they hope to defeat the Hurricanes in Miami.
The Hurricanes of Miami seem to finally be returning to the elite of college football. Their recruiting has been top notch since Al Golden took over as head coach in 2011.
Miami has been ineligible for bowl season the last two years and a third straight year may be in store for the program. That being said, this matchup against a top ten team Florida may be the closest to a bowl like atmosphere the Hurricanes experience all season.
The Hurricanes are led by senior quarterback Stephen Morris who has been making remarkable progress over the past couple of seasons. Morris passed for 3,345 yards in 2012 along with 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions. This level of play is projected to spike in 2013 and have the 'Canes in contention for the ACC crown.
Morris has elite play makers and speed around him on offense. The headliner that will likely become national known this season is running back Duke Johnson. Johnson broke out in the season opener against Florida Atlantic to make him a possible Heisman contender. His speed will be a great test for the defense of Florida and their game plan will likely be focused around Johnson.
So, who holds the upper hand in this matchup come Saturday? If you look at the offensive side of the ball the Hurricanes seem certain to hold the upper hand.
The battle of upperclassmen quarterbacks, Johnson for Miami and Jeff Driskel for Florida, will be key in who wins. I feel Johnson has more weapons around him to make him more successful than Driskel has.
The defensive side of the ball will certainly be advantage Florida. The Gators' defense will have to contain the speed of Miami and not allow Morris to get comfortable in the passing game.
Florida will need to hold the Hurricanes to under 150 yards rushing if they hope to win and slow down the Hurricanes' offense. This will be easier said than done, but if the Gators' defense from Week 1 shows up this is very possible.
My final conclusion when studying this contest of the sunshine state, I believe the Gators will prevail as victor. I feel the defense of Florida will be too tough for a Hurricanes team that isn't used to seeing the speed and toughness Florida has on defense.
I think the Hurricanes will keep the game close, but in the fourth quarter the Gators' defense will wear down the Miami offense. This game will be an exciting one to watch because of the speed and experience that both teams have.
I see Florida defeating Miami 34-27 in a game that displays the outstanding talent that Florida and Miami both possess. I think the key will be Florida's defense being fast and physical enough to contain Miami's offense in key moments.
This game will certainly be one of the top games of week two and one that shows that both of these Florida teams are near the top in the game of college football today.