No. 7 Auburn and No. 10 Florida will square off in a battle of unbeaten SEC teams Saturday afternoon in the biggest game of Week 6 in college football. And wouldn't you know it? The first top-10 showdown in The Swamp since 2012 just so happens to be the SEC on CBS Game of the Week. The Gators are 4-1 against ranked opponents under coach Dan Mullen, while the Tigers are the lone team this season with a pair of top-25 victories ... and both came on the road.
The winner will notch a signature win that will likely resonate with the College Football Playoff Selection Committee next month when they hold their first meeting of the season. The loser will not be out of the national title picture, however, as each team has numerous top 10 opponents left to play, but it will have a red mark on its schedule as it attempts to win its division to earn a spot in the SEC Championship Game.
The Tigers are coming off a big win over Mississippi State at Jordan-Hare Stadium, and the Gators dispatched Towson with relative ease in The Swamp last week in preparation for this game. Despite a couple offenses that have shown an ability to put up points, many are expecting a tough, defensive battle on Saturday afternoon. What will go down in The Swamp? Let's breakdown the matchup and make picks straight up and against the spread.
Auburn: The Tigers needed a big game through the air from true freshman Bo Nix, and they got it against the Bulldogs last week. Nix went 16 of 21 for 335 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He stretched the ball downfield consistently and used the middle of the field quite a bit -- something that was absent from the playbook leading up to the game. What has been present all season long for the Tigers is a next level defense that has been dominating opponents thanks to star linemen Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson. who have been especially solid on the ground. They're giving up just 3.09 yards rushing per play and have been even better against Power Five competition (2.87).
Florida: Kyle Trask kept rolling right along last week against Towson when he completed 90 percent of his passes (18 of 20), threw for 188 yards and tossed two touchdown passes. Through two games and one quarter as the starter, Trask has shown the stability that injured signal-caller Feleipe Franks failed to show throughout the majority of his career. He might have to be a difference-maker on Saturday considering the Gators rank 11th in the SEC in rushing (141.40). Florida's defense has been the rock for coach Dan Mullen's crew this year. They rank second in the nation with 24 sacks and 15th in rushing yards per attempt (2.71). They're also first nationally in interceptions (nine). The in Gainesville, Florida. The Gators get back star defensive end Jabari Zuniga, cornerback CJ Henderson, wide receiver Freddie Swain and several other starters back after brief absences.
Game prediction, picks
Auburn's defensive front is going to do to Florida what it has done to pretty much every other team this year: stop the run and force the quarterback win with his arm. Do you trust Trask to do that in the biggest game of his brief college career? I don't. Auburn needed to get Nix going through the air last week because it needed to know he can handle it, but he won't need to do much in this one. As long as Nix doesn't make mistakes, coach Gus Malzahn will keep things simple, pound the rock and give Nix enough through the air to control it throughout. Pick: Auburn (-3.5)
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