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Outback Bowl: Florida vs. Penn State Preview & Pick

Outback Bowl Betting – Florida Gators vs Penn St. Nittany Lions Betting

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Florida vs Penn State Preview & Pick

Date: Saturday, January 1, 2011
Venue: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Broadcast: ABC
Florida vs Penn State Betting Lines from BetOnline.com
Money Line: Florida -290, Penn State +240
Spread: Florida -7
Over/Under: 47.5
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Florida Gators (7-5)

2010 has been, to say the least, a season full of distractions for the Florida Gators. First, they had to deal with the loss of Tim Tebow, arguably the most decorated college football player of all time; secondly, they learned that legendary coach Urban Meyer was finally leaving the team for real because of his dwindling health and a desire to see his family more.

Given those factors, can Florida be that dissatisfied with a 7-5 record entering the Outback Bowl? Naturally, the offense took a major step backward this season. John Brantley, Tebow’s successor, threw for just 2,020 yards with nine touchdowns and nine interceptions. He’s very clearly a work in progress – or maybe even just a stopgap. The Gators still ran the ball fairly well this season thanks to an amazingly balanced attack. Excluding Brantley, six different Florida players had at least 45 carries this season. Florida averaged 172.5 rushing yards per game, good for 39th in the country.

Defensively, the Gators are elite. Their 294.8 total yards allowed per game gives them the nation’s No. 7 defense and they’re strong against both the pass (13th) and the run (26th). One problem: they’re banged up for the Outback Bowl, with three pieces of their defense out. Defensive tackles Terron Sanders and Lawrence Marsh will miss the game but the big loss is cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who had shoulder surgery. Florida also won’t have right tackle Maurice Hurt (knee) on offense.

Penn State Nittany Lions (7-5)

Florida State will say goodbye to Meyer on New Year’s Day but will Penn State do the same with its own legend, Joe Paterno? He supposedly will return next year but we can’t be so sure; he’s 84 years old and his health is failing.

Penn State’s 7-5 record is just about right. The Nittany Lions have been a workmanlike team in 2010, not particularly strong anywhere but not horrible anywhere either. If they have a weakness, it’s their run defense; they were 76th in the country with 159.6 yards allowed per game.

An interesting late-season development for Penn State was the play of Matt McGloin at quarterback. He opened the season as the third-stringer but battled all the way to the starting job. He finished with 13 touchdown passes and just four interceptions, leading Penn State to four wins in its final six games.

The pick:

Paterno and McGloin make for nice stories but I still think Florida just has more talent. The Gators’ multifaceted running game makes up for Brantley’s shortcomings and will really test Penn State’s suspect run defense. Also, even with a few injuries, Florida is the superior defensive team. I expect the Gators to keep Penn State’s offense in check and grind out a win in what may not be the most exciting of bowl games.

Florida vs Penn State prediction: Florida 27, Penn State 17

Money Line: Florida -290
Spread: Florida -7
Over/Under: UNDER 47.5

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About Shea Matthews

Shea Matthews the Senior Writer at CP. Lives and breathes sports. He made the transition from athlete to sports journalist at a young age, writing in TV & national papers. Shea applies his knowledge to sports betting + handicapping daily, and shares winning picks with the world.


Comments

Comments

  1. sports predictions says:

    Paterno and McGloin make for nice stories but I still think Florida just has more talent. The Gators’ multifaceted running game makes up for Brantley’s shortcomings and will really test Penn State’s suspect run defense.

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