Date: Saturday September 15th, 2018 at 4 PM EDT (2 PM MDT)
History: First Meeting
TV/Radio: SEC Network, KARS 102.9 (Northern Colorado)
Line: CSU -20
This weekend Colorado State will be heading to Gainesville, Florida to collect $2 Million paycheck. Not only that, but Rams will be looking to complete the unthinkable again. Last week with their backs against the wall, the Rams came back from 18 points deficit in the second half to upset the Arkansas Razorbacks 34-27. The Rams were a 14 point underdog going into that game and this time a road game against an SEC opponent they are a 20 point underdog. A Florida team that is likely to be angry after losing to Kentucky for the first time in 31 years.
Why is this game being played: Well back in 2014 the Rams are riding high wrapping up at 10 and 2 season and being ranked in the top 25. Then on a random December day, word got around quickly that Florida’s former Athletic Director Jeremy Foley flew into town to meet with at the time Head Coach Jim McElwain. They were meeting about the head coaching job. There was one catch, McElwain had a $7 Million buyout that was a non-negotiable according to president Tony Frank and Former Athletic Director Jack Graham. According to sources, McElwain had all but agreed to become the next head coach but Foley was not wanting to pay $7 Million for it. So, he attempted to bring it down to $3 Million and schedule some sort of game between the two schools.
There were rumors of it being at Mile High Stadium and there were some in Gainesville. Me personally I believed the later because, Florida has only traveled once for non-conference game outside of Florida since 1991. The result of all this was a $7 Million buyout that was broken down into $3 Million paid by the University of Florida, $2 Million paid by Jim McElwain himself, and $2 Million for a football game to be played at the University of Florida. Kudos to President Tony Frank for standing his ground. This ended up as the largest buyout in college football history, and it turned out to not really be worth it for the University of Florida.
About Florida: Florida’s now coach by Dan Mullen after Jim McElwain was let go of the midway point of last season. Their quarterback is red shirt sophomore Felipe Franks and they come into the game with a 1-1 record. After dominating Charleston Southern their first game of the season they lost last week to Kentucky for the first time since 1986 by the score of 27-16. The Gators will bring speed on both sides of the ball which can cause some problems for the Rams. The Gators will be angry as well after losing and a streak of 31 straight games being broken.
How Colorado State can win: The Rams will need to establish a running game which is something that they’ve struggled to establish in the first 3 games of this season. Florida will look to limit both Preston Williams and Olabisi Johnson. They’ve talked about that all week by focusing to shut down the passing attack. With Marvin Kinsley and Rashad Boddie back for the second game, the Rams can be more explosive running the ball. The defense will need to step up big time just as they did against Arkansas. The closer the defense can keep this game the better it is for the offense. Will need to create turnovers as Florida’s offense continues to be very inconsistent. The biggest thing is capitalizing off those turnovers and scoring touchdowns not just field goals. As Mike bobo said last week “If you can get it to a fourth quarter game then the Rams will have a chance.” I believe with this Florida team there could potentially be doubt that could set in if it’s a close game in the 4th. To me there is also the psychological factor Florida has a rivalry game next week against Tennessee. So will Florida overlook this team because they have Tennessee coming up next week?
Prediction: Florida 34 – Colorado State 31. This will be a very close game because Colorado State being a little confident coming into this game but also Florida isn’t that dominant of a team. Despite it being in Gainesville, the Rams are not intimidated going into that environment. They played in Alabama which was a full stadium, and much louder I don’t believe this game will be a sellout. This will be a close game until late in the fourth quarter where Florida I believe will kick a game winning field goal that will ultimately win the game. I would not be surprised by any result of this game though.