Game Preview: No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs No. 11 Florida Gators

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama Crimson Tide cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Key Matchups

1. Will Anderson Jr/Drew Sanders/Chris Braswell/Dallas Turner vs Emory Jones/Anthony Richardson

As mentioned previously, Florida uses both Jones and Richardson who are both very good runners at the quarterback position. It will be key for Alabama’s outside linebackers to help contain Jones and Richardson from running the ball, while also providing consistent pass rush to force them to beat them through the air and not on the ground. Also, with it unclear how available Anderson will be, we could see a bit-more Saturday from talented freshman Dallas Turner should Anderson miss time.

2. Kool-Aid McKinstry vs Jacob Copeland/Justin Shorter/Trent Whittemore/Xzavier Henderson

McKinstry saw time as Alabama’s No. 2 corner a week ago, and could draw the start Saturday in Gainesville in what would be the freshman’s first road start. If McKinstry draws the start, he could see one-on-one matchups throughout the game against any of Florida’s top wideouts.

3. Darrian Dalcourt/Javion Cohen vs Daquan Newkirk/Antonio Valentino/Gervon Dexter

Dalcourt and Cohen have looked impressive taking over at center and left guard through the first two games of the season. Similar to the Miami matchup previously, Florida has at-least three experienced interior defensive lineman that will rotate in-and-out.

Alabama vs Florida Prediction

The Alabama Crimson Tide have dominated this matchup in recent years winning the last seven matchups between the two with Florida’s last win coming in the 2008 SEC Championship Game.

As mentioned previously, this is a rematch of the 2020 SEC Championship Game which saw the Crimson Tide defeat the Gators 52-46. Much has changed since last-December for both teams, particularly on offense. While both teams have impressed on offense so far this season, arguably the deciding-factor on Saturday will come from each team’s defense, both of which have experience and depth at all three levels.

It will be key for the Alabama Crimson Tide to get Young and the offense going early in what will be his first true-road start, while also defensively forcing Jones and Richardson to beat them through the air and not on the ground.

Yes, Florida is ranked No. 11 in the AP poll, but make no mistake, this is very-much a Top 10-caliber matchup on the road.

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This game will likely be close in the first half, as well as entering halftime. However, don’t be surprised if an Alabama-dominated third quarter proves to be the deciding factor and the Crimson Tide pull away in the second half.

Prediction: Alabama 42, Florida 24