Andy Hodges

Hogs’ offense faces challenge of keeping up with Gators’ attack

Arkansas could actually have shot at winning this game, but Andy picks the Gators although the guess is it will be closer than expected.

Forget about the fact maybe Florida’s best offensive player will be out of tonight’s game against Arkansas … they have others.

The Gators dismantled Georgia last week, but the game really was closer than the score said. The Bulldogs just couldn’t figure out how to catch the ball or there would have been chunk big plays one right after another.

Florida’s defense isn’t that strong and it’s probably had Razorbacks’ offensive coordinator Kendal Briles smiling all week because there are numerous ways he can attack it.

Defensive coordinator and interim coach Barry Odom may not have had time to smile taking over after Sam Pittman’s positive Covid-19 test result Monday.

We won’t know until game time if any players will be out of today’s game.

The Hogs and Gators kick off at 6 p.m. on ESPN and you can listen online at or on the air at ESPN Arkansas 95.3 in the River Valley, 96.3 in Hot Springs and 104.3 in Harrison-Mountain Home.

It’s a game you might want to buckle up for.

Last week, the Hogs stumbled around in the first half offensively never really finding anything that worked consistently.

Of course in the third quarter the offense exploded for 24 points.

Dan Mullen’s teams have always found ways to score … about 18 points a game more than the Hogs have managed. Part of it is Briles’ new offense, but the other part is Florida’s better players, especially in the offensive line.

At quarterback the two are much more even than you’d think. Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask played together at Florida. Franks was injured, Trask got the job and kept it.

To the gratitude of Arkansas fans everywhere, Franks is now in Fayetteville.

The line has dropped to Florida -16.5 for tonight’s game.

That may be a little high. The Hogs are a perfect 6-0 this year against the spread (and if you don’t know why that’s a very important statistic then you are just a fan watching the games).

And I’m just crazy enough to think this is one Arkansas could get.

Florida got an emotional win over Georgia last week and saw one of their best offensive players in Kyle Pitts involved in one of the most violent down-field collisions in recent memory … and he’s also going to be out for next week’s game against Vanderbilt.

Meanwhile, the Hogs have been getting people back. Pittman will be out this week, but he appears to be handling his positive case with relatively mild symptoms so that shouldn’t be a particularly devastating emotional issue to deal with.

I’m not crazy enough to pick the Hogs to win this one, but I think it’s going to be closer than anyone else does and probably higher scoring.

Florida 42, Hogs 38

In other games this week, Covid has forced the postponement of over half the schedule in the SEC and there will likely be games played through Dec. 19.

Arkansas may not be playing that late as they haven’t had any games postponed and have an interesting three-game finish after this one to finish the season with home games against LSU and Alabama while going on the road to Missouri.

Vanderbilt at Kentucky (-17.5): The Commodores are only playing with 58, but having a full team probably wouldn’t help them a whole lot. The Wildcats are playing with emotional after their offensive line coach passed away this week after a long battle with cancer. Lots of emotion that should be channeled into a win. Kentucky 35, Vanderbilt 14

South Carolina at Ole Miss (-13): With the Rebels coming off a bye week, get ready for an offensive explosion. The Gamecocks aren’t built to keep up with the scoring pace Lane Kiffin is going to want to show in this game, although Ole Miss’ defense gave up 21 in a scrimmage last week to the tackling dummies. The Rebels will win this one, though, and probably make the over a good pick. Ole Miss 51, South Carolina 24

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