Cue up some Bubba Sparxxx, because this one’s gonna be ugly.
Randy Shannon is getting another opportunity to be a head coach. The quickest way to squander it would be to lose to the Missouri Tigers. The former University of Miami coach is now the Florida Gators’ interim head coach in the wake of Jim McElwain’s departure. His first test will come on the road against a Tigers team in search of its first SEC victory of the season. Kickoff is scheduled for noon ET and will be broadcast on ESPN2 (live stream).
Mizzou has exploded through the back half of its non-conference schedule to beat its last two opponents by a combined score of 120-33. That’s helped wash the taste of an early 35-3 home defeat vs. Purdue from their mouths, but beating Idaho and UConn is a much easier task than stopping the Gators. Florida may not have a shot at the SEC East title this fall, but a strong finish remains its path toward an upper-tier bowl game.
Time, TV channel, and streaming info
- Time: Noon, ET
- Location: Memorial Stadium at Faurot Field, Columbia, Mo.
- TV: ESPN2
- Streaming: WatchESPN
- Odds: Missouri is favored by 3.5 points
Florida at Missouri news:
- So who’s gonna replace Jim McElwain? Here are 21 potential candidates.
Dan Mullen, Mississippi State head coach
The school’s clear No. 1 choice early on.
Mullen has built a competitive program in Starkville, which is no small feat. He’s the annual subject of stay-or-go rumors, and those will only ratchet up with the Florida job open.
- Missouri’s mini revival is the result of the Tigers’ finishing their drives.
By the way, Mizzou’s offense is now 18th in points per scoring opp for the season. The Tigers have been pretty much perfect at it for the last three weeks. The combination of long bombs and Albert O has been quite potent.
When you finish your chances in the end zone and prevent your opponent from doing the same, it can cover up a lot of other issues.
- Somehow, the middle of an up-and-down season was the perfect time to fire Jim McElwain.
McElwain’s talk of threats required Florida to respond — anything else would make Florida look as though it were not taking its head coach claiming he was — and players, and coaches, and families were — receiving death threats seriously. McElwain’s apparent lack of details behind the threats, though, required some explanation, too — had he told Florida officials of details, that statement on Monday would probably have mentioned cooperation with law enforcement, or some effort to do more than meet only with McElwain.
- Despite a 1-5 start, Mizzou’s bowl hopes are alive and well — because the SEC East is awful.
Oscar Gamble, Dan Keegan and David Morrison briefly discuss Missouri basketball’s secret loss to Wisconsin, then dive into Missouri’s 52-12 road win over the Connecticut Huskies before looking at the state of the SEC East starting with the Florida Gators — now minus Jim McElwain. Can Odom’s Tigers find three more wins in this awful SEC East?
Who will be Florida’s most productive quarterback?
The Gators have cycled through a trio of unimpressive passers in 2017 as Feleipe Franks, Luke Del Rio, and Malik Zaire have all struggled. Weeks after losing Del Rio for the season due to injury, Shannon reopened the QB competition between the incumbent Franks and the former Notre Dame standout Zaire. On Saturday, he may be forced to shuffle between the two to find the sweet spot of production in a game that could turn into a shootout.
Florida at Missouri prediction:
The Tigers have been trending upward in recent weeks — but their big offensive explosions came against Idaho and UConn, two FBS teams with FCS résumés. Florida has more talent on both sides of the ball, and while Shannon may not be able to unite the team less than a week after McElwain’s departure, he should be able to do enough to escape Columbia with a win.
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