The Arkansas Razorbacks are set to square off with the sixth-ranked Florida Gators on Saturday at 6 p.m. on ESPN. The Hogs are searching for their first ever win in the Swamp on the heels of their 24-13 comeback win over Tennessee.
The contest is just one of three in the Southeastern Conference this week, as COVID-19 has forced the postponements of four others. Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman tested positive for the virus earlier in the week, so he will not make the trip to Florida, instead handing the reins to associate head coach and defensive coordinator Barry Odom.
The Gators lead the all-time series 9-2, but the Razorbacks emerged on the winning side of a 31-10 decision in 2016 when the two squads last met.
As the Hogs eye a winning record and the Gators look to tighten their grip on the SEC East, here are the official Arkansas Traveler staff score predictions.
Robert Stewart, Sports Editor
As exciting as the third quarter against Tennessee was, the Razorbacks posted goose eggs in the other three quarters. That cannot happen against a Florida Gator team that checks in with just under 500 yards and 42.4 points per game. Arkansas’ loss to Texas A&M two weeks ago showed that an elite offense can handle the rejuvenated Razorback defense, and the Kyle Trask-led Gators boast one of the SEC’s best. If the Hogs do not start fast, they will not stand a chance in this game. If they do, they will still have a hard time outscoring Florida. The most realistic hope for Arkansas on Saturday is to cover the 17.5-point spread.
PREDICTION: Florida 42, Arkansas 28
Mason Choate, Football Beat Writer
The Gators were able to win convincingly against a Georgia Bulldogs team that was plagued with injuries and could not figure it out at quarterback all game. Arkansas struggled for two quarters against a talented Tennessee team. This game will be decided by the matchup between the Florida offense, which averages 42.4 points per game, and the Razorback defense, which allows 222.2 passing yards per game, both of which are good for second in the conference. Arkansas should be able to move the ball against the below-average Gator defense, but it will not be enough to keep the Hogs from remaining winless in "The Swamp".
PREDICTION: Florida 35, Arkansas 24
Jackson McAfee, Sports Reporter
With the Hogs’ comeback win over the Tennessee Volunteers, and with quarterback Feleipe Franks taking on his former team, there is a lot riding on the line here for the Arkansas Razorbacks. The No. 6 Florida Gators just came off a win over the No. 12 Georgia Bulldogs, potentially extinguishing Georgia’s College Football Playoff hopes. The Razorback defense has been the best in the SEC at forcing turnovers, and the Hogs are going to have to pressure Florida quarterback Kyle Trask a lot and play outstanding in coverage. Arkansas has competed against quite a few ranked opponents this season, and that experience might carry over into this game. Like always, the Razorback offense needs to do its fair share of work to pull off the upset.
PREDICTION: Arkansas 27, Florida 23
Braden Sarver, Sports Reporter
Florida is coming off a dominant win against a highly ranked Georgia, a team that beat Arkansas by 27, so it will be a tough game for the Hogs to win. There is some hope as Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, possibly the best tight end in college football, is questionable for the game. I think Florida will force Arkansas to play a game similar to the one against Texas A&M, a high-powered offensive matchup. Arkansas’ offense has gotten better over the season, but I do not think it can match the explosive offense of the Gators.
PREDICTION: Florida 41, Arkansas 34
Andrew Joseph, Sports Reporter
This matchup feels like the ultimate trap game for the Gators. Florida played its best game of the season last week in a convincing victory over Georgia. However, Kyle Pitts, one of the top tight ends in the nation, suffered a concussion against the Bulldogs and is questionable to play against the Razorbacks. Feleipe Franks is returning to his home state to play against his former school and will unquestionably be looking to put on a show. The Hogs will be without head coach Sam Pittman this Saturday after his positive COVID-19 test, but I think the team will be motivated to play for him in his absence. Defensive coordinator Barry Odom not only has previous head coaching experience, but also led his Mizzou team to victory in Gainesville in 2018. The stars seem to be aligning for the Razorbacks this weekend. Hogs by three.
PREDICTION: Arkansas 34, Florida 31
Arianna Morrison, Sports Reporter
Feleipe Franks used to play for Florida so I see this as a revenge game for him, even though I do believe the Hogs will lose. The Razorbacks defense has remained strong, but I think it might be a more difficult game for the team, especially with Sam Pittman out this week. However, Barry Odom has head coaching experience in the SEC so it won't be too much of a downgrade. Rakeem Boyd has yet to have a phenomenally good game and this one might be it for him since this is against a tougher team. I'm excited to see how the Hogs play this week, especially with how they came back after halftime last week against Tennessee.
PREDICTION: Florida 31, Arkansas 21