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College predictions: Florida isn’t ready to play the nation’s No. 3 team

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They aren’t there yet.

Oh, Vernon Hargreaves is there. Jon Bullard is there. Alex McCalister is there.

But not enough of the Florida Gators are to the level that coach Jim McElwain wants his team to be. Despite promise, quarterback Will Grier isn’t quite there yet. Running back Kelvin Taylor isn’t there yet. Receiver Antonio Callaway isn’t there yet.

At least, they aren’t all the way there. Not enough to beat the nation’s No. 3 team in the Ole Miss Rebels.

Despite last week’s euphoric victory over Tennessee, don’t forget that the Gators trailed by 13 in the fourth quarter. As explosive as Ole Miss is, the Rebels aren’t likely to take their foot off of the gas. They’ve already gone to Tuscaloosa to win. Now, it’s on to the Swamp.

Oh, the Gators still have a shot to be better than most people expect, and they might return to the AP Top 25 this year.

But this time, it goes the other way.

Ole Miss 24, Florida 14.

It seems a bit early for an open date, but that might have done FSU some good last weekend. Especially as ragged as the offense looked in a 14-0 win over Boston College.

This week, there shouldn’t be as many problems with the Seminoles playing against Wake Forest. Dalvin Cook should be able to get rolling again behind an improving offensive line, and quarterback Everett Golson might have his crispest game.

The stars, of course, will be the FSU defense. It’s a good unit. It’ll have to be.

FSU 30, Wake Forest 13

There was a time when it was Memphis who aspired to be like USF. Now, the roles have been reversed. The Tigers come into Raymond James Stadium tonight as a solid favorite.

Of course, everyone knew that if USF really was going to make a run at a bowl game, these were the sort of games it would have to win. For the Bulls, that means getting quarterback Quinton Flowers to the edge and hoping that they can establish running back Marlon Mack.

Memphis 24, USF 20

So far this season, UCF hasn’t been able to run the ball at all, and it hasn’t been able to throw it a lot. But the Knights were representative in their loss to South Carolina, and they should have enough to get past a weak Tulane team. Of course, outsiders said that about Furman, too, didn’t they?

UCF 19, Tulane 13

Florida International should be able to hold off a winless UMass team. A warning, though. Colorado and Notre Dame are two of the teams that helped UMass get that way. Still, Alex McGough should throw for enough to lead the Panthers.

FIU 27, UMass 19

Does anyone outside of these two schools give a hoot? The Owls of Florida Atlantic should have enough to get past the Owls of Rice.

Look for quarterback Jaquez Johnson to have a big day for FAU.

FAU 24, Rice 14

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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