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The Predictions: Gators will win another game behind their defense

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The Florida Gators face another afternoon of being unimpressive Saturday.

Every week, it is the same. The defense will play well against Arkansas, the offense will struggle, the Gators will win. And the critics will yawn.

It has largely been so this year as Florida has built a 6-1 record and a No. 10 ranking in the AP Poll. The defense is second in the nation, but every week, all everyone wants to do is notice that Luke Del Rio isn’t throwing for enough yards.

Still, Florida has a shot at the SEC East. And that defense should shine against an Arkansas team that had only 25 yards against Auburn. No, the Gators aren’t world-beaters, but they may just be the best team in their division.

Prediction: Florida 24, Arkansas 13

FSU at North Carolina State

The Seminoles have had uncommon struggles when visiting the Wolfpack, losing three of their last five games. One of those came when FSU was ranked third in the nation.

Naturally, FSU is concerned, especially facing a possible letdown after a game against Clemson got away. The thing is, the season has turned rocky for N.C. State, too, since losing by a field goal against Clemson.

FSU might start slowly, but they simply have too many weapons.

Prediction: FSU 30, N.C. State 24

Pitt at Miami

The bottom has fallen out for Miami since a blocked extra point cost them against FSU. All of the momentum the program had regained under Mark Richt has failed.

Against Pitt, Miami should be able to get its mojo back. Look for Brad Kaaya to have a big game.

Prediction: Miami 27, Pitt 17

Tulane at UCF

The Knights, 4-4, are still learning to win. Perhaps that’s why leads against Temple and Houston evaporated and turned into defeats.

But UCF has made remarkable progress under new coach Scott Frost, going from a winless team to one with a shot at a bowl game. Freshman McKenzie Milton has excited fans with possibilities.

Prediction: UCF 35, Tulane 14

FAU at Rice

Both teams are 1-7, which kind of leaves fans searching for a reason to watch. There aren’t many.

Prediction: FAU 9, Rice 6

FIU at Western Kentucky

The Hilltoppers should roll. FIU has a chance to hang around for a half, but it’ll be tough to last longer.

Prediction: Western Kentucky 35, FIU 20

The Pros

New York Jets at Miami

Two disappointing teams get together to compare shortcomings. The Dolphins have found success in running back Jay Ajayi lately, but New York’s defense is better than you might think.

Prediction: Miami 17, New York 16

Jacksonville at Kansas City

The Jags are looking for a fresh canvas after dumping offensive coordinator Greg Olson. That isn’t likely to happen at Kansas City, even if the Chiefs are playing backup quarterback Nick Foles. Blake Bortles will keep it close, but the Jags need an impact play.

Prediction: Kansas City 27, Jacksonville 21

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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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