While both of these powerhouse programs are highly ranked to start the 2021 season, the Crimson Tide clearly stand a cut above the Gators. Despite the game kicking off in Gainesville, Nick Saban’s reigning national champions are favored by 14.5 points.
ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith believes the winning margin for Bama will be even greater. On today’s episode of First Take, he predicted that the Gators would lose by a minimum of three touchdowns.
“[Alabama’s] gonna mop y’all right out of the state,” Smith said to former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.
The former Heisman Trophy winner believes this game will be far more closely contested than people expect.
He responded with a friendly wager for the ESPN host.
“If Florida is closer than that, how about next Friday you rock a Gator tie?”
Smith quickly agreed.
.@stephenasmith: "[Alabama's] gonna mop y'all right out of the state."@TimTebow: "If Florida is closer than that, how about next Friday you rock a Gator tie?" @stephenasmith: "Rock a gator tie? Done!" pic.twitter.com/QYwlf8v4eG
— First Take (@FirstTake) September 17, 2021
While the Gators have two decisive wins to start the season, Smith referenced their lack of schedule strength so far. Through two victories over Florida Atlantic and South Florida, Florida’s starting QB Emory Jones has logged four interceptions — sparking some uncertainty at the position.
Alabama on the other hand are looking just as unstoppable as ever. Through their first two contests against No. 14 Miami and Mercer, the Crimson Tide have claimed victory by a combined margin of 65 points. Starting QB Bryce Young is off to an outstanding start, throwing for 571 yards, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions so far.
Kicking off in “The Swamp” tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. ET, the Gators will look to give Stephen A. Smith a wardrobe change next week.