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Ready for the Taking

By Matt Osborne
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On paper, the game coming up this weekend in Fayetteville is one which appears to be tailor made to play to the Gators’ strengths and the Razorbacks’ weaknesses.

While a Florida victory over Arkansas this Saturday would not in and of itself officially clinch yet another SEC East title for the Gators, it would, in all reality, solidify a second consecutive trip to Atlanta for the program.

A loss to the Razorbacks would likewise not change the fact that Florida controls its own destiny in the divisional race.

Florida has just one remaining game against a foe from the SEC East, hosting South Carolina next Saturday. Assuming the Gators are able to get past a Gamecock team against whom they will be heavily favored, Florida simply needs a win against either Arkansas or LSU on November 19 to guarantee another divisional crown.

When looking at the matchups, there is no question that the Gators have a much greater opportunity to punch their ticket to the Georgia Dome against the Razorbacks than they do the Tigers.

On paper, the game coming up this weekend in Fayetteville is one which appears to be tailor made to play to the Gators’ strengths and the Razorbacks’ weaknesses.

Though Florida appears to have made slight strides in the passing game with new starting quarterback Luke De Rio, there is still no question that the Gators prefer to employ an offensive unit predicated on running the football. Utilizing a bevy of talented runners out of the backfield, the Gators have averaged just 170 yards per contest on the ground. And on Saturday, they will be going against an Arkansas rush defense which is currently giving up 6.4 yards per rushing attempt, the highest such average in the country.

With Arkansas’ struggles to stop the run and Florida’s willingness to remain committed to handing the football off to its stable of backs, the Gators should be able to amass plenty of rushing yards on Saturday afternoon.

Conversely, Arkansas’ usually explosive rushing attack has been kept in check for the vast majority of the 2016 campaign. The Razorbacks currently rank 12th in the Southeastern Conference in both rushing yards per game (160.4) and yards per attempt (3.97).

The Arkansas passing game has thrived under new starting quarterback Austin Allen, but the Razorbacks will be going up against a Florida pass defense that is the best in all of college football. As we enter November, the Gators are allowing opposing signal callers to complete just 39 percent of their passing attempts.

Florida will be faced with the tough task of making the SEC’s longest road trip when it does travel to Fayetteville, but given the matchups of the contest, the Gators should be able to all but wrap up another SEC East title by the time the sun sets on Saturday.

Matt Osborne - Matt Osborne currently serves as the director of recruiting and lead editor for Southern Pigskin. His work has been published in a number of national publications, including USA Today. Although he loves all levels of football, Matt's number one joy in his life is his relationship with Jesus Christ. Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattOsborne200. For media requests, please email Matt at