The Edge: UK vs. Florida

Mike Hartline vs. John Brantley

Not many pundits before the season would’ve said that Hartline would have more passing yards, more completions, a better completion percentage and better passing efficiency than Brantley, Tim Tebow’s former heir apparent. But the reality three games into the season is that Hartline has been more impressive.

Brantley, like Hartline, hasn’t thrown an interception, but he hasn’t thrown for more than 200 yards in a game either. That being said, Brantley does have a cannon for an arm. The last time Hartline made a trip to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium he was yanked from the game and lost his starting job to Randall Cobb. Early signs this season point to what should be a more successful day for Hartline.

Edge: Hartline

Derrick Locke vs. Jeffrey Demps

Florida wide receiver Chris Rainey was suspended from the team last week following his arrest for aggravated stalking, Brantley hasn’t been the game changer that his predecessor Tim Tebow was and thus, a lot of Florida’s offensive punch lies with Demps. The Gators’ junior tailback is ranked third in the Southeastern Conference in rushing with 310 yards and is also the defending NCAA 100-meter dash champion in track.

The always confident Locke, considered the fastest player for the Cats, has never been one to shy away from a speed challenge, but even he acknowledged he couldn’t beat Demps in a 100-meter dash. However, Locke said; “I honestly think I can beat (Demps) in the 40, but around 60 meters is where he starts catching his speed.” Although Locke leads the SEC in rushing with 372 yards, the Florida defense, more so than any of UK’s first three opponents this year, can better match Locke’s burst with its own speed.

Edge: Demps

UK vs. History

Twenty-three years of futility is not easily forgettable, but a win against the Gators would put a “huge stamp” on UK’s program, according to UK head coach Joker Phillips. Phillips is correct because the reality is that it will be hard for UK to move up into the upper echelon of the Southeastern Conference if lengthy losing streaks against three of your division rivals—Florida (23-game losing streak), South Carolina (10-game losing streak) and Tennessee (25-game losing streak)—can’t be ended. With Phillips’ tenure starting so swimmingly and Florida looking more vulnerable than in recent years, a golden opportunity awaits the Cats in The Swamp.

Edge: History

UK vs. The Swamp

UK head coach Joker Phillips said the Cats are not going to be intimidated by the atmosphere at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, one of the more hostile places to play in the Southeastern Conference. UK’s recent performance on the road in the SEC has been impressive: The Cats have won three consecutive SEC away games, including at Auburn and Georgia.

Not much has changed about the difficulties of playing at The Swamp since Phillips’ playing days at UK, except he said it was probably hotter (roughly 130 degrees) at field level when the Gators used to play on turf. UK has practiced with simulated crowd noise all week.

Said Phillips: “It’s the type of environment we’ve been training for, so none of our kids fold their tent and go home in the middle of the game.”

Edge: UK

Final Edge: Moderate edge in favor of Florida