Both of these two teams have been a bit of a surprise early in the season. Yes, they haven't played SEC competition yet but they have looked really good in dispatching who they had in front of them. Florida has started off beating FAU and UAB by a combined score of 80-3. Through two games the Florida defense has only given up 174.5 yards per game and is #1 in the Nation in 3rd down conversions (holding teams to just a 13.4% conversion rate). Tennessee on the other hand has given up a total of 39 points (16 to Montana and 23 to Cincinnati) but has scored 87 points behind the trio of Tyler Bray, Da'Rick Rogers and Justin Hunter. This "Third Saturday in September" rivalry has been dominated by Florida recently. For a brief history of this rivalry check out SEC rivals for their write up. Florida has won the last six meetings and has won 19 of the last 25 meetings. Is this the year Tennessee gets over the hump or does Florida continue to dominate this rivalry?
John Brantley was nothing short of awful last year in Urban Meyer's last year at Florida. He had more INTs (10) than TDs (9) and finished with just 158 yards passing per game. This year he's got Charlie Weis as his new OC and he is running an offense that suits him more. In his opening two games (against weak competition) he has improved his completion percentage by 7% but still has more INTs (2) than TDs (1). The jury is still out on John Brantley.
Tyler Bray has also yet to see an SEC caliber defense but so far he has lit it up against lesser competition. So far this year he is 51 of 65 for 698 yards and has 7 TD versus 0 INT. In his young career Bray has still yet to put together a good game against an above average team. Is this finally his time?
If the question is which team has the best RB suited to play RB at the next level then it's Tennessee's Tauren Poole. But production tells a different story. Florida is currently second in the SEC in rushing and has ran the ball the third most times in the conference and is doing so at a 5.65 yards per carry average. Florida has ran for almost twice as many yards as Tennessee has so far this season. Chris Rainey is averaging 99 yards per game and 7.33 ypc so far (yes we know it was against FAU and UAB) and Jeff Demps so far is averaging 8.21 ypc. It's not a traditional rushing attack but it's been effective and I think it will be effective against Tennessee as well. Florida simply has more weapons at RB than does Tennessee. They might not be traditional RBs but I sure wouldn't want to game-plan against them.