College football odds: Toledo at No. 10 Florida
The Florida Gators have been known to struggle against lesser competition in the past few years and if the Gators play with fire on Saturday against a good Toledo team, we could see one of the season’s biggest upsets occur on Week 1. UF is a 23.5-point favorite on WagerWeb.
The Gators are banged up. Starting right tackle Chaz Green will miss the season following surgery to repair a torn labrum. Green is the third player who will miss the season due to an injury in fall camp, joining fifth-year senior receiver Andre Debose (knee) and freshman linebacker Matt Rolin (knee). With Green out, sophomore transfer Tyler Moore will move over to right tackle. Moore worked at right guard in camp during the absence of starter Jon Halapio. Meanwhile, veteran Kyle Koehne is listed as the starter at right guard for Saturday’s season opener against Toledo.
Starting running back Matt Jones and linebacker Antonio Morrison also are out Saturday but both should play next week against Miami. Jones, hit with a viral infection in July, is nearing full strength, according to Florida coach Will Muschamp. As a freshman last season, Jones ran for 275 yards and three touchdowns on 52 carries. Morrison, a sophomore, would have been an opening-day starter if not for two offseason arrests. He allegedly punched a nightclub bouncer July 16 when the man declined to give him discounted admission. He agreed to deferred prosecution. On defense, Florida returns just three starters, defensive lineman Dominique Easley and defensive backs Loucheiz Purifoy and Jaylen Watkins, but has 15 returning players from the season-ending two-deep depth chart. Also returning is punter Kyle Christy, a Ray Guy Award finalist, who set a school record with a 45.8-yard punting average last season.
Toledo finished 9-4 in 2012 and finished tied for second in the MAC West with a 6-2 conference record. The Rockets lost to Utah State 41-15 in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Florida holds an all-time record of 79-27 on opening day, including a 64-6 mark in Gainesville. In the 1990s and 2000s, the Gators did not lose a game on opening day. Prior to the last two-plus decades, the Gators’ best opening-day record came in the 1960s, when they went 9-1 to kick off the season.
In the Gators’ last seven season-openers, UF has outscored opponents by a combined 303-52 (43.3-7.4 per game). They scored more than 50 points twice (62 vs. Charleston So-2009; 56 vs. Hawaii-2008) and held opponents to less than 10 points or less five times (3, FAU-2011; 3, Charleston So-2009; 10, Hawaii-2008; 3, Western Kentucky-2007; 7, Southern Miss-2006). Florida looks to extend its SEC-best opening-day winning streak, which stands at 23 games heading into 2013. It is the second-longest streak in the nation. UF did struggle in last year’s opener against a MAC team, beating Bowling Green only 27-14.