Monday Morning: SEC Bowl Season Begins This Week, With Missouri And Florida Hitting The Field

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We finally made it to the end of the college football season for some teams in the SEC, with Missouri and Florida hitting the field this week for their prospective bowl games. After getting through the early signing period, the focus for both staffs switched to preparing for their opponents.

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The Missouri Tigers will hit the field first, as they play Army on Wednesday.

Missouri (+4) vs. Army  “Armed Forces Bowl”

Hopefully you were able to tune into the Army vs. Navy game and got to enjoy the pageantry of that contest. But, if you were a Missouri fan, you should be worried about how Army runs the football, especially with their quarterbacks. Eli Drinkwitz spoke about what Army brings to the table on both sides of the ball.

“Offensively, they’ve got two dynamic quarterbacks. Both of them present different strengths. We’re going to have to prepare for both the option, but they do spread out and run some conventional offense, too, which creates a whole other set of issues. And then defensively Nate Woody does a tremendous job. Multiple front defense, multiple pressure packages, zone and man coverage. And so it’s going to be a real challenge”.

The Tigers will need Tyler Badie to have a fantastic game, as Missouri looks to establish its own rushing attack. How Drinkwitz uses his quarterbacks will be key. He mentioned that Connor Bazelak and Brady Cook have both been splitting reps with the first team. But for Missouri to take advantage of Army’s defense, the Tigers will have to stretch the field, which would fit Bazelak’s game. But, we all know that Drinkwitz isn’t scared to use both QB’s, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brady Cook running around in the backfield. Good luck betting this football game.

Florida (-6.5) vs. UCF  “Gasparilla Bowl”

We are getting this matchup a little earlier than expected, as both teams signed a contract to start playing in the regular season, for a three-game series. But, you know both fan bases are excited about this one, with it being a hard sellout. Both schools are within a couple hours drive, leading to the 65,000 tickets sold.

The Gators enter this matchup with interim coach Greg Knox leading the way. Florida’s new head coach Billy Napier will be watching closely, but is not calling plays in this one. The Gators athletic department wants the interim staff to finish things off in Gainesville, meaning the players will still have familiar faces on the sidelines. The news of QB Emory Jones hitting the transfer portal, but playing in the bowl game, should be helpful if Anthony Richardson is dealing with any injuries. We’ve all seen this Florida offense sputter at times this season, but they rallied against Florida State to become bowl eligible.

Obviously this won’t be easy for the Gators defense, as Gus Malzahn has UCF playing really well on the offensive side. Mikey Keene will continue to lead the Golden Knights at quarterback, with his ability to scramble outside the pocket and make plays down the field with his arm. The way Florida played on defense this season could turn this game into a shootout, as they’ve had a hard time stopping most teams. Either way, I am looking forward to this matchup between two schools that are trying to hold onto real estate in the mid-state area. This one should be an offensive showdown, so keep an eye on the betting line and over/under.

Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.

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