The Florida Gators and Oklahoma Sooners meet in the first marquee bowl game of the 2020 season. The Cotton Bowl counts as a New Year’s Six bowls, so there is some prestige that comes along with this event. Don’t tell that to the Florida offense, though, at least the wide receivers. Florida has had multiple players pull out of this game.
Four wide receivers and Kyle Trask’s most coveted target, tight end Kyle Pitts, are opting out of the Cotton Bowl to prepare for the NFL. Pitts is the most exciting tight end prospect Florida has had since Aaron Hernandez. If it wasn’t for the gangster career off the field, Hernandez would have likely had a Hall of Fame career.
Pitts is going to be the first tight end off the board in the draft. I can’t blame him for passing on the Cotton Bowl. Pitts doesn’t have any off-field concerns like Hernandez did and is not going to flip to the fourth round. Along with Pitts, leading receiver for the Gators, Kadarius Toney is out of the Cotton Bowl.
That removes two of Trask’s most reliable options from the offense. Wide receiver Trevon Grimes also pulled out of this matchup. That left Jacob Copeland as the No. 1 receiver for Florida in the Cotton Bowl. But guess what? Copeland tested positive for Covid-19 and is going to be unavailable to play. That leaves the Gators short-handed, but they still have Heisman finalist Kyle Trask in their corner.
Trask will have to develop a rapport early with an offense that is going to look much different. On top of that, Florida must find motivation to play in the Cotton Bowl following their loss against the Alabama Crimson Tide. They looked pretty rattled after the 52-46 loss. It was a back and forth arena style game, with Alabama’s defense making one extra stop. Trask passed for 408 yards and 3 touchdowns, with Toney, Pitts, and Grimes all having big games. None will be active in the Cotton Bowl.
Oklahoma started slow this season, but came on strong in the end after quarterback Spencer Rattler got a better feel for things. In his first season starting at Oklahoma, it took Rattler a minute to get going, but he came on strong to lead the Sooners to seven straight wins going into Wednesday night. They are coming off a 27-21 win over a pesky Iowa State team in the Big 12 Championship. Head below for our free Florida vs. Oklahoma pick for December 30, 2020 in the Cotton Bowl.
Florida Gators vs. Oklahoma Sooners Cotton Bowl Betting Odds:
Florida vs. Oklahoma Prediction:
Kyle Trask likely has his mind on the NFL already despite a game against the Sooners tonight. The loss against Alabama was a gut punch to Trask and his teammates. Trask was visibly upset following the defeat against the Crimson Tide. How much does he care about the Sooners on Wednesday night? Especially considering all of his weapons have been dropping out of this game left and right.
Just as Trask thought he’d have Jacob Copeland at least, nope, he tests positive for Covid-19 and Florida has to go deep down the depth chart for wide receivers. For Trask, he just has to stay healthy by the end of the night. He will be going to the NFL regardless if he’s good or bad. Trask passed for 43 touchdowns and 5 interceptions on 69.7% completions.
It wasn’t all because of the weapons he had making plays, Trask played a role in making them look better as well. However, I do worry about Trask struggling to get into a rhythm with his wide receivers. He didn’t have much time to put in work with them in practice. Trask thought he was going to have Copeland, too, but that’s a no go now. If Trask had a game or two to warm up with this “new” offense, he’d likely be in better shape in the Cotton Bowl.
Along with multiple offensive weapons off the field in this game, Florida will be down cornerback Marco Wilson. With Wilson not playing, it leaves Kaiir Elam under a microscope against Sooners’ wide receiver Marvin Mims. If Elam loses the battle against Mims, Rattler should be able to put up big numbers. The Florida defense has been inconsistent this season, and losing a cornerback doesn’t help.
If Florida had this offense with the defense we’ve known from this season in previous seasons, it might have been a repeat of what LSU did a year ago. However, the defense has gotten ripped for 404.7 yards per game. Matchups against bad teams like Tennessee-Martin, Towson, and Vanderbilt skewed their numbers positively or it would have been a lot uglier. Teams that had decent offenses moved the ball with ease on the Gators this season.
Spencer Rattler has room to grow, but showed a lot later in the season. Overall, Rattler passed for 25 touchdowns and 7 interceptions on 68%. He also ran for 120 yards and 5 scores on the ground. Rattler is looking towards a big season in 2021. I wouldn’t be surprised if he breaks out into a household name next year, nor surprised if Rattler does something big in the Cotton Bowl. An already weak defense, now playing with little motivation, likely doesn’t do well in this one. I jumped on Oklahoma when they were underdogs so in a good spot. However, I’d still be comfortable with playing the Sooners under a touchdown.