10. Columbia at Gainesville
When: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Citizens Field, Gainesville
Radio: Columbia – WCJX 106.5 FM, Lake City; Gainesville – WGGG 1230 AM, Gainesville (also heard on WMOP 900 AM & 100.1 FM in Ocala)
Why: This is a big I-75 rivalry so to speak as two of the older programs in the North Central Florida meet once again. Columbia returns the state’s leading quarterback in Dalvin Schuck who threw for over 3,000 yards last year in leading Columbia to the Class 7A state semifinals against Viera. Gainesville is working on rebuilding a roster that lost a ton of talent due to graduation including quarterback Caelan Christian who helped lead the Hurricanes into the Class 6A regional finals before falling to Armwood. Both teams got the season kicked off last with preseason kickoff classics that were played on the road. Columbia came away with a 28-21 win over Apopka which is ranked No. 2 in Class 8A going into the season. Gainesville found themselves on the other side of the score last week, falling to Flagler Palm Coast 21-17 after allowing Que’Shaun Byrd to have a big night through the passing and ground game as well as on special teams, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal. In looking at this game Columbia looks to be the better team on paper, but given that some great games have been played between these two programs at Citizens Field including a 44-43 from two seasons ago. But then again, it might not be that close this time around.
Josh’s Prediction: Columbia 42, Gainesville 20
USA TODAY HSS Score Predictor: Columbia 41, Gainesville 27
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: Columbia 14 over Gainesville