Friday, October 1, 2010

College Football Weekend Preview: Gators Visit Tide in SEC Clash

Florida against Alabama. The SEC East against the SEC West. Two of the nation’s premier programs. The past two national champions. And they meet on Saturday in Tuscaloosa.

Both teams are 4-0 on the season, and this game could determine which of these teams stays in contention for the BCS National Championship Game.

Alabama survived at Arkansas last week, ultimately winning on a Mark Ingram touchdown with 3:18 remaining. Florida looked much better last weekend against Kentucky, as freshman Trey Burton set a school record with six touchdowns in a game.

Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy has not lost as a starter since high school, and he hopes to keep that streak alive on Saturday. Handing the ball to Ingram or Trent Richardson have been effective options, as has passing to the outstanding wide receiver Julio Jones.

Florida quarterback John Brantley has been up-and-down for the Gators, but he is certainly surrounded by a plethora of weapons. Jeff Demps, Mike Gillislee and Emmanuel Moody have all contributed for the Gators, and Florida will need to spread the ball out to beat the Tide on Saturday.

This game can be seen at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

Other games to watch

No. 9 Stanford vs. No. 4 Oregon (8 p.m. ET, ABC) – A huge clash in the Pac-10 takes place on Saturday, as Stanford visits Oregon. Both teams are off to fast starts, and both have eyes for at least the Rose Bowl, if not the BCS National Championship Game. Quarterback Andrew Luck has been solid for Stanford, and he’ll need to be on his game in this one. Oregon is averaging 57.8 points per contest, and running back LaMichael James has been huge for the Ducks.

No. 21 Texas vs. No. 8 Oklahoma (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC) – The latest edition of the Red River Rivalry takes place on Saturday in Dallas. While it would have been more special had Texas not lost to UCLA last week, this game is always hard-fought. Oklahoma is unbeaten, and quarterback Landry Jones leads a potent offense. Texas needs to get things together in time for Saturday’s game, and Mack Brown will make sure that happens.

No. 11 Wisconsin vs. No. 24 Michigan State (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC) – A pair of Big Ten unbeatens face off in East Lansing on Saturday. Wisconsin has survived a couple of challenges this season en route to a 4-0 start. Running back John Clay has been a stalwart for the Badgers thus far. Michigan State wasn’t expected to be in the national discussion, but a win in this game would make the Spartans serious Big Ten contenders.

No. 22 Penn State vs. No. 17 Iowa (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) – This game has turned into quite a rivalry, especially after the 2008 meeting when Iowa derailed Penn State’s run for the national title. This season, both have one loss to a ranked opponent, and both are trying to climb their way into the Big Ten race. Penn State freshman quarterback Rob Bolden has had his ups-and-downs, but running back Evan Royster has carried the load for the Nittany Lions. Quarterback Ricky Stanzi and running back Adam Robinson are the main offensive weapons for Iowa.

No. 16 Miami (Fla.) vs. Clemson (12 p.m. ET, ESPN2) – A pair of 2-1 ACC teams open conference play against each other on Saturday in Death Valley. Miami is the ranked of the two opponents, winning twice while only losing at second-ranked Ohio State. Clemson’s only loss was at nationally-ranked Auburn. Quarterback Jacory Harris needs to step up his game for the Hurricanes. Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker leads the Tigers’ offensive attack.

Five for the Heisman

Denard Robinson, Michigan – Robinson played less than a quarter before leaving with a knee injury in Saturday’s big win over Bowling Green. However, the Wolverine signal caller was still able to rush for 129 yards and two touchdowns, while going 4-of-4 through the air for 60 yards. For the season, Robinson has rushed 79 times for 688 yards and six scores, while connecting on 57-of-80 passes for 731 yards and four TDs. Michigan visits Indiana on Saturday, and Robinson is expected to play.

Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State – Pryor had a big day in the Buckeyes’ 73-20 win over Eastern Michigan. He rushed seven times for 104 yards and a touchdown, and he connected on 20-of-26 passing for 224 yards and four touchdowns. Through four games, Pryor has rushed 43 times for 269 yards and three scores, while hitting on 71-of-107 through the air for 939 yards and 10 touchdowns. Ohio State visits Illinois on Saturday.

Kellen Moore, Boise State – Moore stepped in a big game once again for the Broncos on Saturday. In a 37-24 win over Oregon State, Moore was 19-of-27 passing for 288 yards and three touchdowns. For the season, Moore has hit on 62-of-95 passes for 873 yards and eight touchdowns. Boise State visits New Mexico State on Saturday.

Mark Ingram, Alabama – The defending Heisman winner is not going to let the trophy go without a fight. In a huge win at Arkansas, Ingram carried the ball 24 times for 157 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner. In two games since returning from knee surgery, Ingram has rushed 33 times for 308 yards and four scores. The Tide host Florida on Saturday.

Russell Wilson, N.C. State – Wilson joins the Heisman race for two reasons: one, his team is 4-0; and two, he continues to put up huge numbers. In Saturday’s 45-28 win at Georgia Tech, Wilson was 28-of-41 passing for 368 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 16 yards and a TD. For the 2010 campaign, Wilson is 85-of-142 through the air for 1,112 yards, with 11 touchdowns. He has also rushed for 84 yards and one score. N.C. State hosts Virginia Tech on Saturday.

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