Oklahoma Sooners at Florida State Seminoles
It looks as if the Seminoles have eaten their fair share of cupcakes this fall by feasting on Louisiana Monroe, and, Charleston Southern. Now, Florida State, who are the fifth-ranked team in the nation (first time being ranked in the top five since 2005) will put down their box of treat games, and get into their more challenging ones with a visit from top-ranked Oklahoma.
For Florida State, this is a game that will make or break the Seminoles season. Win, and Jimbo Fisher’s group will be seriously considered for a shot at the BCS National Championship, but, a loss would be devastating, sending the Seminoles tumbling down the Top 25, and potentially settling for a Orange Bowl bid, at best.
Last season, Landry Jones exposed a poor Florida State defense, torching them for 380 passing yards, and four touchdowns. Wide receiver Ryan Broyles had a fantastic game, too, hauling in 12 catches for 124 yards, and one touchdown in the Sooners 47-17 dismantling of the Seminoles.
Now, a lot has changed since the beat down in Norman.
The Seminoles defense is ferocious and hungry this season. This unit definitely does not want a repeat of what happened last year. Considering the defense is comprised mostly of personnel that were on that 2010 team, look for a totally different approach this time around.
Defensively, the Seminoles currently rank 4th in the nation against the pass (77.5 yards per game). Stout pass defense could pose a problem for gunslinger Landry Jones and his yard munching bandits.
On the outside looking in are Boise State who are heavily invested and involved in this game, even though they are but mere spectators. The Broncos benefit regardless of the outcome in this game. A loss by Florida State means Boise State no longer have a top-tier program nipping at their heels. A loss by Oklahoma, on the other hand, would push Florida State above Boise State, but, at the same time, it slightly betters the Broncos chances at finally busting the BCS. Remember, Florida State still has Florida, and a possible ACC Championship game to play in. The odds are in Boise’s corner there.
Tennessee Volunteers at Florida Gators
Like Florida State vs. Oklahoma, the Florida vs. Tennessee matchup this Saturday should provide a shakeup, not just in the Top 25, but, more importantly, this game will have major implications on the foundation of the SEC East.
Both programs are 2-0 to start the 2011 season, however, it’s Tennessee’s victory over Cincinnati this past week that seems to be more important than Florida’s two victories over fluff programs like FAU and UAB.
The Volunteers struggled early against the Bearcats, but quickly turned it around mid-way through the first quarter. Shutting down the high powered spread attack Cincinnati brought forth was a huge accomplishment for this very young Vols defensive unit.
Next up, Tennessee will look to mirror their performance from last week against John Brantley and the Florida Gators.
Let’s be honest, Florida’s offense isn’t the best in the nation by any means, but, it seems to be clicking well. Brantley still needs to work on his mechanics though. Throwing more interceptions than touchdowns is not going to cut it during the long haul of this season. If the Gators want to contend in this game, and in the SEC, more will be needed from their quarterback. It’s understandable that former pivot Tim Tebow left some pretty big shoes to fill, and it would take time to fill them, but how long do Gators fans have to wait to have a prolific passer again?
On the other side of the ball, Floirda have really shined. Ranked 1st in points allowed (1.5 points per game), 6th in total yards per game (174.5 yards per game) and 10th against the rush (50.5 yards per game), the Gators defense looks to be a major force to be reckoned with. Their only weakness seems to be through the air which could be at Tennessee’s advantage.
Can a young football player ever say they’re better than Payton Manning without being laughed at?
Well, Tyler Bray can.
Bray brought his streak of consecutive games with two touchdown passes or more to eight games in the Volunteers drubbing of Cincinnati, surpassing Payton Manning’s school record of seven games. Also, Tyler Bray’s 83.5 percent completion rate bested Manning’s 77.5 set in 2007.
Bray’s stats are proving that this sophomore pivot may be one of the best to ever dawn a Vols uniform.
Last season, Brantley lead Florida to a 31-17 win over Tennessee on the road, which seemed to be one of the lone bright spots for the Gators 2010 season. This weekend, Brantley and company play host to the Vols at Ben Hill Griffen Stadium, a place where Tennessee have not won in since 2003, losing their past three games in the Swamp.
Michigan State Spartans at Notre Dame Fighting Irish
What is going on in South Bend?
First, in the Irish’s opening game against South Floirda, the defense was missing in the first half, but were stellar in the second. Then, in Notre Dame’s week 2 game against Michigan at the Big House in Ann Arbour, the Irish defense was stout in the first half, then collapsed in the fourth quarter, allowing the Wolverines to score 28 unanswered points to shock the Irish 35-31.
Remember when the Irish were projected in the preseason as being a BCS Bowl caliber program?
Hmm. Take it back.
Now, the Irish have found themselves 0-2, searching not only for answers as to where things are going wrong, but, also their identity as a football program.
If the meltdown at Michigan wasn’t enough, this week, Notre Dame hosts the high scoring, defending Big Ten co-champions, Michigan State Spartans.
Yikes. Can Brian Kelly salvage the Fighting Irish’s season Saturday?
Something in the air suggests that if Notre Dame drops another game, Kelly may be on the hot seat. With talent like Tommy Rees at quarterback, wide receivers Theo Riddick, and Michael Floyd, and running back Cierre Woods, there should be no reason why Notre Dame is sporting a winless record.
It’s apparent that the turnovers are killing Notre Dame. Rees has thrown four interceptions in his two appearances this season, which have been costly. Better judgment on his part could have saved the Irish from their loss to rivals Michigan.
This week’s task is no light duty. Michigan State come in ranked 3rd in points allowed (3.0 points per game), 4th in total yards (151.0 yards per game) and 2nd in pass defense (76.0 yards per game). If the Sparty defense is as good as they’re billed to be, Brian Kelly may be in for a long afternoon. Will we see a newly discovered shade of red emanating from Kelly’s face?
Michigan State have won six of the last ten meetings between the two programs, and the last two times they met, the game was decided by three points. Could we be in for a nail-bitter in South Bend this Saturday? We’ll soon find out.