Wednesday, October 8, 2008

From the Horse’s Mouth: Week 7 Spotlight Games

Enter college football’s 7th week and let the separation begin. There are still a few stragglers, with games being played out of conference, but we’re mostly digging deeper into conference play and aligning the conference powers. The most anticipated game of the weekend is the top five match played along the Red River, which is already previewed here. But there are other important games on the schedule with BCS implications.

(4) LSU at (11) Florida

The Horse’s must see rating: 10

Quickie: The Gators followed up their upset loss to Ole Miss by thrashing defenseless Arkansas last week. On Saturday, Urban Meyer’s high powered offense welcomes the nation’s 14th ranked defense to the swamp.

TIGERS (4-0)
Last week-W-Mississippi State

When you look at the defending national champions, you see Les Miles’ squad still sitting quietly among the nation’s top 5 and with a leg up in the SEC west. What you don’t see is a team still virtually untested and searching for an identity. Florida will represent the best offense the Tigers have seen all year, after colliding with FCS Appalachian State, North Texas (0-5), Mississippi State (1-4), and 20th ranked Auburn. The Auburn Tigers provided a signature victory, but it’s a team that ranks 104th in the nation in offense.

GATORS (4-1)
Last Week-W-Arkansas

The Gators are averaging 36 points per game, which is tops in the SEC. The dynamic Percy Harvin has missed two practices, and is still wearing a protective boot, but is listed as probable for Saturday’s game. Running back Emmanuel Moody (ankle) is doubtful. Their opponent represents the top offense in the SEC, with a between the tackles pounding attack. The Florida defense allows less than 100 yards rushing per game, and will find it necessary to continue that success to win this ballgame.

Xtra Points: In a meeting between the last two BCS national champions, the difference in this game may be on special teams and field position. The Gators average nearly 28 yards per return, and LSU’s Trindon Holiday is second in the nation in punt returns (25.14).

All Time series: Gators lead 28-23-3
Streak: Tigers won 1

(17) Oklahoma State at (3) Missouri- Everyone talks about Mizzou. No one talks about Oklahoma State. This game will have just as much impact on the BCS picture as the one being played in Texas.

(6) Penn State at Wisconsin- Look who’s creeping up the Chart. It’s Joe Pa and his Nittany Lions. If they can escape Camp Randall Stadium, with the other games being played, PSU will be sitting pretty in the polls.

Tennessee at (10) Georgia- Would Fulmer dare fall to 2-4 and remain winless? It isn't that the Vols haven't recorded a victory over an SEC opponent, but they've also yet to beat an opponent from a BCS conference. Imagine needing a must-win and having to earn it between the hedges.

Notre Dame at (22) North Carolina- For the first time in history, a 4-1 Irish team is unranked. Jimmy Clausen has matured, but now faces the national leaders in interceptions.

Clemson at (21) Wake Forest- This is a Thursday night game. Why are ranked teams still playing on Thursdays? The outcome is rarely a good one.

New Mexico at (9) BYU- You see names of BYU opponents and figure they may just skate their way through the schedule. That’s not true, because the Mountain West is a solid conference.

Arizona State at (8) USC- With both Rudy Carpenter and Mark Sanchez listed as day-to-day, this is shaping up to be a battle of backup quarterbacks.

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