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September 27, 2005

 > Game of the Week

(4) Florida at (10) Alabama
Saturday 2:30 PM CDT CBS

SCS.comFlorida and Alabama get together Saturday afternoon in a battle between two teams at the top of their respective division standings. Urban Meyer's Gators are 4-0 and have prevailed in their first two SEC outings, while the Crimson Tide has also compiled four overall victories, two in the SEC, heading into the month of October. UF is currently tied with Georgia and surprising Vanderbilt atop the SEC standings, while UA sits a small step ahead of Auburn in the West.

The Crimson Tide's most impressive victory to date was a dominating road victory at South Carolina two weeks ago. UA won that game 37-14, and the game was not really that close. Bama RB Ken Darby ran for 145 yards and a score that day, a performance indicitive of the fabulous season the junior has had thus far. Darby's 412 total rushing yards and 103 yard average per game both lead the SEC. QB Brodie Croyle has come back from injury and performed well, throwing for over 800 yards and a six touchdowns in four outings. His favorite targets have been D.J. Hall and Tyrone Protho, both of whom have hauled in a dozen catches on the young season. The pair of wideouts has combined for over 400 receiving yards and four TDs. The Tide defense, ranked fifth in the league, has been a little more vulnerable than expected but is still allowing less than two touchdowns per game.

Florida will try to attack Alabama's defense with all-SEC QB Chris Leak. The junior has led the Gators to four consecutive victories to start the season, the biggest of which came two weeks ago at home against division rival Tennessee. In that game, Leak completed 17 of his 26 passes without throwing an interception and led UF to a 16-7 win over the Vols. On the season, the North Carolina native is completing over 70% of his attempts and has already thrown for over 1000 yards and 9 touchdowns and has yet to be picked off. The completion mark and touchdown total are the best among SEC signal-callers, and only Vanderbilt's Jay Cutler has tallied more yards to date. RB DeShawn Wynn is averaging 4.5 yards on just 43 carries and has scored five times this fall. WR Chad Jackson has continued to play well after the loss of fellow wideout Andre Caldwell to injury two weeks ago. Jackson has hauled in 32 receptions on the year for over 400 yards and a half-dozen scores. Jamelle Cornelius and Dallas Baker have each hauled in more than a dozen catches as well. The Gator defense is ranked just ahead of Alabama's on the league stat sheet, allowing about 13 points per contest.

But they will face their toughest test yet on the first day of October in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide is looking to prove they are a national contender once again, and bringing home a victory over Florida on Saturday could do just that. Unfortunately for Alabama, they are going up against one of the best head coaches in college football, a man that led Utah to an unbeaten season a year ago. One team will leave Bryant-Denny without a loss on Saturday, and that squad will be the one heading back to Gainesville Saturday evening.

The Editor Says: Florida 27-23

 > Next Five

(3) Virginia Tech at West Virginia
Saturday 11:00 AM CDT ESPN The Mountaineers have yet to lose this season and will take on the also-unbeaten Hokies in Morgantown on Saturday. WVU has already picked up a pair of impressive wins on the road this season at both Syracuse and Maryland, but this weekend's home test against VT will be their toughest so far, home or away. Beamer's boys stay in national hunt.

The Editor Says: Virginia Tech 34-14

(2) Texas at Missouri
Saturday 11:00 AM CDT ABC/GamePlan The Tigers have won two of their three early-season contests, the lone loss coming at home to New Mexico three weeks ago. QB Brad Smith has yet to take Mizzou to the heights expected when the dual-threat signal-caller arrived, so this is a game he could be remembered for. Horns have a history of fading under pressure but not this week.

The Editor Says: Texas 42-24

(1) Southern Cal at Arizona State
Saturday 2:30 PM CDT ABC/GamePlan The Trojans got their biggest scare of the opening month of the season in Eugene last weekend, falling behind 13-0 to the Ducks before rallying for 45 straight points to end the game. Arizona State was my preseason pick to be USC's biggest challenger, and the Devils should probably be 4-0. ASU hangs tough, but Leinart, Bush, and the bunch roll on.

The Editor Says: Southern Cal 45-31

(11) Minnesota at Penn State
Saturday 2:30 PM CDT ABC/GamePlan The Gophers picked up a monstrous home victory over Purdue last weekend in double-overtime but will have to take their high-powered offense on the road for the first time in conference play this fall. The Lions have won just one of their four games convincingly thus far, and though the defense has been good, UM RB Laurence Maroney is better.

The Editor Says: Minnesota 37-33

Iowa State at Nebraska
Saturday 2:30 PM CDT ABC/GamePlan Both teams come into this game with what appear to be very weak 3-0 records. Though ISU slammed in-state rival Iowa three weeks ago, wins over Illinois State and Army were extremely unimpressive. The Huskers, meanwhile, took care of Maine and WF with ease but got by struggling Pitt by just a single point. NU backs and top-notch defense get it done.

The Editor Says: Nebraska 14-10

 > Predicting the Rest

Fresno State over Temple
Miami (Ohio) over Cincinnati
Air Force over Colorado State
Pittsburgh over Rutgers
Louisville over Florida Atlantic
Michigan State over Michigan
Virginia over Maryland
Wisconsin over Indiana
Connecticut over Army
Iowa over Illinois
Tennessee over Mississippi
Texas A&M over Baylor
Navy over Duke
Boston College over Ball State
North Carolina over Utah
Eastern Michigan over Kent State
Colorado over Oklahoma State
LSU over Mississippi State
Wyoming over UNLV
Florida State over Syracuse
Clemson over Wake Forest
Tulane over SE Louisiana
Bowling Green over Temple
Oregon State over Washington State
Marshall over SMU
Oregon over Stanford
Utah State over Idaho
Florida International over Florida A&M
Southern Miss over East Carolina
Akron over Central Michigan
California over Arizona
Texas Tech over Kansas
Auburn over South Carolina
UAB over Rice
Nevada at San Jose State
Oklahoma over Kansas State
Houston over Tulsa
Vanderbilt over Middle Tennessee
Louisiana Tech over New Mexico State
Arkansas State over LA-Monroe
TCU over New Mexico
Western Michigan over Buffalo
Notre Dame over Purdue
Miami over South Florida
UTEP over Memphis
LA-Lafayette over UCF
BYU over San Diego State
UCLA over Washington
Boise State over Hawaii

 > The Editor's Records

    Last Week: 31-15 (.674)
    To Date: 175-46 (.792)
    Game of the Week: 3-1 (.750)

 > Talk about it in The College Corner...

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