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September 27, 2005

 > Game of the Week

Florida at 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 Alabama has also compiled four overall victories, two in the SEC, heading into the month of October. Florida is currently tied with Georgia and surprising Vanderbilt atop the SEC standings, while Alabama sits a small step ahead of Auburn and LSU (??), both 1-0 in conference play, 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

Virginia Tech at West Virginia
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Texas at Missouri
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Southern Cal at Arizona State
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Minnesota at Penn State
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Iowa State at Nebraska
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 > Predicting the Rest

 > The Editor's Records

    Last Week: 48-11 (.814)
    To Date: 144-31 (.823)
    Game of the Week: 2-1 (.667)

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