In a way, this is a big game for Florida. Lane Kiffin has been talking a lot of smack, and now there was talk from Jim Rome that Urban Meyer is going make the Volunteers pay dearly for it. The Florida has a distinctive advantage in all the areas of the game. Quarterback, offensive line, defensive line, special teams, and if you name it, Florida has got over the Volunteers. The only thing to watch for is to see if Tennessee’s players are just waiting for the weight to come crashing down on them, or to see if they come to play and send a message to the Florida Gators, that they won’t just keel over. However, I expect this game to be over by the time halftime comes around, as the Gators will just bring the heat from both sides of the ball. This game could get ugly for the Tennessee Volunteers, but then again, they may yet surprise the nation with a memorable performance. The edge is definitely on the Gator’s side, since they are home and bulletin board material set by Lane Kiffin.
Arizona at Iowa - Pac 10 vs Big 10
After skimming past Northern Iowa, the Hawkeyes brought the Cyclones to the woodshed in impressive fashion. The Wildcats, however, do not seem to be a slouch either. The handled Central Michigan and Northern Arizona pretty well, but the challenge at Kinnick Stadium is no walk in the part. Iowa’s QB Stanzi is solid, but Shonn Greene gone and now Jewel Hampton, I figure the RB crew to be questionable. The WR corps looks improved, and with that strong offensive line, Rick Stanzi should be able to have some time in the pocket and get it to his weapons. The defensive line is supposedly a little stronger when it comes to rushing the passer, and the LB corps is one of the best in the country, and is backed by strong DB crew. Arizona QB Matt Scott is new, but has been pretty good as it seems (I can’t seem to find anything yet on him). A lot of the RB crew is back, and so is the WR crew, and with a decent offensive line, they should be able to get some yards. The entire 2 deep returns for the Wildcats’ D-line, supported by a solid LB crew, and slightly more talented and experienced DB crew will make for a good defense. However, I give a slight edge to Iowa, since Kinnick Stadium has ruckus crowd and have been able to win a few big games a home.
California at Minnesota - Pac 10 vs Big 10
QB Adam Weber has been pretty solid his first two years, and Marquis Gray is potentially an insanely good backup. The entire RB crew returns and the WR crew are pretty solid with Eric Decker leading the way. The offensive line look like it will be stronger this year, so protection and running attack will be pretty hard to stop. The defensive line may be a notch down, but the LB crew is in good shape, and the DB corps is probably a considerable strength this year. The California Bears have been impressive in their first two games, but Maryland and East Washington are not even decent opponents this year. QB Kevin Riley may have big year, and can give it to first team Pac 10 player Jahvid Best who is a load to stop. The WR crew is much more experienced, but the OL loses second team AA Alex Mack and second team Pac 10 Noris Malele, yet even with those losses the OL could still be very good. The DL is very deep, and probably will have to make up for the deficiencies at LB, but it is supported by one of the best DB crews in the country. If there is any edge on either team, it would be very slight to the California Bears.
Texas Tech at Texas - Big 12 matchup
The Raiders last second victory over the Longhorns perhaps took away McCoy’s initial shot at a national title, and Mack Brown’s team will be looking for revenge, perhaps in the worst way possible on a football field. Colt McCoy had the best throwing percentage last year in NCAAF history with 76.7%, and he was also the leading rusher. His counterpart Taylor Potts is a VHT and could get huge numbers in the passing game. Texas has two of their top RB returning, and the Raiders have Baron Batch returning. The Longhorns’ wide receiver crew has great experience and will be a force to be reckoned with, and Mike Leach always knows how to get his receivers playing well. Texas has a great OL returning with 13 VHT’s returning, and the Raiders still have a very solid unit with VHT players of its own. Texas has a couple of question marks on its D-line but it should turn out fine, and the Tech’s D-line still is pretty strong. Texas’ LB crew is among the best in the Big 12 with three starters back, and Texas Tech might be able to match that with their own deep LB crew, having two VHT players on the second string. Texas has six players with starting experience returning on the DB crew which will make them very formidable, but the Raiders lose their top four safeties, so Texas will probably be able to expose them. With revenge on their minds and home field advantage, I give a pretty big edge to the Texas Longhorns.