Florida is off this week, but there's plenty of other action in the SEC this weekend. Here's a look at some happenings around the league this week:
LSU is expected to announce later this afternoon whether its game against North Texas will be played in Baton Rouge or moved due to Hurricane Ike. School officials have been in contact with officials from the Georgia Dome and Texas Stadium as possible site changes if weather won't permit the game to be played at Tiger Stadium.
"Our administration did everything they could to prepare everything based on the information on the path Ike might take,''' LSU coach Les Miles said. "The people at Texas Stadium and Atlanta gave us a choice of which we might use based on the path of Ike. Based on the path, playing in Tiger Stadium is much preferred and hopefully that will be an announcement that is made later this afternoon. We’re pretty optimistic that Tiger Stadium is going to be available. Looking at the path Ike is taking, the likelihood is good that we’ll have good weather.''
Miles said the disruption of the season opener due to Hurricane Hannah was a distraction for the players.
"It did feel like camp for another week,'' Miles said. "There has been some wear and tear on our kids, if not physically, emotionally. Youd’ be surprised by the loss of simple things, like electricity, and how it really affects the natural flow of the day. Classes resumed Monday and I think we’re really into the flow that we expect. So our team our guys in their view, have the right focus. And we’ve had a good Monday and Tuesday. I feel like things are going in the right direction''
Coach Steve Spurrier said Wednesday he's still trying to find a solid starter and quarterback.
"We’re trying to figure out who our best quarterback is right now.'' Spurrier said ". . . We’re trying to keep giving them both the chance to see which one is our best player. Things are going in the right direction.
The Gators will play No. 2 Georgia on Saturday without receiver Kenny McKinley, who will miss the game with a groin injury. As for the offense, Spurrier said the Gamecocks staff is still trying to figure out what the major problems are, and how to correct them.
"I don’t ever want to be one to blame it on the players and I’m not going to start now,'' Spurrier said. "It’s a combination of all of us - me, the quarterbacks, receivers, line, all of us. We haven’t had many big plays, we’re really struggling. We’re back where we were last year, ninth in the conference. We’re trying to get better.''
Coach Urban Meyer has had great success as a head coach when he's had more than one week to prepare for a team, so having two weeks to prepare for the SEC-opener against Tennessee may be a huge advantage for the No. 4 Gators. Meyer said his success with extra time stems from haivng a solid staff and the bye this week is an added bonus coming off the Miami game.
"A lot of times later in the year, and certainly SEC play beats you up, but I think it's good because offensively we've got some kinks to work out,'' Meyer said. "I think any time you have a bye week before (facing) a bunch of excellent players like we're getting ready to play in two weeks, the University of Tennessee, it comes at a good time. But it's not like I have a bunch of guys who aren't ready to play, we're ready to play. I just think as far as preparation, one of the reasons we may have done well is I have a great group of coaches and we don't waste time. We're already knee deep in our opponent in two weeks.''
The No. 2 Bulldogs will travel to play Arizona State in a non-conference game coach Mark Richt said will tell him a lot about where this team stands.
"We did the Arizona State game when everybody added the 12th game, and you have to remember that everybody needed an extra game,'' Richt said. "When you have an 11-game schedule and somebody drops you, it's hard because everybody else already has their schedule set, but this time everybody was looking for a 12th game.''
Richt said he and athletic director Damon Evans purposely went in search of a BCS conference opponent instead of, perhaps a lower-caliber team.
"We wanted to give our fans an opportunity to see the other side of the world (country),'' Richt said. "We thought it would be good for recruiting and college football, so that's why we did it. The talent base we're going to run into this weekend will be the best we've seen this season. Our best measuring stick of where we are will come after this Saturday.''