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College football gameday: A preview of Saturday's action

Vols linebacker Tyrone Hines, bottom left, grasps at Gators running back Fred Taylor during Florida’s 62-37 romp in Gainesville in 1995. Vols QB Peyton Manning failed to beat the Gators during his college career, but his successor, Tee Martin, got it done in 1998 (the year after Manning graduated) and went on to win the national title.

SCOTT HALLERAN | Getty Images (1995)

Vols linebacker Tyrone Hines, bottom left, grasps at Gators running back Fred Taylor during Florida’s 62-37 romp in Gainesville in 1995. Vols QB Peyton Manning failed to beat the Gators during his college career, but his successor, Tee Martin, got it done in 1998 (the year after Manning graduated) and went on to win the national title.

A look at this week's college football scene. For more, check out colleges.tampabay.com.

The last time Florida and Tennessee were each ranked in the top 5 when they met (2001, UF was No. 2, UT No. 5), today's starting quarterbacks, UF's John Brantley and UT's Matt Simms, were 12 and 13 years old, respectively.

The last time the Vols won a game in the series (30-28 in 2004), Volunteers kicker Daniel Lincoln was sitting on the couch in his family home in Ocala, rooting for the Gators.

There was a time when the Florida-Tennessee rivalry was of such epic proportions nationally, that last names were all that was necessary: Manning, Wuerffel, Spurrier, Fulmer, to name a few.

Not so much now.

When the Vols and Gators meet this afternoon, one will be unranked, the other is No. 10 in the Associated Press media poll. And Florida has won five straight in the series.

But players and coaches involved say it's still a big deal to them.

"You wait for moments like this your whole life because it's Tennessee-Florida," Simms said.

"It's truly a special game to play in. … It's an unbelievable rivalry, although I guess it's kind of lost some of its luster these past few years because we haven't done so well on the national level. But it still means everything to these fans here, and I'm sure it means a lot to the people there in Florida to continue their streak."

Antonya English, Times staff writer

Third and little chance

Third and long is tough for any offense. Few know that better than Tennessee. The Volunteers have converted a woeful 7 of 30 third-down attempts in two games, including only two in 15 tries in a 48-13 loss to then-No. 7 Oregon on Saturday. Only 13 Division I-A teams have a worse third-down conversion rate. With No. 10 Florida (2-0) coming to town today, things could get worse for the Volunteers (1-1) before they get better. "Whenever you have third and long, it's tough," Vols QB Matt Simms said. "The defenses can really hone in on what you're doing offensively because you are at a disadvantage." Tennessee is a run-first offense, and with an average of 257 yards per game, the Vols' running game ranks second in the SEC behind Auburn.





Doggone it! FSU makes changes

Florida State not only has new coach, Jimbo Fisher, this season, but a new hot dog as well for its fans.

The university signed a multiyear agreement with Massachusetts-based Kayem Foods, the same company that provides dogs to the Tampa Bay Rays, to provide fans with a special sausage and all-beef hot dogs during FSU sporting events.

School officials say the plump, spicy, skinless franks have no fillers and are free of monosodium glutamate and gluten. No word on a jumbo, or Jimbo, version in the works.

Five things

1. UCLA, which hosts Houston, is trying to avoid its first 0-3 start since 1997. That team won its last 10, including a 29-23 Cotton Bowl victory over Texas A&M.

2. UCF senior DE David Williams said he thinks the Knights are well-prepared for Buffalo's up-tempo, no-huddle offense because the scheme is used by so many Conference USA teams. "We did play a lot of that last year, so we're used to it," Williams said. "I think it's something that we'll be able to adjust to quickly like we were able to last year."

3. After last week's marquee matchups, the only pairing of Top 25 schools this week is No. 9 Iowa at No. 24 Arizona.

4. Kentucky's Joker Phillips, above, is the first Wildcats rookie coach to start a season 2-0 since Bear Bryant in 1946.

5. Southern Cal and Arizona State, with 24 apiece, are tied for the nation's lead in penalties. The Trojans hold the edge over the Sun Devils in total penalty yards, 240 to 224.

Information from the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times was used in this report.

Support for Auburn recruit immense

This is something Shon Coleman has waited for since signing to play for No. 16 Auburn: His first game as a Tiger. Well, sort of.

Coleman won't be playing for the Tigers tonight against Clemson, but just being there is cause to celebrate for the cancer survivor.

"I haven't been down there in a while," said Coleman of Olive Branch, Miss., "and I've been really looking forward to coming to a big game."

Coleman is an offensive line signee from the latest recruiting class. He was diagnosed with leukemia in March, a little more than a month after signing. It forced him to put football and college on hold.

Coleman is the most popular Auburn signee yet to play a down. His cancer battle captured national attention and prompted a fan to start a fund in his name, raising more than $18,000 so far.

Most of his Facebook messages lately revolve around Auburn's 2-0 start, and he has nearly 2,500 "friends" on the social networking website, many of whom he has never met.

He has been getting his treatments in Memphis but hopes in a few months to be getting them closer to Auburn. And now he gets to see his Tigers in person for the first time since his diagnosis.

"I should be on the way to 100 percent recovery," he said. "Everything's going good. Doctors are saying everything's going better than they thought."

College football gameday: A preview of Saturday's action 09/17/10 [Last modified: Friday, September 17, 2010 9:00pm]
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