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Gameday: A glance around college football heading into Saturday

Florida State is No. 1 in Rivals.com's midseason report:

1. Florida State

This was supposed to be the season Florida State returned to national prominence. The Seminoles had 16 starters returning from last season's 10-win team. They were predicted to win the ACC and were ranked fifth in the coaches preseason poll. But after consecutive losses to Oklahoma, Clemson and Wake Forest, they have fallen out of the Top 25. The running game has been awful all season, and the secondary has been shredded in the past two games.

2. Ohio State

With QB Terrelle Pryor bolting town, four starters suspended for the first four games and Luke Fickell taking over as interim coach for ousted Jim Tressel, Ohio State was expected to struggle to some degree. But this is ridiculous. The Buckeyes are 3-3, with two wins over MAC teams, including a 27-22 squeaker over Toledo in which the Rockets had a chance to win in the final minute. The passing attack has been a disaster, and the Buckeyes have an alarming lack of offensive playmakers.

3. Texas A&M

The Aggies entered the season ranked in the top 10 of the media and coaches polls, and they had national championship aspirations. Now they're ranked 23rd in the coaches poll with a 3-2 record. But that's not even the disappointing part. What really hurts is how the Aggies lost their two games: They blew a 17-point halftime lead to Oklahoma State and an 18-point halftime lead to Arkansas. The pass defense has been a sieve, especially in the losses.

Trojans' Lane Kiffin certainly not lacking confidence

Lane Kiffin was 12-6 at Southern Cal before beating Cal 30-9 Thursday but quick to note, "Five games into his second year, Pete Carroll was 9-8."

Carroll was 10-8 after his first 18 and 78-7 the next 6 ½ dominating seasons, "arguably the greatest run in the history of college football," Kiffin, left, says. So how close can a team come to replicating that?

"We're going to do it again," Kiffin says without hesitation, "and it's going to be more special.

"It's going to be more special because we're going to go through all this probation and sanction stuff with everybody writing USC is over and almost getting the death penalty, and we're going to do it again."

Does he really think he can do something like win six of seven BCS bowl games and nearly three national titles in a row?

"Sure we can," he says. "We were here before. We saw exactly how it was done from A to Z.

"There is no doubt in my mind we can do this. The only thing that has changed is the day the NCAA delivered those papers, and now we've gotten through that."

So you're going to be just as successful as Carroll?

"Yes," he says.

Los Angeles Times

By the numbers Penalty edition

12 Penalties against Florida for 90 yards in a 41-11 loss to LSU last week

9.2 Average penalties per game by UF, second in Division I-A

9.4 Average penalties per game by Florida State, which leads Division I-A

8 Penalties on third or fourth down by FSU against Clemson and Wake Forest the past two weeks. FSU had 23 penalties total in those two losses.

81.2 Average yards the Seminoles have been penalized per game

Orlando Sentinel

Gameday: A glance around college football heading into Saturday 10/14/11 [Last modified: Friday, October 14, 2011 9:01pm]

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