Look out, coach, real tests are coming
If history is any indicator, tonight's game against the third-ranked team in the nation may not go well for first-year Florida coach Will Muschamp, left. Head coaches in their first year at Florida are 12-24 overall against ranked opponents. Muschamp is scheduled to face six teams that were ranked in the Associated Press preseason Top 25.
When No. 12 Florida and Alabama meet tonight at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, it will mark the first time a first-year Gators coach will face a No. 3-ranked opponent. Twice in school history, first-year coaches have faced a No. 1 or No. 2 opponent. Ron Zook took a team to Miami to play the No. 1 Hurricanes on Sept. 7, 2002, and UF lost 41-16. Charley Pell faced No. 2 Alabama on Oct. 13, 1979, and lost 40-0.
Here is a look at the individual records of Florida coaches vs. ranked opponents in their debut seasons:
Year Coach Record
2005 Urban Meyer 3-2
2002 Ron Zook 2-4
1990 Steve Spurrier 1-2
1989 Gary Darnell 0-2
1984 Galen Hall 3-0
1979 Charley Pell 0-5
1970 Doug Dickey 0-2
1960 Ray Graves 2-1
1950 Bob Woodruff 1-3
1946 Raymond Wolf 0-2
1940 Thomas Lieb 0-1
Source: Florida media relations department
Antonya English, Times staff writer
Red and white all over
In case you were wondering, black.
Nebraska fans, usually decked out in red and easily spotted on the road, will don black today when the Cornhuskers play their first Big Ten game at Wisconsin.
You see, the Badgers also wear red, and a similar shade to the Cornhuskers at that. And Nebraska's defense has been known as the Blackshirts since the Bob Devaney days, so there is a connection to Huskers history.
As for the Cornhuskers themselves, they traditionally wear white jerseys with red numbers on top of red pants on the road.
Helmets might cause a bit of confusion tonight at Camp Randall Stadium. Nebraska's white helmet, with one red stripe down the middle and the block letter N on the side, could be mistaken — at least at a glance, with a linebacker chasing you — for Wisconsin's white helmet with two red stripes down the middle and a chunky W on the side.
There have even been rumors making the rounds on the Internet that the Cornhuskers will wear black helmets. Hard to imagine Huskers athletic director and icon-in-chief Tom Osborne would let that happen, but who knows?
"We're pretty traditional," Osborne said this week. "Anything is possible, but if it happens, it was something I'm not aware of."
By the numbers
0 ACC teams ever to defeat Top 25 opponents in three successive games. Clemson can do that today against No. 11 Virginia Tech (the Tigers defeated then-No. 21 Auburn and then-No. 11 FSU the previous two weeks).
37 Years since Nebraska and Wisconsin have played. Wisconsin won 21-20 in 1974.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
Miami LT Brandon Washington, like the rest of his offense, never doubted the Hurricanes would score with four chances from within 2 yards in the final minute against Kansas State. • After all, Miami's most touted unit had been its offensive line, even without the services of 6-foot-8, 345-pound T Seantrel Henderson (back). • The Hurricanes had allowed two sacks going into last week's game, and their run blocking had opened lanes for prolific speedster Lamar Miller to navigate. • So on first down from the 2, Washington said he wasn't curious about what play offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch would call. "He's smart," Washington said. "He knows what he's doing. It was my job to execute the play-call. It should have been done then and there." • But it wasn't, as QB Jacory Harris' first-down pass into the flat to TE Clive Walford fell incomplete. • Mike James was stopped twice before Harris' fourth-down lunge came up short. • "We were open and didn't execute," Miami coach Al Golden said after the 28-24 loss.