No. 2 FSU at Georgia Tech
WHEN/WHERE: 8 p.m.; Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta.
TV/RADIO: Ch. 28; WWBA-AM 1040, WZHR-AM 1400, WXOF-FM 96.3, WAMR-AM, WLKF-AM 1430, WOCA-AM 1370, WSPB-AM 1450.
RECORDS: FSU 1-0, 0-0 ACC, Georgia Tech 1-0, 0-0.
COACHES: FSU _ Bobby Bowden (232-53-4, 25th season; 305-85-4 overall). Georgia Tech _ George O'Leary (37-25-0, sixth season).
LINE: FSU by 22.
AT STAKE: The Seminoles, who have won or shared the Atlantic Coast Conference title every year since joining the league, begin their quest for No. 9 against the school that could be a natural league rival based on proximity. The Yellow Jackets, in fact, gave FSU one of its toughest games in the Seminoles' march toward last season's national title. Said O'Leary: "Everybody strives to win your conference and that's the team you have to go through to win it."
DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN: In 1998, FSU opened early in the Kickoff Classic and had a bye week before starting league play on the road against a team that struggled to win its opener and was a huge underdog (25 points). But North Carolina State stunned the Seminoles 24-7 that day, handing them just their second ACC loss. Said FSU quarterback Chris Weinke: "We're in the same predicament in terms of playing a preseason game, having some time off and then going on the road. So, there's a lot of similarities. We don't want any letdowns."
BORDER WARS: Tech has 16 players on its roster from Florida, second only to the number from Georgia, including quarterback George Godsey (Tampa Jesuit), receiver Will Glover (Tampa Jesuit) and center David Schmidgall (Countryside High). Meanwhile, the game marks a homecoming for 10 Seminoles, including cornerback Tay Cody, defensive end Alonzo Jackson, defensive tackle Jeff Womble, receiver Robert Morgan, tight end Ryan Sprague and placekicker Chance Gwaltney.
SERIES HISTORY: The Seminoles lead 8-7-1, dating to 1952, but have won all eight meetings since joining the ACC in 1992. That includes a shootout 41-35 win last season. The Yellow Jackets last won 30-0 in Atlanta in 1975.
BOWDEN SAID IT: "Both of us have got our top star missing (from last year). Us missing Peter Warrick and them missing Joe Hamilton. Other than that, it's about the same lineups. They got a lot of kids back and we've got a lot of kids back. But I would be shocked if it became a shootout like it was last year."
_ Compiled by Brian Landman.
No. 8 Florida vs.
Middle Tennessee State
WHEN/WHERE: 6 p.m.; Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville.
TV/RADIO: Pay-per-view; WDAE-AM 620, WHNZ-AM 570, WWJB-AM 1450, WXCV-FM 95.3, WDCF-AM 1350, WZHR-AM 1400.
RECORDS: Middle Tennessee State 0-1, Florida 1-0.
COACHES: MTSU _ Andy McCollum (3-9, second season). UF _ Steve Spurrier (103-22-1, 11th season; 123-35-2 overall).
LINE: UF by 40.
GATORS PREVIEW, TAKE 2: Anticipating a Sept. 16 showdown against Tennessee, the Gators will try to iron out the problems they had in last week's 40-19 victory over Ball State. Florida had two punts blocked, missed an extra point, fumbled in its end zone, gave up a safety and got confused on blocking assignments. Quarterback Jesse Palmer threw for a career-high 327 yards, but the timing was off between him and the receivers on open deep routes.
MTSU UPDATE: The Blue Raiders, in their second season as a Division I-A program, lost 35-6 last week at Illinois. They tallied 469 yards but repeatedly fell short of the end zone. MTSU likes to pass with junior quarterback Wes Counts, so UF's pass rush and secondary should be tested. This is the first meeting between the schools.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Florida looks for its 10th 2-0 start in Spurrier's 11 season, with 1992 the exemption. The Gators are 70-0 against unranked opponents and have not lost to an out-of-state, non-conference opponent during Spurrier's tenure.
SPURRIER'S LAST WORD: "I keep thinking we're just going to dominate some of these little teams we play, but we get into a dogfight with them. We don't dominate them like we used to for some reason."
_ Compiled by Joanne Korth.
South Florida at Kentucky
WHEN/WHERE: 1:30 p.m.; Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington.
RADIO: WQYK-AM 1010, WAMR 1320, WDCF-AM 1350, WWJB-AM 1450.
RECORDS: Kentucky 0-1, South Florida 1-0.
COACHES: UK _ Hal Mumme (18-18-0, fourth season; 83-45-1 overall); USF _ Jim Leavitt (21-13-0, fourth season).
THE BIG TIME, PART I: This is the first of five games against I-A opponents for USF, and while Kentucky isn't as strong as other SEC foes such as Tennessee, Alabama and Florida, the Wildcats do play in one of the best conferences in the nation. Leavitt has been candid on his feelings about this game, saying it is one of the first real measuring sticks to see just how far this team has to go to compete in Division I.
UK WOES:This is the home opener for the Wildcats, who will be looking to find a way to ease the pain of last week's overtime loss to rival Louisville _ and silence the criticism of many Kentucky fans. Against quarterback Jared Lorenzen, the Bulls secondary will be in for a tough test. Lorenzen threw for more than 300 yards last week, and at 6 feet 4, 275 pounds, Leavitt said, the scariest thing about Lorenzen is he can run, too.
THE BOTTOM LINE: USF has nothing to lose but the actual game. Leavitt may be exaggerating when he says the Bulls are expected to lose by 50-70 points, but they are a major underdog _ a fourth-year program in transition between I-AA and I-A. If the Bulls can stay within a couple of touchdowns or pull off an upset, it's all good for them. If they don't, well who expected them to anyway.
LEAVITT'S THOUGHTS: "Is this the biggest game of the season? Yes, but I wouldn't say because of the reasons you think. I would say yes because it's the next game (on the schedule). It's the SEC, it's Division I-A and the country will really notice this and what happens here."
_ Compiled by
UCF vs. NW State
WHEN/WHERE: 6 p.m.; Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando.
RECORDS: Northwestern State 1-0, UCF 0-1.
COACHES: Northwestern State _ Steve Roberts (first season). UCF _ Mike Kruczek (13-10, third season).
REDRAWING THE LINE: After the Knights gained just 8 yards rushing in a disappointing 21-17 loss, Kruczekreshuffled the unit. At left guard, junior Willie Comerford will replace Garrett McCray. Sophomore Brian Huff has been demoted from right tackle in favor of senior Kurt Baumann.
SPEED DEMONS: The Demons, ranked No. 20 in the Sports Network I-AA poll, moved the ball in last week's 31-14 win over Southern. Tailback Tony Taylor rushed for 167 yards and one touchdown. In his first game as Northwestern State's new punt returner, defensive back Terrence McGee returned one 90 yards for a touchdown and totaled 113 yards.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME?: UCF would prefer to play more Division I opponents at home, but few were willing to visit the Citrus Bowl. So the Knights had to settle for three I-AA opponents. UCF has not lost to a I-AA foe since joining the I-A ranks four years ago.
vs. Morgan State
WHEN/WHERE: 7 p.m.; Bragg Memorial Stadium, Tallahassee.
RECORDS: Morgan State 0-0, FAMU 1-0.
COACHES: Morgan State _ Stanley Mitchell (2-8, second season). FAMU _ Billy Joe (55-20, sixth season).
NEVER AGAIN: FAMU's last loss to Morgan State was 24-20 in 1994's homecoming game. Joe told the Tallahassee Democrat he still uses it as motivation. "Our players will most definitely hear about that because this time we're a so-called nationally ranked team (No. 7 in ESPN/USA Today's Division I-AA poll), and I hope that means something to them."
HOME-FIELD DOMINATION: The Rattlers have won 19 of their last 20 home games, including seven in a row. FAMU is the most dominant home team in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
PARTY'S OVER: Vendors on Perry Street were told they must move. Authorities told the Tallahassee Democrat the decision was made for safety concerns. Vendors can set up on the property of homes and businesses with permission; others must relocate to the parking lot north of Jake Gaither Gymnasium.
B-CC vs. Norfolk State
WHEN/WHERE: 5 p.m.; Lockhart Stadium, Fort Lauderdale.
RECORDS: Norfolk State 1-0, B-CC 1-0.
COACHES: Maurice "Mo" Forte (3-9, second season). B-CC _ Alvin Wyatt (20-14, fourth season).
NATIONAL RANKINGS: In last week's 30-15 win over Savannah State, the Wildcats offense gained 407 yards. Jay Rogers, who plays the B-back position in the Wyattbone offense, is ranked fifth with 166 yards rushing. Quarterback Pa'tell Troutman is ranked 18th with 151 yards rushing.
HELPING HANDS: Last week, Troutman completed just 3 of 14 passes for 33 yards. It was a disappointing start considering how much time the coach and quarterback spent spent working on the passing attack during the off-season.
ASK THE EXPERT: Troutman said the passing game will break out soon. "We had a good day passing the ball, but receivers just couldn't hold on to the ball," he said. "I could have easily had over 200 yards in the first half, but we just weren't concentrating enough. But we'll be concentrating this weekend."
_ Compiled by Jamal Thalji.