No. 1 Florida vs. Troy, 12:20 p.m., Ch. 38, 1250-AM
In an effort to make sure the Gators (1-0) don't overlook Troy in anticipation of next week's Tennessee game, coach Urban Meyer has repeatedly reminded his players that Troy is the team that led LSU by 28 points last season before the Tigers came from behind to win. The Trojans are the three-time defending Sun Belt champions, but the reality is this isn't quite the same team. Troy returns eight starters on offense, including FB DaJuan Harris of Brooksville, but just four defensive starters. In its season opener, Troy had eight players make their first collegiate start. Still, Troy most likely will be a more formidable opponent than Charleston Southern was last week.
Antonya English, Times staff writer
What to watch for ...
Last week the UF coaching staff decided to keep the offense and defense at their most basic, based on the premise it was more important to get younger players game experience. This week everything's on the table. The Gators expect a more up-tempo offense from Troy, and defensive coordinator Charlie Strong said generating better pressure is a must.
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Florida State vs. Jacksonville State, 6 p.m., 1040-AM
Jacksonville State (0-1) isn't your typical I-AA lightweight. It has a QB who was the MVP of the 2007 SEC Championship Game for LSU (Ryan Perrilloux) and a defensive tackle who made one of the biggest plays for Florida in the 2009 BCS finale against Oklahoma (former Armwood star Torrey Davis).The mercurial Perrilloux, who sat out last week's 37-17 loss at Georgia Tech for violating team rules, is back. FSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, Perrilloux's position coach at LSU, said the QB "makes a lot of plays out of the pocket and has a real strong arm." The young defense of FSU (0-1) struggled Monday against Miami QB Jacory Harris, who can get out of the pocket and has a strong arm.
WHAT TO WATCH For ...
Coach Bobby Bowden has reminded his players not to overlook a I-AA school. Two ACC teams (Duke and Virginia) lost their openers to I-AAs. "I guarantee you I'll bring that to their attention because now the big thing you're doing in our situation is, avoid the upset," Bowden said. "That's my motto this week, avoid the upset."
Brian Landman, Times staff writer
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USF at Western Kentucky, 7:30 p.m., Bright House Sports Network, 970-AM
This week should be even easier for the Bulls than last week's 40-7 season-opening win against Wofford. Western Kentucky was dominated in its opener by Tennessee 63-7 last week. WKU mustered 83 yards of total offense, and in 12 meetings with BCS schools since 2001, the Hilltoppers never have scored more than 14 points. The most lopsided road win for the Bulls since joining I-A in 2001 has been 31 points - against N.C. State last year and Syracuse in 2007 - so that's in play. USF QB Matt Grothe needs 89 yards to become the Big East's career leader in total offense. He would break the mark held by former West Virginia QB Pat White.
Greg Auman, Times staff writer
What to watch for ...
USF's priority, after winning, is establishing depth. Expect lots of substitutes on the defensive line and at linebacker. Backup QB B.J. Daniels should getextensive playing time if the game goes as planned. ... Senior Jessie Hester, who was limited by an ankle injury last week and did not catch a pass, did not make the trip, leaving USF without its top receiver from last season.
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Central Florida at Southern Miss, 7 p.m.
Former Largo star Brynn Harvey rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries in UCF's 28-24 victory against Division I-AA Samford last weekend. Despite Harvey breaking 100 yards for just the second time in his collegiate career, coach George O'Leary said he wants to reduce the number of carries and get more running backs involved.
Only slightly more intriguing is the quarterback battle between Rob Calabrese and Brett Hodges. Calabrese completed 3 of 7 passes for 28 yards. Hodges threw the winning touchdown and finished 10-of-17 for 129 yards, with one interception. O'Leary still backs Calabrese as the starter but said both will continue to play.
Golden Eagles quarterback Austin Davis threw for 217 yards and three touchdowns in a 52-0 victory last week over Alcorn State. He also ran for a score as the running game thrived, led by Damion Fletcher's 126 yards and one touchdown. The Golden Eagles won last year's meeting 17-6.
Both teams are 1-0 this season.
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FIU at No. 4 Alabama, 7 p.m.
The Golden Panthers begin their eighth season on the road trying to shake up the college football world with an upset. It is their fifth shot at a Top 25 team. The programs played in 2006 for the first time, and Alabama won easily 38-3. Golden Panthers coach Mario Cristobal appears, however, to have improved the program, guiding it to a 5-7 finish in 2008. FIU's top threat is sophomore receiver T.Y. Hilton, who had 41 receptions for 1,013 yards and seven touchdowns last season.
The Crimson Tide opened with a 34-24 victory over then-No. 7 Virginia Tech in the Georgia Dome. Running back Mark Ingram earned SEC offensive player of the week honors after he rushed for 150 yards and one touchdown.
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Bethune-Cookman vs. SOUTH Carolina StATE, 4 p.m.
The Wildcats' 20-6 loss to Division II Shaw last weekend was a terrible display of ball control. B-CU (0-1) committed seven turnovers in wet conditions and mustered just one touchdown, a 12-yard run by Brian Sumlar in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats need to get their issues ironed out in a hurry.
Defending Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion South Carolina State was a 34-31 winner against Grambling in its opener last week in Orlando. The Bulldogs have an accurate passer in Malcolm Long, who completed 13 of 20 passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns. They also have two capable running backs, William Ford and Derrick Wiley, who combined for 149 yards and one touchdown.
Izzy Gould, Times staff writer