On a somewhat soft SEC grid schedule this weekend, there are two top games, while the rest of the lineup falls into the interesting-only-if-you-are-a-fan-of-the-school category. The two big games are No. 9 Florida (6-1 overall, 4-1 in league play) at Georgia (6-2, 3-2) and No. 8 Tennessee (6-1, 2-1) at South Carolina (5-2, 3-2).
Most of the pre-game talk in Jacksonville, Fla., where the Florida-Georgia game has been played every season since 1926, has been about the nickname of the game rather than the game itself. In an attempt to spin the reputations of their schools and fans, the University of Georgia and the University of Florida requested the networks broadcasting Saturday’s battle for the Eastern Division lead not to use the games famous moniker – the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Amazingly, CBS and ESPN caved, promising their announcers would refrain from using the nickname and, apparently, to ignore or not mention the copious drinking going on at the famous and prolific tailgate parties prior, during and after the game.
The question at the Tennessee at South Carolina game is: Can Steve Spurrier make it two in a row? Before Spurrier arrived and the Vols lost to the Gamecocks last year, Tennessee owned South Carolina, having won all 12 of their meetings since S.C. joined the SEC. The matchup between the Vols’ pass-happy offense and the Cocks’ tough defense will be interesting to watch. Tennessee, behind AB Erik Ainge, ranks eighth nationally in passing offense, while S.C.’s secondary ranks eighth nationally in passing defense.
Other league games on tap this week include No. 7 Auburn (7-1, 4-1) at Ole Miss (2-6, 1-4), Florida International (0-7) at Alabama (5-3, 2-3), Vanderbilt (3-5) at Duke (0-7), Kentucky (3-4, 1-3) at Mississippi State (2-6, 0-4) and La.-Monroe (1-6) at Arkansas (6-1).
This week’s college football TV schedule kicks off tonight with Texas El-Paso at Tulsa at 7 p.m. on ESPN. Saturday’s weekend TV lineup, other than pay-for-view is as follows:
Oklahoma at Missouri, 11 a.m. (ABC)
Notre Dame at Navy, 11 a.m. (CBS)
N.C. State at Virginia, 11 a.m. (WB)
Michigan St. at Indiana, 11 a.m. (CSS)
Northwestern at Michigan, 11 a.m. (ESPN)
Illinois at Wisconsin, 11 a.m. (ESPN2)
Northern Ill. at Iowa , 11 a.m. (ESPNU)
Auburn at Ole Miss,11:30 a.m. (JEFFERSON PILOT)
BYU at Air Force, 1 p.m. (VS)
Miami at Georgia Tech, 2:30 p.m. (ABC)
Georgia at Florida, 2:30 p.m. (CBS)
North Texas at Troy, 2:30 p.m. (CSS)
Southern Cal at Oregon, 2:30 p.m. (FSNS)
Wake Forest at N.C., 2:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Texas at Texas Tech, 6 p.m. (TBS)
Florida St. at Maryland, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
La.-Monroe at Arkansas, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
Tennessee at South Carolina, 6:45 p.m. (ESPN)