Five burning questions as we head into the weekend:
1. Will Josh Nesbitt make the big throws when Georgia Tech needs them? In the second half of last week’s game, Clemson’s defense basically dared Josh Nesbitt to beat them. Nesbitt was forced to run and forced to pass. He made enough runs and a big throw with the game on the line and Georgia Tech won by a field goal. Miami has enough athletes on defense to give Nesbitt basically the same look. Can Nesbitt make enough throws to keep the Hurricanes honest or will Coach Paul Johnson find another way to make the Miami defense pay?
2. Will Justin Houston make a difference? The defensive end returns to the Georgia team after a two-game suspension. After the season-ending injury to Roderick Battle, the Bulldogs desperately need somebody who can rush the passer. Georgia didn’t get to Stephen Garcia many times last week and it cost Georgia a lot of yardage. Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino is going to look at that game tape and probably see some things he can exploit as quarterback Ryan Mallett makes his SEC debut. If Georgia can’t put pressure on Mallett, he’s going throw stuff underneath the defense all day.
3. At any point in Saturday’s game with Tennessee, will Urban Meyer take his foot off the gas? Not only no, but hell no. I understand that when Lane Kiffin accused Urban Meyer of cheating in recruiting (he later had to apologize because Meyer did not cheat) the Tennessee coach basically wrote a check with his mouth that he knew his team would not be able to cash. But back then Kiffin wanted to rally his fan base and a little controversy was a small price to pay in order to do that. But Saturday the bill comes due. Tennessee is an undermanned football team (compared to Florida) right now. But also understand that this game is about recruiting. Tennessee came into the state of Florida and picked off a kid (Nu’Keese Richardson) that the Gators really wanted and thought they had. Meyer wants to send a message to future recruits from the state that it’s probably not a good idea to go to one of Florida’s biggest rivals. You can always expect Meyer to pour it on when he plays Tennessee or Georgia. That’s just the nature of the business.
4. How many times will Stephen Garcia throw the ball against Florida Atlantic? I was shocked last week when Steve Spurrier let Garcia throw the ball 53 times against Georgia. Maybe Spurrier has decided that if he’s going to lose, he’s going to go down pitching and catching the ball all over the ball park. South Carolina should be oaky Saturday but then the Gamecocks have to get ready for a Thursday night game against Ole Miss in Columbia.
5. How good is Virginia Tech–really? The Hokies played Alabama very tough in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta. But I’m still not sure how good they are. I think we’ll find out Saturday when Nebraska comes to Blacksburg. Virginia Tech has a splendid defense. It always does. But the offense becomes very one-dimensional if quarterback Tyrod Taylor can’t make plays with his arm and his feet. Nebraska coach Bo Pelini is a defensive guru, like Alabama’s Nick Saban, and will set up his defense to force Taylor to throw. For ACC pride, Virginia Tech needs to win this game.
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