Five things to look for this weekend in college football:
1. Jeff Demps, Florida: Demps is the best offensive weapon Florida has. He averages 6.9 yards per carry and is averaging 32.5 yards per kick return. He has also caught 11 passes for 61 yards. Any team that hopes to beat Alabama is going to have to do it with big plays. You are not going to grind it out against that defense. Demps bruised his left foot at Tennessee on Sept. 18 and wore a protective boot until Wednesday. He had limited practice yesterday and is expected to practice today. Florida needs Demps to stretch the defense if the Gators hope to have a shot at the nation’s No. 1 team on the road.
2. Patrick Peterson vs. Gerald Jones: Jones, the Tennessee wide receiver, says he’s 100 percent and ready to go after missing three games with a broken bone in his left hand. Jones picked a good time to get well because the Volunteers will play their first road game of the season at LSU after four straight home games. In a conversation with the Knoxville News-Sentinel, Jones made it clear that he is looking forward to battling with LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson. “I’m so ready for No. 7,” Jones told the News-Sentinel. At that point young Mr. Jones probably should have ended his quote but then he added: “He’s not Superman, and I’m going to give it my all and it’s going to be a battle come Saturday.”
Well, you can bet that quote is on the LSU bulletin board this morning. Expect at least one Peterson punt return for a touchdown against the Vols.
And Gerald, Peterson IS Superman. Peterson and Alabama’s Mark Ingram are the two best football players I’ve seen this season.
3. Jacory Harris vs. the Clemson defense: Miami quarterback Jacory Harris has thrown six interceptions this season, all in road games at Ohio State and Pittsburgh. Miami coach Randy Shannon emphasizes that most of those interceptions were not Harris’s fault because the receivers involved didn’t do their jobs. Shannon is absolutely right on a couple of those interceptions against Ohio State. In one case the ball bounced off the receivers hands. In another case the receiver just got beat to the ball by the Ohio State defender. But you can believe that Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele is going to be dialing up all kinds of pressure on Harris when the Hurricanes come to Death Valley to play Clemson on Saturday. Clemson won at Miami in overtime last season in part because safety DeAndre McDaniel picked off two Harris passes and ran one back for a touchdown. “I’m from the state of Florida, so it felt real good,” the Tallahassee native told The Miami Herald. “Especially against Miami.”
4. Russell Wilson vs. the Virginia Tech defense: A very young Virginia Tech defense has gotten a little bit better since getting torched for 33 points in the opener with Boise State. Last week the Hokies gave up over 200 yards in the first half and Boston College running back Montel Harris finished with 111 yards rushing. But the final score was Virginia Tech 19, Boston College 0. Virginia Tech has played a very good dropback passer in Boise’s Kellen Moore, but the Hokies ain’t seen nothing like N.C. State’s Russell Wilson. Wilson lit up Georgia Tech last week for a career high 368 yards and three touchdowns last week. Through four games Wilson is second in the nation with 11 touchdown passes. And N.C. State is getting ready to reveal a promotional campaign calling the minor league baseball player a “Man for All Seasons.”
5. Texas feels a sense of urgency in Dallas: This is an unfamiliar spot for Texas (3-1). The Longhorns have controlled their rivalry with Oklahoma in recent years and have used it as a springboard towards competing for the national championship. But now Texas is in a position where it must win Saturday in Dallas. A loss not only puts them behind the eight ball in the Big 12 South, but it also means that Texas is completely out of the national championship discussion on the first Saturday in October. That’s how big that 34-12 home loss to UCLA was. And Texas needs to win so that the much-hyped trip to Nebraska on Oct. 16 will be relevant. Given what happened in last year’s Big 12 championship game, the Longhorns can certainly expect Nebraska’s best effort. Texas is feeling some of the things that Georgia is feeling right now. Mack Brown and company are coming to the conclusion that they may have an overrated football team that is not ready to play at the top level of its conference.
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