National college football preview

Arkansas at Auburn

Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett is 6-foot-7. Auburn

quarterback Cameron Newton is 6-foot-6. They are two light-bulb

changers, to be sure. They were both transfers, but they could not

be more different.

Mallett will lead the No. 12 Razorbacks into an SEC showdown at

Auburn as the conference’s leading passer (349.6 yards per game).

Newton leads the unbeaten and No. 7 Tigers with his legs. He also

leads the SEC in rushing (112 yards per game).

Last week, Newton plowed through Kentucky’s middle on his

zone-read runs. It was Tim Tebow all over again. He is reading and

running, and even if there is a half-block on a defender, Newton is

sturdy enough to get away.

Mallett towers over the defense and shoots streaks of light

called passes to receivers.

There are some keys to this game: Arkansas will script a drive

right off the bat with its best plays by coach Bobby Petrino.

Auburn has to survive that punch, and the one after. Alabama barely

escaped.

Two, the Razorbacks better run the ball because the Tigers are

going to give everything they have to pass defense. Arkansas is

12th in run offense in the SEC. That’s the bottom.

It figures to be one of those games where the team that has the

ball last wins.

By Ray Glier For the AJC

The Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett is 6-foot-7. The Auburn

quarterback Cameron Newton is 6-foot-6. They are two light bulb

changers, to be sure. They were both transfers, but they could not

be more different.

Mallet will lead the No. 12 Razorbacks into an SEC showdown at

Auburn as the conference’s leading passer (349.6 yards per game).

Newton leads the unbeaten and No. 7 Tigers with his legs. He also

leads the SEC in rushing (112 yards per game).

Last week, Newton plowed through Kentucky’s middle on his zone

read runs. It was Tim Tebow all over again. He is reading and

running and even if there is a half-block on a defender, Newton is

sturdy enough to get away.

Mallett towers over the defense and shoots streaks of light

called passes to receivers.

There are some keys to this game: Arkansas will script a drive

right off the bat with its best plays by coach Bobby Petrino.

Auburn has to survive that punch, and the one after. Alabama barely

escaped.

Two, the Razorbacks better run the ball because the Tigers are

going to give everything they have to pass defense. Arkansas is

12th in run offense in the SEC. That’s the bottom.

It figures to be one of those games where the team that has the

ball last, wins.

SEC

South Carolina at Kentucky

Can No. 10 South Carolina ruin everything gained by beating Bama

by losing this game? Yes, they could, but they won’t. The Gamecocks

spent a lot of emotion last week in the win over No. 1 Alabama, but

UK had an emotional time of it, too, with a near upset of unbeaten

Auburn. What’s more, the Wildcats’ leading rusher, Derrick Locke,

probably will not play because of shoulder stingers.

South Carolina is too physical with its run game. If SC shows

any signs of sloppiness with the pass game, Steve Spurrier is going

to run the

football as much as he can. Stats to

remember: Gamecocks are 11th in total defense in the SEC; UK is

fourth in offense. But Kentucky is last in rushing defense.

Mississippi State at Florida

Florida, the team with all that speed, is 96th in total offense

in

college

football. It doesn’t seem possible.

The Gators’ quarterback is beat up and their head coach reinstated

skill guy Chris Rainey, who merely sent a text to a woman, “Time to

Die.” It’s time for the Gators to amount to something for all this

talent they have hauled in. Ron Zook was fired after he lost to

Miss. State. Meyer won’t be fired if there is an upset, but he will

have some explaining to do about last offseason when he resigned

then came back, but passed some duties on to his assistants.

Ole Miss at Alabama

Alabama star wide receiver Julio Jones has a broken hand and may

not play. Will it matter? The Crimson Tide (5-1, 2-1) should be

plenty angry after losing by two touchdowns to South Carolina. The

wide receivers opposite Jones have not made enough plays because

quarterback Greg McElroy is in a slump. NFL scouts say he is way

too methodical with the ball and slow to turn it loose.

Ole Miss defensive tackle Jerrell Powe said Alabama has been

“exposed” as a one-dimensional team that can run and not pass. The

Rebels (3-2, 1-1) have their defensive secondary intact after some

injuries so this should be interesting. Ole Miss, which had the

week off to get healthy and get prepared, has not won in Tuscaloosa

since 1988.

McNeese State at LSU

No way, Les Miles and the No. 9 Tigers make this close,

right?

Right?

ACC

Maryland at Clemson

The Terrapins are 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the ACC because of big

plays (they have 12 plays of 50 yards or longer). If Clemson (2-3,

0-2) wants to win, the Tigers have to do Maryland in third down.

The Terps convert just 24.6 percent of third-down plays, last in

the ACC. Ralph Friedgen, the ex-Georgia Tech assistant coach and

the Maryland head coach, owns the Tigers (6-3).

Clemson has to figure some things out. It has lost three in a

row. It hurt itself with turnovers in a loss to Miami and then hurt

itself with penalties against North Carolina. Clemson defensive end

Da’Quan Bowers has six sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss in just five

games. None of this misery can be pinned on him; he might be the

best

football player in the ACC.

Boston

College at Florida State

What team exactly showed up at Oklahoma a month ago and got

clobbered by the Sooners? That Florida State team is nowhere in

sight. It’s not as easily explained as saying the Seminoles got

into their ACC schedule and everything was made easy. Miami has

some skill — but not coaching apparently — and No. 16 FSU waxed

the Canes. Quarterback Christian Ponder was leading the offense

until the run game showed itself with 298 yards vs. Miami. There is

a lot of balance for BC to worry about. The Seminoles average 4.3

sacks per game. BC better stay out of third and long, especially

with its freshman QB Chase Rettig back on the field.

North Carolina at Virginia

Carolina comes off an upset over Clemson, but look what happens

this week. Tar Heels coach Butch Davis is back doing damage control

on the school’s scandal. His former right-hand man, assistant coach

John Blake, was in the news on Blake’s relationship with agents.

Davis cannot survive this, can he? His team is playing inspired

football and it is working hard to

save his job, but the Pope would have to intervene at this point.

Tailback Ryan Houston has been reinstated after missing five games

because of the scandal.

Miami at Duke

Randy Shannon, who was supposed to lead the Canes back to glory,

is leading his team down a dark shaft. In two Show-me games, Ohio

State and Florida State, Miami has looked dreadful on offense and

has been pushed around on defense. The Hurricanes beat Pitt and

Clemson and looked formidable, but now what? Quarterback Jacory

Harris has thrown nine interceptions. The Blue Devils (1-4, 0-2)

have lost four straight, two of them by one score each. They can

pass; they can’t run. Miami’s defense can win this, as long as

Harris does not put them in a lot of bad situations.

National games to watch

Ohio State at Wisconsin

Ohio State is No. 1 and is 19-1 in its last 20 Big Ten road

games. Is that enough insulation to withstand the Badgers’ home

field, Camp Randall? It has been in the past, but the games are

painfully close for the Buckeyes. Look at the media guide. The

total score of the last three games at Wisconsin between these

teams is 49-48, OSU. The Badgers are ranked No. 18.

This is a chance for quarterback Terrelle Pryor to add another

layer of “it” and be the hero for the Buckeyes once and for all.

These are the tight games where somebody makes a pivotal play: a

turnover or a busted run for a key first down.

Texas at Nebraska

The fifth-ranked Cornhuskers have all the motivation, plus the

home field edge. They were robbed of the Big 12 championship when

Texas got a second put back on the clock last December. Second, the

Huskers are still in the hunt for a national championship. Finally,

Texas’ dominance/control of the Big 12 and money grab sent Nebraska

packing to the Big Ten. There is ill will.

There is another reason UT will suffer. Taylor Martinez, the

Nebraska quarterback, is in the Heisman hunt with his explosive

plays on the option. It looks like old-time Husker

football.

Around the nation

Ohio State at Wisconsin

Ohio State is No. 1 and is 19-1 in its past 20 Big Ten road

games. Is that enough insulation to withstand the Badgers’ home

field, Camp Randall? It has been in the past, but the games are

painfully close for the Buckeyes. Look at the media guide. The

total score of the past three games at Wisconsin between these

teams is 49-48, OSU. The Badgers are ranked No. 18.

This is a chance for quarterback Terrelle Pryor to add another

layer of “it” and be the hero for the Buckeyes once and for all.

These are the tight games where somebody makes a pivotal play: a

turnover or a busted run for a key first down.

Texas at Nebraska

The fifth-ranked Cornhuskers have all the motivation, plus the

home edge. They were robbed of the Big 12 championship when Texas

got a second put back on the clock last December. Second, the

‘Huskers are still in the hunt for a national championship.

Finally, Texas’ dominance/control of the Big 12 and money grab sent

Nebraska packing to the Big Ten. There is ill will. There is

another reason UT will suffer. Taylor Martinez, the Nebraska

quarterback, is in the Heisman hunt with his explosive plays on the

option. It looks like old-time ‘Huskers

football.South Carolina at

Kentucky

Can No. 10 South Carolina ruin everything gained by beating

‘Bama by losing this game? Yes, they could, but they won’t. The

Gamecocks spent a lot of emotion last week in the win over No. 1

Alabama, but UK had an emotional time of it, too, with a near upset

of unbeaten Auburn. What’s more, the Wildcats’ leading rusher,

Derrick Locke, probably will not play because of shoulder

stingers.

South Carolina is too physical with its run game. If SC shows

any signs of sloppiness with the pass game, Steve Spurrier is going

to run the

football as much as he can. Stats

to remember: Gamecocks are 11th in total defense in the SEC; UK is

fourth in offense. But Kentucky is last in rushing defense.

Mississippi State

at Florida

Florida, the team with all that speed, is 96th in total offense

in

college

football. It doesn’t seem possible.

The Gators’ quarterback is beat up and their head coach reinstated

skill guy Chris Rainey, who merely sent a text to a woman, “Time to

die.” It’s time for the Gators to amount to something for all this

talent they have hauled in. Ron Zook was fired after he lost to

Mississippi State. Coach Urban Meyer won’t be fired if there is an

upset, but he will have some explaining to do about last offseason

when he resigned and then came back but passed some duties on to

his assistants.

Mississippi at Alabama

Alabama star wide receiver Julio Jones has a broken hand and

might not play. Will it matter? The Crimson Tide (5-1, 2-1) should

be plenty angry after losing by two touchdowns to South Carolina.

The wide receivers opposite Jones have not made enough plays

because quarterback Greg McElroy is in a slump. NFL scouts say he

is way too methodical with the ball and slow to turn it loose.

Ole Miss defensive tackle Jerrell Powe said Alabama has been

“exposed” as a one-dimensional team that can run and not pass. The

Rebels (3-2, 1-1) have their defensive secondary intact after some

injuries so this should be interesting. Ole Miss, which had the

week off to get healthy and get prepared, has not won in Tuscaloosa

since 1988.

McNeese State at LSU

No way that coach Les Miles and the No. 9 Tigers make this

close, right? Right?Maryland at Clemson

The Terrapins are 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the ACC because of big

plays (they have 12 plays of 50 yards or longer). If Clemson (2-3,

0-2) wants to win, the Tigers have to stop Maryland on third down.

The Terps convert just 24.6 percent of third-down plays, last in

the ACC. Ralph Friedgen, the ex-Georgia Tech assistant and the

Maryland head coach, owns the Tigers (6-3). Clemson has to figure

some things out. It has lost three in a row. It hurt itself with

turnovers in a loss to Miami and then hurt itself with penalties

against North Carolina. Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers has

six sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss in just five games. None of

this misery can be pinned on him.

Boston

College

at Florida State

What team exactly showed up at Oklahoma a month ago and got

clobbered by the Sooners? That Florida State team is nowhere in

sight. It’s not as easily explained as saying the Seminoles got

into their ACC schedule and everything was made easy. Miami has

some skill — but not coaching, apparently — and No. 16 FSU

waxed the Canes. Quarterback Christian Ponder was leading the

offense until the run game showed itself with 298 yards vs. Miami.

There is a lot of balance for BC to worry about. The Seminoles

average 4.3 sacks per game. BC better stay out of third-and-long,

especially with freshman QB Chase Rettig back on the field.

North Carolina at Virginia

Carolina comes off an upset over Clemson, but look what happened

this week. Tar Heels coach Butch Davis is back doing damage control

on the school’s scandal. His former right-hand man, assistant coach

John Blake, was in the news on Blake’s relationship with agents.

Davis cannot survive this, can he? His team is playing inspired

football and it is working hard to

save his job, but the Pope would have to intervene at this point.

Tailback Ryan Houston was reinstated after missing five games.

Miami at Duke

Randy Shannon, who was supposed to lead the ‘Canes back to

glory, is leading his team down a dark shaft. In two show-me games,

Ohio State and Florida State, Miami has looked dreadful on offense

and has been pushed around on defense. The Hurricanes beat Pitt and

Clemson and looked formidable, but now what? Quarterback Jacory

Harris has thrown nine interceptions. The Blue Devils (1-4, 0-2)

have lost four straight, two of them by one score each. They can

pass; they can’t run. Miami’s defense can win this as long as

Harris does not put them in a lot of bad situations.ACCSECCompiled

by Ray Glier, For the AJCNATIONAL GAMES TO WATCH