Florida-Alabama meet again in what could be Round 1 of SEC’s powerhouse rivalryBy Ralph D. Russo, AP
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Florida-Alabama, Round 1?
This Florida-Alabama game might just be Round 1 for the seventh-ranked Gators and top-ranked Crimson Tide.
The last two seasons Florida and Alabama have met in the Southeastern Conference championship game, both times with a trip to the national title game on the line. Both times the winner went on to win it all.
Now for the first time since 2006, Florida and Alabama will meet in the regular season Saturday night in Tuscaloosa.
“It’s definitely one of the most anticipated games in the country,” Florida defensive lineman Justin Trattou said.
While it’s sure to be intense and the loser will have to move toward the back of the line in the national title chase, don’t dare call it an elimination game.
The Gators have been getting better every week after a sluggish start, but still look like the team to beat in the SEC East. And that won’t change if they leave Tuscaloosa with their first regular-season loss since Tim Tebow came up short against Mississippi in 2009.
The Tide is coming off a 24-20 comeback victory against West-rival Arkansas and look every bit like a team worthy of being No. 1.
If the loser Saturday night goes on to win the SEC championship without losing another game, it might be hard to keep that team out of the BCS title game — no matter how many undefeated teams there are around the country.
Gators-Tide is one of five games Saturday matching ranked teams. Sharing top billing with UF-’Bama is No. 9 Stanford at No. 4 Oregon.
The winner between the Cardinal and Ducks should emerge as the Pac-10 favorite, though Southern California and Arizona might have a lot to say about that before the season is over.
Stanford was the only conference foe to beat Oregon last season, winning a shootout 52-41 in northern California.
No. 7 Florida (plus 9) at No. 1 Alabama
Gators not ready to beat Tide — yet … ALABAMA 28-17.
No. 2 Ohio State (minus 19) at Illinois
First road game for Buckeyes … OHIO STATE 45-20.
No. 3 Boise State (minus 41) at New Mexico State
Broncos due for letdown, not that it’ll matter much this week … BOISE STATE 42-14.
No. 9 Stanford (plus 7) at No. 4 Oregon
Start moved up to 8p ET, so no one has to lose sleep to watch … STANFORD 40-28.
No. 5 TCU (minus 33) at Colorado State
First game outside Texas for Horned Frogs … TCU 45-10.
No. 8 Oklahoma (minus 4) vs. No. 21 Texas at Dallas
Maybe Sooners D, last in Big 12, will revive ‘Horns sluggish offense … OKLAHOMA 24-17.
Louisiana-Monroe (plus 34½) at No. 10 Auburn
If not for Denard Robinson, Cam Newton might be Heisman front-runner … AUBURN 49-13.
No. 11 Wisconsin (pick) at No. 24 Michigan State
Home team has won five straight in series … WISCONSIN 24-20.
Tennessee (plus 14) at No. 12 LSU
LSU’s Jordan Jefferson hasn’t reached 100 yards passing in last three games … LSU 27-14.
No. 16 Miami (minus 3) at Clemson
Road team has won each time teams have met as ACC rivals … MIAMI 27-21.
No. 22 Penn State (plus 7) at No. 17 Iowa
Nittany Lions last win in Iowa City was 1999 … IOWA 24-14
Washington (plus 10½) at No. 18 Southern California
Trojans porous pass defense should boost Jake Locker’s stock … USC 37-24.
No. 19 Michigan (minus 10½) at Indiana
Hoosiers last beat Wolverines in 1987 … MICHIGAN 42-35.
Virginia Tech (minus 3) at No. 23 North Carolina State
Wolfpack’s Russell Wilson second in nation with 11 TD passes … N.C. STATE 28-21.
No. 25 Nevada (minus 20) at UNLV
Now that Nevada is in Top 25, expect Pack to be there a while … NEVADA 42-14.
Last week: 18-3 (straight); 10-7-1.
Season: 71-10 (straight); 37-31-3 (vs. points).
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