No.1 Florida Gators (1-0) vs. Troy Trojans (0-1)
Kickoff: 12:21 p.m., Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville
TV: SEC Network
Series history: Florida leads the series 1-0.
Scouting report: This is Florida's first game of the season against a team in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The Gators defeated Charleston Southern 62-3 in the season opener. Troy, four-time defending champions of the Sun Belt Conference, lost its season opener 31-14 to Bowling Green.
Prediction: Florida 55, Troy 14. Another sacrificial lamb for the No.1-ranked Gators. Troy's first-string defense is talented but the Gators' new no-huddle offense will wear down the Trojans before halftime. Florida was 12-1 against the spread in 2008. (Favorite: Florida by 36 1/2.)
Florida Game Notes
Troy Game Notes
BONUS! In case you're interested, here's a link to my college football column this week. It appeared in Friday's paper.
BONUS II! And here's a link to my weekly college football predictions.
GAINESVILLE -- OK, this is the third season of Gator Clause's ULTIMATE PREVIEW! We skipped the first week of the season because, well, who the heck wants to read an ultimate preview of Florida 62, Charleston Southern 3?
I mean, Florida's offense only played out of ONE base formation last Saturday. The defense used the same THREE plays and never blitzed. That's not football, that's Tecmo Bowl! (Hey, no looking at my controller. Hey, you picked my play! Kudos to anyone who understands that arcane arcade reference.)
[PICTURED, Last week against Charleston Southern, Jeff Demps looked like Bo Jackson of Tecmo Bowl glory.]
OK, listen, Florida had it right last season. The Gators need to play the Miami Hurricanes EVERY season. What is this nonsense? Charleston Southern and now Troy. Does anyone even know where Troy is located? I mean, at least Charleston Southern had an identity. I assume it's located on the south side of Charleston, S.C. Troy? Turks don't play football. I thought they were the guys who told you can't play football. (NFL reference.)
I'm only kidding, of course. I know where Troy is located. I am, after all, from Alabama. My mom actually graduated from Troy, believe it or not. I understand Troy has played football for a lot of years (this is Troy's 100th season of football, according to the game notes) and was once a dominant force in Division I-AA. Troy made the jump to big-boy ball a few years back and is doing quite well for itself in the Sun Belt Conference. But does that mean I want to cover a football game involving Troy and Florida? No. Not when Florida should be playing Miami every season!
Here's something you might not know about Troy. The football team has received big donations from the former owners of Movie Gallery, the video rental chain that got its start down the road from Troy, Ala. Did you know that Movie Gallery is the nation's largest video rental chain of hard-core porn? That's right. That means Troy's football team is propped up -- no pun intended -- by the porn industry. No wonder the team's mascot is a Trojan. And that, as they say, is the rest of the story...
So, we've already established this Saturday's game is a battle of complete opposites: The Tim Tebows and the Trojans. Is there anything else to learn? Well, according to UF coach Urban Meyer, Troy has a few players with NFL-caliber potential. Who are these studs?
1. Troy has some pretty good linebackers. The best of the bunch is Boris Lee, a senior who was named to Sun Belt Conference All-Decade Team by CBS Sports.
2. The Trojans' defensive line is formidable. Brandon Lang [PICTURED] was rated the No.6 defensive end in the country by The Sporting News. Lang's bookend, Cameron Sheffield, was an All-SBC selection in 2008.
3. Senior tackle Kevin Dixon is a transfer from Nebraska. In 2007, Dixon was named the Cornhuskers most improved player by former coach Bill Callahan, who, according to his record at Nebraska, didn't know much about defense.
4. Nose tackle Eugene Kinslaw, another transfer, was named the 2008 Junior College Defensive Player of the Year.
5. Sophomore defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi is the cousin of four NFL players: Visanthe Shiancoe (Vikings), Mohamed Massaquoi (Browns) and Tim Massaquoi (Dolphins).
OK, enough about Troy. After all, they lost to Bowling Green 31-14 last week. What about the Gators?
WHAT ABOUT THE GATORS?
Well, for starters, here's a link to my story in today's paper advancing the game. CLICK ME! If you're too lazy to read it, I'll give you the Cliff's Notes version:
1. Florida's new no-huddle offense is named after the World War II battle cry of the Imperial Japanese Army. Don't laugh, I'm being serious right now. I am wearing a tie!
2. The point of the new offense is to, well, let me break it down outline style...
A. Make exhausted opposing defenses fertilize Florida Field with their mouth paint.
B. Score at least 50 points a game.
C. Insure Tebow wins the Heisman.
D. Beat the biscuits out of Tennessee next week.
E. Make it extremely difficult for sports writers to keep a running log of the game.
3. The Gators trained for the new offense during training camp by nearly killing themselves every day at the end of every practice.
FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH
1. Receiver Riley Cooper: Here's a link to my feature story on Cooper. It appeared in Thursday's paper. CLICK ME! The first word in the story is vomit. Don't know how I slipped that one past the ol' editors. Ha-ha! Goody 1, editors 42,388,300.
2. Strong safety Ahmad Black: I've already covered this. Just scroll down to the next blog post. I'm predicting right now -- at 1:35 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12, in the Year of Our Lord 2009 -- that Black will be the starter at strong safety today. If I'm wrong, I'll do something ridiculously painfully to myself, like give The Matzo Ball a bath ... with me in the bath!
SIDE NOTE: I've read that the best way to bathe a cat named The Matzo Ball is ...
1. Thoroughly clean your toilet.
2. Add the required amount of shampoo to the toilet water and have both lids lifted.
3. Obtain a broom.
4. Obtain The Matzo Ball.
5. With broom in one hand, and The Matzo Ball in the other, enter the bathroom.
6. In one smooth movement, put The Matzo Ball in the toilet and close both lids.
A. Stand on the lid with broom in hand.
B. Do this while your wife is at work.
C. A few words of caution. Do not get any part of your body too close to the edge as The Matzo Ball's carefully sharpened claws will be reaching out for anything he can find.
D. The Matzo Ball will self-agitate and make ample suds.
E. Ignore the noises coming from your toilet. The Matzo Ball is playing Marco Polo.
7. Flush the toilet three or four times. This provides a "power wash and rinse." Quite effective.
8. Have your partners in clean, Cahaba The Dog and Guinness The Dog, open the door to the front yard.
9. Warn your canine compatriots that holy terror is about to come tearing through house.
10. Get off the toilet but firmly press the business end of the broom against the lid's toilet.
11. Back into shower/bathtub; Broom on lid. Mind the step. One slip and the beast will go for your jugular!
12. Close sliding-glass shower door, leaving only enough room to manipulate your broom.
13. Scream, "Seek shelter!" to your compatriots.
14. Push open the lid with the broom.
15. The Matzo Ball will rocket out of the toilet and run outside.
3. Three for one, here. Running backs Chris Rainey, Jeff Demps and Emmanuel Moody are vital to the success of the new no-huddle offense. With three quality tailbacks, UF's backfield should remain fresh throughout the game. With Troy's defense sufficiently whipped by halftime, Moody will be difficult to bring down during the second half.
4. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins should be back on the field after serving his one-game suspension.
5. The same goes for starting defensive end Jermaine Cunningham.
BY THE NUMBERS
1 The amount of times Rainey rushed the ball last week. He should get more carries against Troy.
6 The number of rushing touchdowns Tim Tebow needs to break the Southeastern Conference's all-time record for career rushing touchdowns (49, Herschel Walker, Georgia).
0 The number of sports writers who will be watching Saturday's game by the fourth quarter.
18 The number of first downs UF's defense allowed last week against Charleston Southern. That number must improve.