Saturday morning blitz

From staff and wire reportsSeptember 6, 2013 

Hot reads

1. End is near: Michigan coach Brady Hoke was on target when he said Notre Dame was “chickening out” of its rivalry with the Wolverines. But the Irish don’t have much choice. As with all heavyweight programs, Notre Dame needs to manage the difficulty of its schedule and guarantee regularly playing seven home games.

The Fighting Irish (1-0) visit the Big House on Saturday, their last scheduled trip to Ann Arbor. Michigan (1-0) plays at South Bend, Ind., next season, and then the rivalry takes an indefinite hiatus.

The rivalry is historical and significant – and really cool. Winged helmets vs. golden domes.

But when Notre Dame agreed to play five ACC teams per season, starting next year, it needed to clear space – and Michigan got the boot.

“I can see the frustration that would be there,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said.

Not wanting to give up home games is one of the reasons Florida so rarely plays Miami. The Gators visit the Hurricanes on Saturday, and have no plans to play again. What Notre Dame is doing with Michigan is similar and understandable, but hopefully it won’t be permanent.

2. Dawgs in a tight spot: Georgia opened the season ranked No. 5, but might be ranked No. 3 in the state of South Carolina after Saturday.

The Bulldogs lost a thriller at then-No. 8 Clemson in Week 1 and host No. 6 South Carolina on Saturday.

“It’s no fun to lose. It’s no fun to lose early,” coach Mark Richt said. “But with the type of schedule we have, there’s a risk of that.”

Georgia started 0-2 a couple of years ago, losing to Boise State and South Carolina, then ripped off 10 straight wins and claimed the SEC East Division title. Last year, the Bulldogs were blown out by the Gamecocks 35-7 in early October, yet reached the SEC title game and nearly upset Alabama.

South Carolina has beaten Georgia three consecutive times.

“They’ll be ready for us,” Steve Spurrier said.

3. Whose state is it (Florida version)? Florida visits Miami in a high-stakes non-conference rivalry game, so big that it is expected to draw 77,000, which would be a UM record for Sun Life Stadium. A Miami win means an almost-certain return to the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2010. A Florida win would leave a big exclamation mark on the series.

The Gators must stop RB Duke Johnson, whose 186 rushing yards led the nation in Week 1. Johnson didn’t have big stats in games against top-notch opponents last season, though a toe injury had him hampered at times. This season, he’s bigger and stronger.

Tracking the Top 25

Saturday’s games ... comments where deserving

No. 2 Oregon at Virginia, 3:30 p.m.

Frosh RB Thomas Tyner available if/when needed – which figures to be Nov. 7 vs. Stanford.

No. 3 Ohio St. vs. San Diego State, 3:30 p.m.

Odd request: Visiting San Diego State asks for slice of lime in each IV.

No. 4 Clemson vs. South Carolina State, 12:30 p.m.

Manhood should not feel threatened until Oct. 19 against Florida State.

No. 5 Stanford vs. San Jose State, 11 p.m.

Stanford can hold down this spot all year, especially if team doesn’t play any games.

No. 6 South Carolina at No. 11 Georgia, 4:30 p.m.

NFL scouts say Jadeveon Clowney knows someone who has a motor that never quits. Georgia has played better teams in first two weeks than Ohio State will all season.

No. 7 Texas A&M vs. Sam Houston State, 7 p.m.

School announces it has also cut off all Johnny Manziel interview requests from his teachers.

No. 8 Louisville vs. Eastern Kentucky, Noon

School will mount deer’s head in office before a Heisman campaign for Teddy Bridgewater.

No. 9 LSU vs. UAB, 7 p.m.

New offensive coordinator Cameron could be best “Cam” to hit SEC since Newton.

No. 12 Florida at Miami, Noon

Fourth regular-season meeting since 1987. Seismologists prepare instruments for Duke Johnson running into Florida’s defense.

No. 13 Oklahoma St. at UTSA, Noon

No. 14 Notre Dame at No. 17 Michigan, 8 p.m.

These two first met in 1887 outside a bar in South Bend. It was loathe at first sight.

No. 15 Texas at BYU, 7 p.m.

ESPN Stats & Stuff reports Longhorns are first team booed at home during 56-7 win. Won’t be problem this week.

No. 16 Oklahoma vs. West Virginia, 7 p.m.

Switzer Vineyards sends Bob Stoops bottle of 1985 Chateau Jamelle Holieway for 150th win.

No. 19 Northwestern vs. Syracuse, 6 p.m.

Syracuse tuning up for ACC with another Big Ten game.

No. 21 Wisconsin vs. Tennessee Tech, Noon

No. 22 Nebraska vs. Southern Miss., 6 p.m.

“Holds” Wyoming to 34 points and 602 yards as fans over 50 are revived with smelling salts.

No. 23 Baylor vs, Buffalo, 3:30 p.m.

No. 24 TCU vs. SE Louisiana, Noon

No. 25 Southern Cal vs. Washington State, 10:30 p.m.

Whoever is the quarterback for USC needs to play better.

Final Word

“I really haven’t seen it as one of those historic, traditional Notre Dame rivalries. I’ve seen it as just one of those great football games that Notre Dame has played.”

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, discussing Michigan during conference call Sunday.

What he meant to say ...

“It’s a great and historical rivalry that we’ll be playing this Saturday. So let’s get that out of the way right away so we don’t have to answer any more questions about this rivalry. We’re excited about the game, excited about playing it. This will be decided by the players on the field and the preparation that goes along with it. So we can stick to that and dispense the nonsense.”

Brian Kelly, backpedaling on Tuesday

Compiled from Associated Press, Los Angeles Times

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