For Big Ten fans, it may be a good thing it’s still early in the season because its top three teams (Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa) suffered tough losses last week. For the rest of the country, things are looking up. Powerhouses from the ACC, Big 12 and Pac-10 hope to capitalize on these Midwest fumbles. While Southern Cal and Tennessee took this past week off, some of the other top-25 teams got some well-deserved attention. Last week’s marquee matchup between Ohio State and Texas certainly didn’t disappoint anyone except Ohio State quarterbacks. Justin Zwick gave up the game-losing fumble and Troy Smith bit it hard in the end zone for the final safety. More embarrassing moments await young football players in this week’s action across the country.

Sarah Royce
Florida quarterback Chris Leak and the Gators hope to leap above Tennessee in the SEC East standings after their conference clash with the Volunteers. (AP Photo)

No. 5 Tennessee (1-0) at No. 6 Florida (2-0) – 8 p.m. – CBS

The Gators and coach Urban Meyer must have one bad toothache because the last two weeks, their defense has masticated each of their opponents. A 32-14 win against Wyoming and a 41-3 win against Louisiana Tech have helped Florida inch its way up the polls from its preseason No. 10 ranking to its current position at No. 6. With a more worthy opponent on the horizon, expect the Gators defense to bend but not break under the pressure. On the other side of the football, Florida quarterback Chris Leak will undoubtedly continue his stellar play. He’s already racked up a combined 539 yards, five passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in just two games. Meanwhile, the Volunteers look to bounce back strong when they open their conference schedule. An idle week hopefully did them well, after they narrowly escaped an upset against UAB in week one, hanging on to win, 17-10. Keep an eye out for the ongoing quarterback controversy for the Volunteers; sophomore Erik Ainge and senior Rick Clausen continue to alternate snaps. Before the season opener, Ainge had been declared the starter, but after Ainge’s poor outing against UAB, who knows who will be under center this week.

Florida 30, Tennessee 17

No. 8 Florida State (2-0) at No. 17 Boston College (2-0) – 7:45 p.m., ESPN

Welcome Boston College to the Atlantic Coast Conference: conference of higher television ratings, better team endorsements and warm weather at nearly all away games. Welcome Boston College to the ACC: conference of seven top-25 teams, Michael Vick’s little brother and of course, harder matchups than the Big East ever had to offer. The Eagles open up their conference schedule, they are certainly in for a rude awakening in their inaugural season as ACC doormats. Impressive wins against weak opponents BYU and Army mean nothing when Boston College hosts Florida State. The Seminoles – still agitated at the NCAA trying to strip them of their mascot – won a low-scoring grudge match against Miami in week one and look to continue their domination of the ACC. Look for Florida State quarterback Drew Weatherford to unload on a shabby Boston College secondary.

Florida State 41, Boston College 13

No.13 Miami (0-1) at No. 20 Clemson (2-0) – 8 p.m.

If you don’t believe in the Clemson Tigers, you better start believing. After kicker Jad Dean put away Texas A&M in week one with six field goals, including a 42-yarder with two seconds left for the 25-24 win, the Tigers made another fourth-quarter comeback the next week, this time led by quarterback Charlie Whitehurst. Whitehurst performed flawlessly, completing 18 of his 22 passes for two touchdowns to stun Maryland. Running back Reggie Merriweather complemented Whitehurst’s passing game well, rushing for two touchdowns, including the game winner. But the Tigers have yet to face a defense like Miami’s. The Hurricanes are coming off a heartbreaking loss to in-state rival Florida State although they gave up just 10 points. The big question is quarterback Kyle Wright – the sophomore threw two interceptions and was sacked nine times against the Seminoles in his new role as starter. If Wright continues to play like a backup, the Hurricanes will start their season 0-2 for the first time in recent memory.

Clemson 24, Miami 21

No. 1 Southern Cal (1-0) vs. Arkansas (1-1) – 10:15 p.m.

With the top-two Heisman Trophy candidates and a record-tying 21 straight weeks atop the Associated Press poll, it is hard to believe Southern Cal will drop a game to anyone this year. They have reigning Heisman winner Matt Leinart at quarterback and the nation’s most electrifying player in running back Reggie Bush. Last year, Bush averaged over 10 yards per touch. This team has NFL caliber talent at every position, sometimes going two or three deep. Arkansas will be scored on every way possible – on the ground, in the air and on special teams – because the Trojans are just that good. And after dropping one at home to lowly Vanderbilt last week, the Razorbacks will not have nearly enough confidence to come into Trojan territory and hang with Leinart and company. The Razorbacks have found Matt Jones’s replacement in quarterback Robert Johnson and have one of the SEC’s best running backs in De’Arrius Howard, but don’t count on them to put up enough points to keep pace with the best team college football has seen in years.

Southern Cal 45, Arkansas 14

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