This weekend’s slate of college football games isn’t for the casual fan. There are no matchups between ranked teams, but some underdogs are salivating at the chance to restore their reputation and spoil potential national championship campaigns.

Miami at No. 5 Florida
On the surface, this game seems unwinnable for the Hurricanes. Redshirt freshman Robert Marve is making his first career start under center — in a night game at the Swamp, no less. And on the other side of the ball, Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin is expected to play after recovering from off-season heel surgery. Even if the heel slows him down Saturday, his backup, freshman Jeff Demps, has eye-popping speed, too, running a 10.02 100-meter dash at this summer’s Olympic trials. And Miami’s defense, which gave up 37.6 points per game to ranked foes in 2007, still has Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow to shut down. Miami’s 52-7 drubbing of Charleston Southern last week was nice, but the first half against Florida will tell you everything you need to know about what direction the Hurricanes are headed. If the Gators race out to a 14-point lead, change the channel.

Prediction: Gators 37, Hurricanes 13

Stanford at No. 15 Arizona State
After last week’s win over Oregon State, Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh admitted his defense got away with missed assignments and mounting fatigue. That’s a terrifying omen as the Cardinal travel to Tempe, Ariz., to face senior quarterback and dark-horse Heisman contender Rudy Carpenter. But there’s still a glimmer of hope for Stanford, which proved its mental toughness in last year’s thrilling upset of Southern Cal. This season, Cardinal junior Toby Gerhart has already tallied a career-high 147 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Stanford needs him to convert short-yardage third downs to keep Carpenter and standout senior wide receiver Michael Jones off the field. But when the offense has the ball, keep an eye on the offensive line, which surrendered a school record 55 sacks last year. Since Stanford is outmatched in talent, it will have to hope that Arizona State is looking ahead to its Sept. 20 date with No. 2 Georgia. But that’s a dangerous assumption.

Prediction: Sun Devils 41, Cardinal 20

Georgia Tech at Boston College
Georgia Tech’s new triple-option attack looked impressive last Saturday, racking up 484 yards against Jacksonville State in a 41-14 rout. But after five years of coaching at Georgia Southern, Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson already knew Division I FCS opponents can’t stop his quirky running game. Georgia Tech’s quest to prove an offense that went out of vogue 15 years ago can work in a major BCS conference will face a more daunting challenge against reigning ACC Atlantic Division Champion Boston College this weekend. The Eagles defense forced three turnovers and allowed just 260 yards in a 21-0 victory over Kent State last week. Boston College avoided turnovers and penalties as it churned out 230 yards on the ground against the Golden Flashes, but fifth-year senior quarterback Chris Crane’s 106 passing yards won’t make anyone forget last year’s starter, Matt Ryan, who went third overall in the NFL Draft. Crane will have to show some playmaking ability, as the Yellow Jackets will likely pitch, spin and feign their way onto the scoreboard early and often. Get used to slotbacks, wingbacks and the inside veer — the Ramblin’ Wreck’s flexbone is here to stay.

Prediction: Yellow Jackets 28, Eagles 24.

Cincinnati at Oklahoma
Two words can describe Oklahoma’s 57-2 slaughter of Chattanooga: Complete domination. Sam Bradford led the offense to 50 points on 343 yards — and that was just the first half. The Sooners pulled their starters early in the third quarter but still held the Mocs to just 36 total yards and one first down. Things will be considerably more difficult when Cincinnati rolls into Norman Saturday. The Bearcats took care of business with a rout of their own last weekend against Eastern Kentucky. Quarterback Dustin Grutza threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns before, like Bradford, hitting the showers during the third quarter. If Cincinnati hopes to pull off the upset, they’ll have to follow West Virginia’s blueprint from last January’s Fiesta Bowl: spread the field and gash the defense with a speedy running game. The Sooners’ dreams of Miami in January stay alive, but the starters won’t be leaving early.

Prediction: Sooners 37, Bearcats 24.

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