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Big Ten & SEC Week Three Preview

Early on in the season, members of the Florida Citrus Sports Team Selection Committee are out on the road to meet with fans of our partner schools to spread the word about our brand-new home field opening for the 2014 bowl season.

This weekend, we’ll be at six notable games featuring teams from our partner conferences*:

Georgia (1-0, 0-0 SEC) will open their conference schedule on the road against South Carolina (1-1, 0-1 SEC) this weekend. The Bulldogs are coming off of a bye week following their season-opening victory against Clemson, 45-21. Georgia is 16-4 coming off of a bye week during head coach Mark Richt’s tenure. After dropping their opener against Texas A&M, the Gamecocks earned their first victory of the season last week against East Carolina, 33-23. Georgia leads the all-time series 47-17-2 including last year’s 41-30 victory, but the Gamecocks hold a 5-3 edge when both teams enter the game ranked, including a 4-0 mark in Columbia.

Kentucky (2-0, 0-0 SEC) visits “The Swamp” to battle Florida (1-0, 0-0 SEC) in the conference opener for both squads. The Wildcats have opened their season with back-to-back wins for the first time since 2011 with their most recent win coming last week at home against Ohio, 20-3. After their scheduled season opener against Idaho was rained out, the Gators shutout the Eastern Michigan Eagles 65-0 for their first win of the season in week two. The 65 points were the most the Gators have scored since their 70-19 victory against The Citadel on Nov. 22, 2008 and their most against an FBS opponent since they beat San Jose State 65-3 on August 30, 2003. The Gators lead the series 47-17 including victories in the last 27 matchups.

Rutgers (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) hosts Penn State (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) for a primetime clash in their inaugural Big Ten conference game. After returning from the west coast with a 41-38 win over Washington State to start the season, the Scarlet Knights knocked off Howard in their home opener last weekend, 38-25. The Nittany Lions are coming off of a 21-3 win over Akron in their first game at home under head coach James Franklin. This will be Penn State’s first “domestic” road game this season; the Nittany Lions opened the season in Ireland with a 26-24 victory over UCF. The Nittany Lions are now eligible to play in the postseason for the first time since the 2011-12 season after the NCAA and Big Ten Conference lifted their postseason ban Monday afternoon. Penn State holds a 22-2 edge in the all-time series including all three games played at Rutgers. This will be the first game in the series played in Rutgers home stadium since 1955.

Notre Dame (2-0) faces in-state rival Purdue (1-1, 0-0 Big Ten) Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The Fighting Irish have gotten off to a quick start this season, outscoring their opponents 79-17 in two games (including a 31-0 shutout of Michigan in the final meeting of the series last week). This will be both teams’ first game away from their home stadium this season. The Boilermakers look to rebound from a slow start after narrowly defeating Western Michigan 43-34 before falling to Central Michigan last weekend, 38-17. Notre Dame leads the all-time series 57–26–2 including wins in the previous six meetings.

Maryland (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) welcomes West Virginia (1-1, 0-0 Big 12) as they return home looking to remain unbeaten on the season. The Terrapins escaped a potential upset on the road against South Florida last weekend winning 24-17 despite turning the ball over six times. After coming up short against Alabama in a neutral site opener, the Mountaineers took care of business against Towson, winning 54-0 leading into this week’s rivalry game. The Mountaineers lead the all-time series 26-22-2 but saw their seven-game win streak snapped last season when the Terps won 37-0, the largest win in the series for either team since their 54-7 victory over West Virginia in 1951.

Iowa State (0-2, 0-1 Big 12) visits Iowa City to battle Iowa (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) for the Cy-Hawk Trophy in the 62nd installment of the series. The Cyclones are looking for their first win following two losses to begin the season. After being upset by FCS powerhouse North Dakota State, the Cyclones fell short in their upset bid against a ranked Kansas State in week two, allowing 19 unanswered points to close out the game. The Hawkeyes enter the matchup coming off of two close victories over Northern Iowa and Ball State. Iowa trailed 13-3 with less than three minutes to play against Ball State but two Jake Rudock touchdown passes and a defensive stand in between allowed the Hawkeyes to complete the comeback and remain unbeaten on the year. Iowa holds a 40-21 edge over the Cyclones all-time including a 27-21 victory in Ames last year.  

* — In years when a Big Ten team is assigned to a non-semifinal Orange Bowl, we will replace our Big Ten selection with the first post-CFP selection from the ACC, inclusive of Notre Dame. We’re already on the road at ACC partner schools via our relationship for the Russell Athletic Bowl.

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