Big Ten & SEC Week 3 Preview: Tennessee Visits Gainesville For Top 25 Battle Against Florida
In the third week of the college football season, members of the Florida Citrus Sports Team Selection Committee are making visits throughout Big Ten and SEC country, meeting with fans across both conferences in advance of the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day.
No. 23 Tennessee at No. 24 Florida – 3:30 p.m. on CBS
Tennessee (2-0, 0-0 SEC) hits the road to open SEC play against Florida (0-1, 0-0 SEC) Saturday afternoon, looking to earn back-to-back victories over their divisional foe for the first time since 2003-04. Last season in Knoxville, the Volunteers fell behind 21-0 in the second quarter before outgaining the Gators 336-102 in the second half and scoring five touchdowns to secure the 38-28 come-from-behind win. The win ended the Gators’ 11-game winning streak in the series.
Florida enters this season’s contest following an unexpected bye week after Hurricane Irma caused the cancellation of the Gators’ scheduled tune-up against Northern Colorado. Florida fell to Michigan in its season opener in Dallas, 33-17, but their defense tallied five sacks and two interceptions that were both returned for touchdowns.
The Gators have won 27 straight home openers and were a perfect 5-0 at home last season. Tennessee touts a 17-4 record in their last 21 games, trailing only Alabama, Clemson, and Oklahoma among Power 5 teams. However, Florida holds the lead in the all-time series 26-20, including a 13-5 mark in Gainesville.
No. 12 LSU at Mississippi State – 7:00 p.m. on ESPN
LSU (2-0, 0-0 SEC) and Mississippi State (2-0, 0-0 SEC) open up conference play with a primetime meeting in Starkville. The Tigers and Bulldogs both enter the game unbeaten following lopsided victories against non-conference opponents last weekend.
The Tigers handled Chattanooga at home earning their 48th consecutive non-conference home win, good for fifth-longest in FBS history. 2017 Citrus Bowl MVP Derrius Guice ran for 102 yards in the game to eclipse the 2,000-yard mark for his career. He became the quickest to accomplish the feat in LSU history, needing only 271 attempts to do so.
The Bulldogs took care of Louisiana Tech on the road last week, earning a 57-21 victory in Ruston that included an impressive 36-0 run after falling behind 9-0 early in the first. Mississippi State is led by quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, who is one of only three returning FBS players to rush for 1,000 yards and throw for 2,000 last season, joining Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson and South Florida’s Quinton Flowers.
The Tigers hold a comfy 73-34-3 lead in the all-time series, but each of the past three meetings has come down to the final two minutes, and all three were decided by five points or less, with LSU coming out on top in two of the three.
Kentucky at South Carolina– 7:30 p.m. on SEC Network
South Carolina (2-0, 1-0 SEC) hosts Kentucky (2-0, 0-0 SEC), looking for its first win over the Wildcats since 2013. The Gamecocks knocked off Missouri 31-13 on the road last week to move to 2-0 on the year, while Kentucky remained unbeaten with a 27-16 victory over Eastern Kentucky.
Will Muschamp has South Carolina going for its first 3-0 start since 2012, and will look to avenge his first loss to the Wildcats as a head coach last season. Muschamp was 4-0 against Kentucky while at Florida — which has won 30 straight games over Kentucky — but the Wildcats held Muschamp’s Gamecocks to 268 total yards and earned the 17-10 win in Lexington last season, the program’s third straight win over South Carolina.
That three-game run is Kentucky’s longest in series history, however South Carolina holds a 17-10-1 advantage over the Wildcats all-time, including an 8-4-1 split in Columbia.
Other Big Ten and SEC games being played this week:
Illinois (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) at No. 22 South Florida (2-0, 0-0 AAC) – 7:00 p.m. on ESPN (Friday)
Air Force (1-0, 0-0 Mountain West) at No. 7 Michigan (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) – 12:00 p.m. on BTN
Northern Illinois (1-1, 0-0 Mid-American) at Nebraska (1-1, 0-0 Big Ten) – 12:00 p.m. on FS1
Louisiana-Lafayette (1-1, 0-0 Sun Belt) at Texas A&M (1-1, 0-0 SEC) – 12:00 p.m. on SEC Network
No. 10 Wisconsin (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) at BYU (1-2) – 3:30 p.m. on ABC
Middle Tennessee (0-2, 0-0 USA) at Minnesota (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) – 3:30 p.m. on BTN
North Texas (1-1, 0-0 USA) at Iowa (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) – 3:30 p.m. on ESPN2
Morgan State (0-2, 0-0 Mid-Eastern Athletic) at Rutgers (0-2, 0-0 Big Ten) – 3:30 p.m. on BTN
Purdue (1-1, 0-0 Big Ten) at Missouri (1-1, 0-1 SEC) – 4:00 p.m. on SEC Network
Mercer (1-1, 0-1 Southern) at No. 15 Auburn (1-1, 0-0 SEC) – 4:00 p.m. on SEC Network
Army (2-0) at No. 8 Ohio State (1-1, 1-0 Big Ten) – 4:30 p.m. on FOX
Colorado State (2-1, 0-0 Mountain West) at No. 1 Alabama (2-0, 0-0 SEC) – 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2
Georgia State (0-1, 0-0 Sun Belt) at No. 5 Penn State (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) – 7:30 p.m. on BTN
Bowling Green (0-2, 0-0 Mid-American) at Northwestern (1-1, 0-0 Big Ten) – 7:30 p.m. on BTN
Samford (2-0, 0-0 Southern) at No. 13 Georgia (2-0, 0-0 SEC) – 7:30 p.m. on SEC Network
No. 18 Kansas State (2-0, 0-0 Big 12) at Vanderbilt (2-0, 0-0 SEC) – 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU
Ole Miss (2-0, 0-0 SEC) at California (2-0, 0-0 Pac-12) – 10:30 p.m. on ESPN
FIU (1-1, 0-0 USA) at Indiana (1-1, 0-1 Big Ten) – Canceled