College Football: Today’s preview

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 23, 2011

Associated Press
Todayís college football preeviews …
ATLANTA ó No. 25 Georgia Tech (3-0) is off to a stunning start with its throwback scheme, leading the nation in scoring (nearly 60 points a game) along with rushing yards and total yards.
The Tar Heels (3-0, 1-0 ACC) are a program in transition, facing serious NCA allegations and playing this season with an interim coach after dumping Butch Davis a week before the start of preseason practice. Still, they look much better on defense than any of the opponents Georgia Tech has faced so far.
“It’s been a straight dogfight the last two years trying to score points on them,” Johnson said.
North Carolina hasn’t won at Bobby Dodd Stadium since 1997, but the Tar Heels are rallying around interim coach Everett Withers, who took over a scandal-ridden program from Davis in late July with no guarantee of being around beyond this season.
Already, the Tar Heels are 3-0 for just the second time in the last 14 years and off to their first winning start in conference play in more than a decade.
This will be their first road test of the season.
“We’re looking forward to it,” coach Everett Withers insisted. “We’re looking forward to going on the road and seeing what kind of team we are.”
Sophomore quarterback Bryn Renner is completing more than 81 percent of his passes, but he’s also been picked off four times.
Florida State at Clemson
It’s the first time since 1997 that a Florida State-Clemson game at Death Valley won’t involve a Bowden as coach since Bobby Bowden retired following the 2009 season. He and Tommy faced each other in the father-son “Bowden Bowl” matchup from 1999-2007. …. Florida State hasn’t won at Clemson since 2001, dropping its past four meetings at Memorial Stadium. … The Tigers are trying for their first 4-0 start since 2000 when they opened with eight straight victories.
Tulane at Duke
DURHAM ó Neither Tulane nor Duke is all that used to success lately. One of them will leave Saturday’s game with a rare prize ó a winning streak.
The Blue Devils (1-2) look to win two in a row for the first time since the middle of last season when they take on a Green Wave team that is chasing its first winning streak in two years.
Last week’s victory at Boston College means “a small weight is off of our shoulders,” Duke defensive end Kenny Anunike said.
“But we’re not where we need to be,” he added. “Yes, it was a win. Yes, we’re ecstatic, we’re happy, but we’re playing one-week seasons right now, so we need to show we can do this consistently.”
So. Miss at Virginia
The first two weeks, most of the Cavalier fans were talking about redshirt freshman K.P. Parks. going into todayís game at home against Southern Miss, the talk is about receiver Kris Byrd.
He leads the team with 13 catches through three games, and is 10th on the school’s career list with 109. His 162 receiving yards give him 1,439, good for 11th on the school’s list.
Parks has done a good job for the Cavs (2-1). The former West Rowan star is fourth in the ACC in rushing (83 yards per game) and his five touchdowns is near the top of the ACC.
GREENVILLE ó East Carolina finally gets to play a team that isn’t in the Top 25. In fact, the Pirates’ next opponent is pretty far from it.
Coach Ruffin McNeill’s team steps back from its brutal non-league schedule today and figures to have an easier time in its Conference USA opener against a winless UAB team that has been outscored 88-10 in two games. The Pirates’ two losses have come to No. 12 South Carolina and No. 13 Virginia Tech.
The Pirates (0-2) have had two weeks to work out the kinks after their usually productive offense managed just 10 points and 112 total yards ó including minus-15 on the ground ó in the loss to the Hokies. Last season, East Carolina averaged 437 yards ó including 318 through the air.
TOP 25
No. 2 LSU at No. 16 WVU
West Virginia plays its first top 5 opponent at home in two years and a win would push the Mountaineers closer to their first top 10 appearance since 2008. That would be a pleasant surprise under first-year coach Dana Holgorsen, whose fast-paced spread offense was expected to have a learning curve. LSU can earn its third win against a ranked opponent this season and take momentum into the SEC portion of its schedule.
Alabama (3-0) vs. Arkansas
The mad scramble that is the SEC West leaves little margin for error, creating high stakes in the league opener for both expected contenders. Beating Alabama would be a big statement for an Arkansas program that has been on the rise under coach Bobby Petrino but still has only one SEC West title.