Prove It - Week 11 Football; Tests in the ACC and SEC

Florida State College Football

Prove it – Week 11

Florida State at Virginia Tech, Thursday, 7:30pm

PROVE IT THURSDAY NIGHT PERFORMER:  Which team will be better in prime time?

Virginia Tech is not having anything that resembles a typical Hokies team.  Virginia Tech has not won less than 10 games since 2003.  That streak will end this season.  However, including their game last Thursday against Miami, the Hokies are 11-3 on Thursday night football games.  This team obviously does not have as much talent as teams in recent years.  But that record cannot be ignored.  The Hokies seem to be accustomed to bright lights, and they do not seem to slink away when they are on national television.  They were embarrassed last week against Miami after a promising start.  Despite being overmatched in this Thursday’s game, Frank Beamer will not allow his team to roll over against a higher ranked team. 

Florida State is dominant in its own right when the lights come up at night.  They have a 6-1 record in night games just this season.  After their slip up against NC State, Florida State has won three straight games and scored at least 30 points in each.  They remain first in the conference in every major defensive category and currently lead the conference in scoring offense and total offense.  The Seminoles have lived up to their preseason hype.  Teams have had a hard time finding the end zone against them.  Against NC State quarterback EJ Manuel was held in check and could not muster up any big play ability.  When he free lances, he can get them out of jams.  He will be going against a renowned defensive coordinator in Bud Foster.  Manuel will likely be able to find holes in this defense (most other teams have).  It would not be surprising to see Tech throw some disguised coverages at him to confuse him and force a mistake or two.  These schools have a lot of history with fan bases that warrant multiple prime time games every season.  Despite Virginia Tech being down this year, both teams seem to love the spotlight of a night game.  If the Hokies, who are playing at home, can pull of the upset then they are truly a team built for Thursdays.


Georgia at Auburn, Saturday, 7pm

PROVE IT SEC EAST CONTENDER:  Can Georgia keep it going?

On paper this game looks like no contest.  What happened to the Auburn team from two years ago that went undefeated and won the national championship?  Coach Gene Chizik is starting to feel a little heat just a couple years removed from a historic season at Auburn.  They are now having a historically bad season.  They are at the bottom of the conference in total offense and sacks allowed.  In fact, they have the worst offensive output of any team in the entire country.  They are allowing defenders to reach their quarterback over 3.5 times per game.  Quarterback Kiehl Frazier can only do as much as his line and his receivers will allow him to.  Emory Blake, his leading wideout, is tied for 72nd in the country in terms of receiving yardage.  They cannot get anything going.

Meanwhile, Georgia is looking really solid these last few weeks and ready to make a run at the SEC East again.  They took it to Ole Miss last weekend after falling behind 10-0 early.  They rattled off 37 unanswered points and never looked back.  Aaron Murray has started playing like one of the best quarterbacks in the conference.  He threw for 384 yards and four touchdowns last Saturday without turning the ball over.  Their freshmen running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall look like they are going to create problems for defenses for years to come.  Collectively, they already have over 1,300 yards rushing. 

This game means a lot to Georgia.  Their last three games do not appear to be any sort of real test for the Bulldogs.  They do have the added pressure of having to win when there is something on the line.  Since they beat Florida two weeks ago, Georgia is in the driver’s seat to win the SEC East if they simply win out.  Everyone certainly expects that.  The Bulldogs have been known to keep it interesting though.  Kentucky kept it tight and only lost by five.  In order to beat a poor Tennessee team, Georgia had to win a shootout.  If Murray is off of his game, the Bulldogs suffer a great deal.  It does not help their cause that wide receiver Marlon Brown is finished for the year after a knee injury last week.  They were already without Michael Bennett, who was lost in week six due to injury.  That leaves Murray’s offensive weapons depleted.  If ever there were an opportunity for Auburn to churn out a victory, it would be now while the injury bug tries to derail Georgia’s season.  Ultimately, it looks like the Bulldogs have too much talent to let Auburn nip them.  But the mental aspect of having all of the pressure on you adds an element of uncertainty.  Mark Richt will try and keep his players’ heads clear.  It is all on the table for the Bulldogs, and it starts against the Tigers on Saturday.


Week 11 Football – What to Watch For