Created on Friday, 18 September 2009 Written by MATT HAMMOND
The train is coming and Lane Kiffin better get off the tracks.
Kiffin, the brash rookie football coach at the University of Tennessee, faces a buzz saw Saturday when his team visits defending national champion Florida.
Not only are the Gators the most talented team in the country, but they also have some extra motivation this week after Kiffin called out the Gators multiple times during the off-season.
When Kiffin took the job at Tennessee, he said at his first press conference that he was looking forward to “singing Rocky Top all night long after we beat Florida next year.”
If that wasn’t enough, Kiffin accused Florida coach Urban Meyer of cheating on national signing day in February. Kiffin implied that Meyer broke an NCAA recruiting rule by calling a recruit when he was on Tennessee’s campus for a visit.
However, Kiffin was left with egg on his face after he was informed there is no such rule saying a coach can’t call a recruit while he is on another campus.
Kiffin has brushed off his shots at Florida by calling them an attempt to rally his own fan base. I’m sure Meyer and the Gators are not buying that, though.
When Florida whipped Ohio State in the national championship game in 2007, Meyer said afterward that he used the media’s “disrespect” of his team as motivation to beat OSU. Meyer is big on finding motivational tools to keep his team hungry. He won’t have to do much looking this week.
Kiffin already provided a boatload of ammunition for the Gators, and he’s going to have to pay for it Saturday in a game that looks like it will be a beatdown of epic proportions.
Now on to this week’s football picks:
Bellefontaine at Ben Logan
Although Bellefontaine is certainly capable of throwing the football with success, the Chiefs’ bread and butter this season has been their running game.
A year ago, Benjamin Logan was unable to slow down Bellefontaine’s power running attack in a 21-0 Bellefontaine win. I expect tonight’s game to follow a similar theme. The Chiefs will be focused on establishing the run and a young Ben Logan defense will have a tough time stopping it. Bellefontaine 28, Ben Logan 6.
WL-Salem at Triad
West Liberty-Salem dominated its three non-league opponents. As Ohio Heritage Conference play begins tonight, the Tigers face a Triad team that remains a work in progress.
The Tigers have the edge on both sides of the ball tonight. WL-Salem should be able to move the ball without much problem and the Tigers’ stout defense will make it tough on Triad’s offense. WL-Salem 27, Triad 13.
Tippecanoe at Indian Lake
After losing to Graham 28-3 in its opener, Tippecanoe has outscored its opponents 49-7 over the last two weeks.
The Red Devils (2-1) are coming off a 21-7 win over a good Milton-Union team. While Tippecanoe seems to be finding its stride, the Lakers are still searching for an identity. Tippecanoe 28, Indian Lake 13.
Fairbanks at Riverside
Fairbanks is riding a wave of momentum after a 28-10 win over Triad last week. The Panthers feature an outstanding ground attack led by Tyler Smith, who rushed for 245 yards and two TDs against the Cardinals.
Triad was unable to contain the Panthers’ running game and Riverside will also have its hands full tonight. Fairbanks 20, Riverside 14.
Ridgemont at USV
The Gophers have been outscored 106-19 in the early going this season. It doesn’t appear that things will be much better tonight. USV 26, Ridgemont 7.
Around the horn
The Buckeyes bounce back against Toledo, 35-14 ... Virginia Tech stops Nebraska, 24-10 ... Notre Dame stings Michigan State, 28-24 ... The Packers pounce on the Bengals, 21-7 ... The Broncos rough up the Browns, 28-10.