Throughout the college football season, members of the Florida Citrus Sports Team Selection Committee are out on the road to meet with fans of our partner schools (including new Big 12 partners) to spread the word about the Russell Athletic Bowl’s new matchup and our brand-new home field opening for the 2014 bowl season.
Here are five of the notable games across our partner conferences where we will be in attendance this weekend:
Auburn goes on the road for the first time this season to face its toughest opponent so far, Kanas State. The Tiger offense has scored a combined 109 points through its first two games, while its defense has held opposing teams to 34 total points. Auburn has averaged 330 rushing yards against its first two opponents but may need to rely on the arm of quarterback Nick Marshall to move down the field in week four as the Wildcat defense has allowed a mere 87 average yards per game on the ground but nearly 220 yards through the air. Kansas State’s offense hung 57 points on SF Austin in week one and escaped a near-loss in week two against conference opponent Iowa State. Despite taking an early lead in the first quarter, the Wildcats did not lead again until inside the last two minutes of the fourth and were able to come away with a hard-fought win. Both teams are 2-0 in overall play and both have won their first SEC and Big 12 in-conference games, respectively. The last time these schools met was to kick off the 2007 season. With home field advantage on its side, Auburn defeated Kansas State 23-13.
Oklahoma has been a fixture in early conversation about the inaugural College Football Playoff following a 10-2 season in 2013 (capped off by an upset win against Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl) and a 3-0 start to 2014. Following a win over SEC team Tennessee in week three, the Sooners travel to Milan Puskar Stadium to take on their first conference opponent, West Virginia. Despite starting the season with a loss to Alabama, the Mountaineers bounced back and won their last two games – the defense shut out Towson University in week two. In week three West Virginia traveled to Maryland and defeated the Terps by just three points. Now, with home field advantage, the Mountaineers prepare to face the Sooners and with an upset, could end Oklahoma’s hopes for a playoff spot. The Sooners and Mountaineers last played in 2013 – playing on its home field, Oklahoma won 16-7.
Virginia Tech was stunned in week three when it was defeated by East Carolina 28-21 coming just one week after the Hokies upset Ohio State. East Carolina led the nearly the entire game as the Hokie defense allowed three touchdowns in the first quarter alone. Virginia Tech tied the score at 21 in the fourth, but the Pirates’ touchdown with 16 seconds remaining sealed the Hokies’ fate. Hoping to get its season back on track, Virginia Tech remains home in week four to face its first ACC opponent Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets enter conference play with a 3-0 record and a bye following this week’s game. When Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech met last season, the Hokies came away with the win outscoring the Yellow Jackets by a touchdown. The overall record favors Virginia Tech 8-3.
Clemson returns to the field after a week three bye to face reigning national champion Florida State at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla. Through week three, the Tigers have split the season 1-1 after losing to Georgia in its opening game and defeating South Carolina State in week two. Florida State will be without its Heisman-winning quarterback Jameis Winston for the first half of the game due to a suspension stemming from an incident off the field earlier in the week. Sophomore Shaun McGuire, who has taken snaps in one game this season, will stand in for Winston. The Seminoles are 2-0 and also are rested from a bye in week three. This will be the first ACC meeting for both teams this season. When Clemson hosted Florida State in 2013, the Seminoles had a decisive 51-14 win over the Tigers, handing them their first loss of that season.
Though Iowa was able to sneak by with close wins in its first two games of the season, it could not hold off its biggest rival Iowa State in week three, suffering its first loss of the season decided by a last minute field goal. Hoping to redeem the loss, the Hawkeyes travel to Pittsburgh to take on Pitt in their last game before Big Ten conference play kicks off in week five. The Panthers started the season strong with a shutout win over Delaware in week one in which the offense scored 62 points – 42 of them in the first half. The following two weeks were not as easily won (Pitt trailed Florida International the entire first half in week three) but the Panthers are 3-0 with a conference win against Boston College. The last time these schools met was in 2011 when Iowa hosted the Panthers at Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes defeated Pitt to earn their second win in five meetings overall.