|College Football Round Table's hearts and prayers go out to Declan Sullivan, his family, his friends and his fellow students.|
By MIKE DAROZA
Here are three things you just might see during your college football Saturday today.
A Somber South Bend
Look for football to take a heartbreaking backseat when Tulsa visits Notre Dame today, following the tragic death of Fighting Irish student Declan Sullivan.
The 20-year old junior was videotaping the team during practice when the hydraulic scissor lift he was elevated in toppled to the ground during unusually windy conditions.
|Notre Dame student Declan Sullivan died videotaping football practice on Wednesday.|
Off the field, investigators continue to look into the accident, and the traditional Friday pep rally - a staple at Notre Dame for decades - was cancelled.
On the field, the normally unblemished gold Fighting Irish helmets will don a special decal in honor of Sullivan, and today's game is being dedicated to his memory.
Something Strange in Jacksonville
For whatever reason, ever since Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer joined the SEC in 2005, something weird has taken place in the annual Florida-Georgia football classic, a game appropriately played on or near Halloween.
Coming off a bye week in '05, the Gators - struggling offensively to forge an identity (sound familiar?) - took the field with never before seen NIKE uniform tops that sported a single orange sleeve with a lightning-bolt tribal pattern.
Just how much the switch up in apparel had anything to do with it is not known, but Florida certainly put together enough points to beat Georgia.
Not to be outdone, Georgia Bulldogs coach Mark Richt has since tried just about everything when it comes to playing the Gators on or near All Hallows Eve.
In the 2007 meeting, following Georgia's first touchdown, the entire team stormed the field - in what has been dubbed the "Gator Stomp" - for one of the most unusual end zone celebrations in college football history.
Richt told his players that if they didn't receive an unsportsmanlike penalty after the scored their first TD, they would be doing a lot of running the next week.
He later admitted that he didn't intend for the whole team to participate, but the outrageous act did seem to spark the Bulldogs to their first win over Florida since 2004, and only their second win over the Gators since 1997.
The next year, with his team leading 47-7, Meyer - in what many think was a rebuttal to the "Gator Stomp" - called two timeouts within the final minute of the contest to let the 40-point beating marinate a little.
Last year, Richt surprised his team just minutes before they took the field by issuing a full compliment of black helmets in place of the Bulldogs' traditional red helmets.
The plan was all trick and no treat for Georgia, as Florida throttled the Bulldogs once again.
However, the strange happenings didn't end there.
On the next day, thanks to video replays, it was discovered that Gators linebacker Brandon Spikes had gouged at Bulldogs runningback Washaun Ealy's eyes during a scrum on one of the plays.
Big Day for Shoelace and Rich Rod
One has fallen out of Heisman grace and the other could be falling back onto the hotseat.
Look for both Michigan QB Denard "Shoelace" Robinson and Wolverines head coach Rich Rodriguez to have important days when they visit Happy Valley for their game at Penn State.
With a win today, Rodriguez and Michigan will not only end a two-game skid, but they would also become bowl eligible for the first time since Rich Rod arrived in 2007.
A loss would certainly jack up the thermostat on Rodriguez's backside with Big Blue fans following back-to-back 5-7 campaigns with him at the controls.
Robinson, who after the first three weeks of the season was most everyone's Heisman favorite, but has since been hampered by untimely interceptions, nagging injuries, two losses and the play of Auburn's Cam Newton in his bid for the famous Stiff-Armed hardware.
However, Penn State's rush defense may be just what the doctor ordered to get Robinson and Rodriguez back on track.
The Wolverines are seventh in the country in rushing, led by Robinson, who is averaging 156.6 yards per game - good for second in the nation individually.
Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions D isn't even in the Top-50 in rush defense, giving up an average 143.8 yards per game on the ground.