By MIKE DAROZA
Here are three things you just might see during your college football Saturday today.
|More than just an SEC East title on the line for Florida and South Carolina tonight.|
Up in Flames?
There are plenty of teams playing this week who, if they don't come out victorious, could bear a crushing psychological blow that might just linger for the rest of the season.
You don't have to look any further than the SEC East showdown in Gainesville tonight to find two of those teams.
On the one hand, you have a South Carolina team that, despite coming off an embarrassing home loss to Arkansas last Saturday, can capture their first SEC East title - and only their second-ever football championship of any kind since 1969 (ACC) - with a win over the Florida Gators in the Swamp.
However, a loss might do more than just eliminate the Gamecocks from a conference title, it might just spell the beginning of the end for their head coach Steve Spurrier in two ways.
First, a loss could be the continuance of a disturbing trend for Spurrier's teams at South Carolina.
In 2007, the Gamecocks jumped out to a 6-1 record and climbed into the Top-10 before dropping their final five games to finish 6-6.
In 2008, South Carolina was 7-3 before losing their final three games to end up 7-6.
Last year was more of the same, as the Gamecocks went from 6-2 to 7-6 by losing four of their final five games.
This year could go either way.
After their Earth-shattering win over Alabama and once again cracking the Top-10, South Carolina has gone 2-2, with those two wins coming against Vanderbilt and Tennessee (combined record 5-13).
Lose tonight and the Gamecock's psyche could be in trouble as they finish up against a solid team in Troy and a finale against arch-rival Clemson.
Plus, he may not look it, but Spurrier is 65 years old, and for a guy who invented the "Fun & Gun," he hasn't looked like he's had much fun over the past few years.
Then again, Florida might be just as emotionally fragile.
The Gators have seemed to have found some offensive spark in their last two wins, which followed the first three-game losing streak of head coach Urban Meyer's career.
However, those wins came against Georgia and Vanderbilt, who have a combined 7-12 record.
A win salvages Florida's season and builds heavy momentum on their way to Atlanta.
With a loss, the Gators' only true remaining goal (winning the East) this year vanishes, and with their final two games coming against the No.5 team in FCS (Appalachian State) and at arch-rival Florida State, it suddenly looks anything but automatic.
|Who could blame Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly for having a headache?|
A Controlled Burn?
Continuing with the spontaneous combustion theme, today's Utah at Notre Dame game has an interesting mental plot.
Will No.14 Utah, who pretty much sealed its BCS fate by getting hammered at home by No.3 TCU last week, come into South Bend angry or apathetic?
Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly is hoping for the latter.
Kelly's team has had a week off to prepare for the Utes, but it may not matter as beaten up as Notre Dame is right now, both literally and figuratively.
The Irish are without the services of both starting quarterback Dayne Crist, starting tailback Armando Allen, Jr. and one of the best tight ends in the country in Kyle Rudolph, not to mention the heartbreaking emotional cloud still lingering from the tragic death of 20-year old team videographer Declan Sullivan just three weeks ago.
At 4-5, Notre Dame - who fired Charlie Weis, who went 6-6 last season - will have to win two of their final three (Utah, Army and USC) just to equal that mark.
|Texas is hoping to NOT make history to when it hosts Oklahoma State tonight.|
In 1956, the cost of a gallon of gas was just 22 cents.
Elvis Presley hit the music charts for the very first time with Heartbreak Hotel.
The first black and white portable television hit the market.
And, it was also the last time the Texas Longhorns lost four home games in a row.
Indeed, it just might be a historic day in Austen, as the spiralling Longhorns get a visit from No.10 Oklahoma State (8-1).
After playing in the BCS Championship game just last season, Texas (4-5) has not only lost five out of their last six games, they've also lost an inexcusable three straight home games to some of the most unlikeliest of opponents (UCLA, Iowa State and Baylor).
On paper, it looks like the Longhorns have two chances of winning today - slim and none.Texas is only scoring an average of 22 points per game (good for 91st in the nation), while the Cowboys come into Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium today averaging better than 46 points per game (good for third best in the country).