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ACC / SEC Challenge Weekend: Florida-Florida State and Wake Forest-Vanderbilt

It's rivalry weekend, and three SEC teams face longtime foes from the Athletically Challenged Conference ACC. Vanderbilt also faces off with Wake Forest in a football game that is played without anyone really knowing why. Earlier posts in this series can be found here and here.


We're not going to spend too much time rehashing the problems for Florida this year; we've covered them pretty extensively this year, to the point where most readers of the blog could probably recite them off the top of their head. However, look for this to be the last stand of the three-quarterback offense this year. If nothing else, the logjam is likely to be broken in practice next year -- which makes this an interesting potential audition for the contenders.

The Gators don't have to worry about Jermaine Thomas this year; he's out. But Chris Thompson and Ty Jones can be credible replacements; both have rushed for at least 95 yards three times this season, and Florida State will need them to play well. For all his Heisman hype, Christian Ponder hasn't exactly been a highlight machines this year. "CP7" has passed for more than 200 yards just twice. The passing game in Tallahassee is ranked in the middle of the ACC and the nation as a whole.

On defense, John Jordan Trey Reed Burton Brantley will need to watch out for Markus White and Brandon Jenkins. Jenkins has more sacks dating back to the beginning of the year, but White has been hotter in recent games, and either is dangerous enough to warrant keeping an eye on them. Greg Reid and Xavier Rhodes can be dangerous players in the secondary.


Because of the arc of history for both of these programs and particularly their trouble this year, it's hard to remember that they last met in 2008 as two bowl-bound teams. Vanderbilt was 6-5 and would eventually win the Music City Bowl against Boston College. Wake was also 6-5 and would head to the EagleBank Bowl, where it would defeat Navy.

Neither of these teams is going to a bowl game this year. On offense, here's a summation of what you should expect:


And actually, that's what you should expect on defense as well. But let's at least notice Vanderbilt's Sean Richardson, Chris Marve and Casey Hayward; and Wake's Hunter Haynes and Kyle Wilber.