Top 25 Preview Capsules

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Top 25 Preview Capsules

Line: Alabama by 37½.

Series Record: First meeting.

What’s at Stake

For Alabama, not much beyond avoiding injuries and a poor showing. San Jose State would love to give new coach Mike MacIntyre a strong debut — and maybe even a monumental upset — after going 2-10 last season.

Key Matchup

Alabama’s defense against an offense that managed just 13.8 points and 284 yards per game last season. The Tide have nine new defensive starters, so the Spartans might be a good way to get started.

Players to Watch

San Jose State: QB Jordan La Secla passed for 1,926 yards last season and goes against a young secondary.

Alabama: RB Trent Richardson fills in for injured Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram. Not much drop-off here, though. He ran for 751 yards and had two 100-yard games as a freshman.

Facts & Figures

Alabama is preseason No. 1 for the first time since 1978. The Tide are coming off two straight perfect regular seasons and the 2009 national title. … This is the debut of newly expanded Bryant-Denny Stadium, which now seats 101,821. … It is the second time San Jose State has faced a top-ranked opponent. The Spartans opened with a 49-13 loss at then-No. 1 Nebraska in 2000. San Jose State hasn’t beaten a ranked team since topping No. 9 TCU and LaDainian Tomlinson in 2000, and it hasn’t managed it on the road since 1980 against No. 9 Baylor.

No. 4 Florida vs. Miami (Ohio), Noon (ESPN)

Line: Florida by 35.

Series Record: Miami leads 1-0.

Last Meeting: Dec. 22, 1973, Miami 16-7.

What’s at Stake

After losing several starters and arguably the top playmaker in school history (Tim Tebow), the Gators have plenty of uncertainty heading into their opener. Is QB John Brantley ready to emerge from Tebow’s shadow? Can Florida’s revamped defense overcome growing pains? How will coach Urban Meyer manage his health? Who are the team’s new playmakers? They should get a glimpse against overmatched Miami, which finished 1-11 in 2009.

Key Matchup

Miami’s defense vs. Chris Rainey. Rainey is one of Florida’s most explosive players, and the Gators are expected to use him at running back, at receiver and on kick returns. The junior from Lakeland, Fla., has averaged 7.1 yards a carry and 15.2 yards a reception.

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