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Pondering the questions about college football’s upcoming games

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Ten questions for the upcoming college weekend:

Can Florida slow down Kentucky’s passing game?

At this point, who knows? The Gators certainly didn’t slow down East Carolina’s, did they? The Pirates were driving toward a tying touchdown when quarterback Shane Carden simply dropped the ball. Still, Carden threw 66 times and amassed 467 yards in the loss.

Now comes Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles, who lit up Florida last year with 369 yards passing and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Garrett Johnson gained 153 of the yards.

Much of the Gators’ strength is cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, who missed last week’s game. But look for Kentucky coach Mark Stoops to throw early and often.

Florida threw the ball well last season, too. DeMarcus Robinson caught 216 yards worth of passes.

Can Everett Golson please start quicker?

In two first halves, Golson hasn’t been what FSU needs him to be. In fact, he completed only one pass against USF. But Golson has been very good in his second halves.

He’ll have to be against Boston College, which has seven starters back from a year ago. Oh, you can’t tell much about the Eagles from their first two wins, but Boston College has played FSU close for the past two years. Golson needs to be sharp early.

Is Dalvin Cook the best player in America?

After two games, Cook has an argument. He missed most of camp, but he’s rolled for 422 yards in two games. Boston College, with a better front four than the Seminoles have faced, will be more of a challenge.

Running backs are at a disadvantage to quarterbacks when it comes to winning the Heisman, but already, Cook is drawing comparisons to former FSU great Warrick Dunn.

Will Jim Elwain be a pussycat?

McElwain says he regrets his sideline tirade against running back Kelvin Taylor, but if the Kentucky game gets testy, might we see another outburst? Guys with tempers have a hard time backing off, and the inconsistent play of quarterbacks Will Grier and Treon Harris is sure to test a guy’s blood pressure.

For the Gators, who now play eight straight SEC opponents, this one is vital.

Does USF have the athletes to hang with Maryland?

The Bulls played a solid first half in their loss to FSU. Caleb Rowe returns to lead the Terps (1-1), who should go to the air often. USF hopes to ride running back Milton Mack for its chances of an upset over Maryland, which had a decent debut season in the Big 10. USF has had a problem offensively under Willie Taggart, however, failing to gain 300 yards in 17 of 26 games.

Was Miami really just looking ahead last week?

There for a while, the Hurricanes found themselves in a game against FAU, and their vaunted defense hasn’t played as well as expected. Players said it was hard to concentrate on the Owls when Nebraska – an opponent in two national championship games – was on the horizon. This time, running back Terrell Newby leads the Cornhuskers.

Will FAU quarterback Jaquez Johnson be able to play?

Johnson, a three-year starter, injured his ankle early in the game against Florida. Backup quarterback Jason Driskel played well, but Buffalo is a testier opponent than you might think. Johnson is crucial to FAU’s ability to move the ball.

Will FSU cornerback Jalen Ramsey ever give up a completion?

Opponents don’t throw much toward Ramsey, but he has four pass breakups this year. That’s tied for the sixth-most nationally.

Is Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya ready for Nebraska?

Hurricane quarterbacks have played well against the Cornhuskers when it mattered. In the 31-30 upset in the 1984 Orange Bowl, Bernie Kosar threw for 300 yards. In the 2002 Rose Bowl, Ken Dorsey threw for 362 and seven scores. Even in the 1995 Orange Bowl, in which Nebraska held off the ‘Canes for a national title, Frank Costa threw for 248.

Now comes Kaaya, who has had the look of the next great Miami quarterback. We’ll see. BYU had some success through the air against Nebraska.

Does UCF need an opponent such as Furman, or what?

The Knights are 0-2, the running game has yet to emerge, and they’ve lost their quarterback Justin Holman to injury. Why, it’s a perfect time for the Knights – winners of 31 games the last three seasons – to get it rolling. Freshman quarterback Bo Schneider was one of five true freshmen to play last week.

UCF also started 0-2 last year and responded with a nice season.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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