UF on Schedule for Success

Two of Florida's SEC East rivals recently teamed up to do them a favor for the upcoming football season, even if they didn't realize they were at the time.

ESPN was leaning on Kentucky to agree to move their week one game against Louisville to Labor Day evening as the featured primetime game that FSU has typically played in against Miami and Clemson for the last few years. Wildcats coach Rich Brooks refused to go along with the move, perhaps because of the way FSU has struggled late into the game in their "short week" battles five days later against teams like Troy and UAB. Even though Norfolk State was the next opponent on Kentucky's schedule, Brooks would not budge.

With Kentucky unwilling to play on Monday night, ESPN found another team willing to trade additional exposure for inconvenience. Tennessee will open their season on the road against UCLA in the primetime showcase. The Vols will pay a substantial price for their big night, though, as they had to move their originally scheduled opener with UAB in Knoxville to September 13. That means Florida will have a bye week to prepare for Tennessee while UT has to play a game. They'll also debut a new offense and an inexperienced quarterback in a challenging situation, as UCLA fans should be excited for the opening of the Rick Neuheisel era.

Georgia illustrated the benefits of having two weeks to get ready last season, as they notched the only win any of UF's big three rivals have against Urban Meyer in his three years on the job. This year Georgia will have the exact opposite situation, as they have to travel to Baton Rouge for a matchup with LSU the week prior to the teams getting together in Jacksonville. The only SEC East opponent with an extra week to prepare for Florida this year is Vanderbilt. Arkansas and LSU also have byes prior to their games against the Gators. For Tennessee to have voluntarily given that advantage away just for a featured TV game is stunning.


LSU continues to cling to potential star quarterback Ryan Perrilloux despite a seemingly never ending litany of embarrassments. The gifted redshirt junior has been suspended three times, but was brought back last week. It was expected that he would participate in LSU's remaining practices and likely their spring game as well. Instead, he's been suspended for the rest of spring after yet another incident at an area restaurant last Friday. Media reports state Perrilloux showed up at a restaurant half an hour after closing time demanding to be served drinks, then showered the staff with curses and racial slurs when he was refused.

The quarterback left prior to police arriving. LSU coach Les Miles reportedly called the restaurant to apologize the next day, but he's got to decide how many more times he's willing to do that for a talented young man who clearly does not appreciate the multiple chances he's been given.


Perrilloux isn't the only highly touted quarterback to continuously find trouble, and he's at least started two games. Stephen Garcia, a redshirt freshman out of Tampa who was supposed to be Steve Spurrier's next great quarterback, can't even make it to two practices. He missed all of his first spring after two incidents, and now Garcia has been suspended through August 15 by South Carolina. Garcia's third brush with the law featured him being ticketed for being a minor in possession of alcohol on the school's campus. He waited a whole six hours before his fourth brush with the police, as he discharged a fire extinguisher in his dorm later the same evening.

The Gamecocks open their season August 28 against N.C. State, meaning there's almost no realistic chance for Garcia to be ready in time for the season opener. Redshirt sophomore Chris Smelley will likely be the starter when the year begins. Four years into Spurrier's South Carolina tenure, he still seems to be struggling to change the team's culture of failure.

The Heath Cline Show airs daily from 11-1 on Gainesville's Star 99.5 FM

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