Jaheim Bell #6 of the Florida State Seminoles runs in a 4-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter against the LSU Tigers at Camping World Stadium on September 03, 2023 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

The Florida Gators have a huge test coming up on Saturday as we preview week 3 in college football for all the Power 5 Florida teams.  The Gators, Canes, Noles and Knights are all in action beginning on Thursday night.

Week 3 Preview Begins with Bethune-Cookman at #22 Miami Hurricanes 7:30pm on ACC-Network

The now nationally ranked Canes won’t have a letdown on Thursday night.  Coming off a huge win at home last week against Texas A/M I don’t expect the Canes are going to let up against an FCS opponent that they have dominated over the years.  The key here is to stay healthy.  I imagine you will see many 2nd, 3rd and 4th stringers playing most of this contest.  The schedule gets harder the following week for the Canes as they will travel to Temple.

(11) Tennessee at Florida, 7 ET on ESPN and ESPN-SWFL

The Vols and Gators have met every year since 1990 … and unlike the two aforementioned series will meet again next year. Tennessee won 38-33 last season for just its second win in its past 18 meetings against Florida and is looking for its first win in Gainesville since 2003 (nine straight losses).

Tennessee’s offense hasn’t been quite as explosive this season as it was with Hendon Hooker at quarterback last season. Only 5.3% of the Vols plays this season have gone for 20 or more yards (8 of 150); last season 8.5% of their plays went at least 20 yards (80 of 945) and their 19 50-yard plays were second-most in FBS behind TCU (22).

The Vols lead the SEC and are fourth in FBS with 257.5 rushing yards per game this season. Tennessee has gained yardage on 89.3% of its rush attempts this season, second-most in FBS, just behind Penn State (89.5%).

Florida scored a touchdown on each of its first seven possessions against McNeese, matching its longest streak to start a game in the past 20 seasons. After rushing for 13 yards against Utah the Gators had 327 rushing yards against McNeese State, their second 300-yard game in two seasons under Billy Napier.

Saturday will be Graham Mertz’s 35th career start and the first time that he’s faced an SEC opponent. In 10 career starts against ranked opponents (nine at Wisconsin) he’s posted a 2-8 record while averaging 172 passing yards per game with more than twice as many interceptions (13) as touchdown passes (six).

Catch this game on ESPN-SWFL on Saturday.  Shemon and Sheppard will have more details this week.

(3) Florida State at Boston College, Noon ET on ABC

Florida State travels to Boston College this Saturday. The Seminoles are averaging 55.5 points this season, fourth most in the FBS and their most through the first two games of a season since 2012. In addition, they are looking to score 45+ points in each of their first three games of a season for the third time in school history (did this in 1995 and 2012).

Jordan Travis, who has the second-shortest odds to win the Heisman Trophy, ranks in the top-10 in Total QBR in 2023. On Saturday, he became the first player in Florida State history with 50 pass TD and 25 rush TD. Travis is up to 77 TD responsible for, second-most in school history, behind only Chris Weinke.

The Eagles are 0-17 at home when facing an AP Top-5 opponent. That is the 2nd-most losses without a win at home vs AP Top-5 teams. Only Vanderbilt has more such losses (27).

Villanova at UCF 6:30pm on ESPN+

The Knights are coming off a very nice road win at Boise State.  They should keep it going at the Bounce House on Saturday night against the FCS Wildcats.  Both teams are 2-0.

We’ll continue the week 3 preview on the Shemon & Sheppard Show this afternoon.

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