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Five things to watch this weekend

10/6/2011

Here is a look at what to watch this weekend in Florida:

Thursday night lights

It's a big Thursday night schedule in Florida with many of the major counties playing games. Two of the major games around the state feature undefeated squads.

In Broward County, top-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas takes on Miramar in a game that has mixed opinions. The Raiders haven't lost to an in-county opponent since Denard Robinson led Deerfield Beach to a victory in 2006.

“It could be a test,” said Miami Herald writer Larry Blustein. “We thought Cypress Bay would give Aquinas a test and they lost 34-0. Miramar is going to have to get off to a fast start and force a couple of turnovers.”

Miramar features the nation's top-rated cornerback, Tracy Howard, and ESPNU 150 wide receiver Malcolm Lewis. St. Thomas Aquinas will counter with a balanced running attack led by senior Dami Ayoola and junior Fred Coppet. The Raiders' defensive line features Miami commit Jelani Hamilton, Bryan Cox Jr. and Watch List prospect Joey Bosa.

Another interesting game on Thursday features Seffner Armwood and Tampa Sickels.

Armwood, which features Florida commit Matt Jones at running back and an offensive line with South Carolina commit Cody Waldrop and FBS prospects Cameron Dees and Kevin McCoy, comes in as heavy favorites but coach Sean Callahan has plenty of respect for undefeated Sickles and its multi-faceted option offense.

“I know we're going to get the best shot that Sickles has,” Callahan said. “They are a football team that prides itself on toughness and they will give us a fight.”

Happy returns

Under Armour All-American Dante Fowler (St. Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood) returns to the field Thursday after an extended absence.

“There were a lot of things going on but everything has been squashed and we couldn't be more excited,” said Dante Fowler Sr.

The 6-3, 245-pounder has committed to FSU but will take all five official visits starting with an October 29 trip to Stanford.

Speaking of visits...

Four-star linebacker Keith Brown (Miami, Fla./Norland), still considered a Miami commit, says he will visit Purdue this weekend as the Boilermakers take on Minnesota. Brown has already taken an official to Clemson and has an Oct. 22 visit to FSU planned.

Gainesville four-star cornerback Chris Bivins, a USF commit, is taking an official visit to Arkansas this weekend.

“I want to see how the facilities are and see how the fans are, the academics, the coaches, everything” Bivins said. “I just want to know if Arkansas has the type of environment I can see myself being part of for the next 4-5 years of my life.”

You can spell BCS without F-L-O-R-I-D-A

With USF's 44-17 loss to Pittsburgh and Florida's crushing 38-10 defeat to Alabama last Saturday it marks the earliest that the in-state BCS schools have been pretty much eliminated from the BCS national title race.

Previously USF made it to Oct. 18 in 2007, when the then No. 2-ranked Bulls lost to Rutgers.

In most years, at least one of the in-state BCS schools is in the hunt until November and on eight occasions an in-state school has made the BCS championship game.

Welcome to the real world

If true, freshman Jeff Driskel gets the starting nod for the Gators against LSU on Saturday he would be the second 2011 Under Armour All-American alum to start at the position. Ohio State QB Braxton Miller has started the last two games for the Buckeyes.

Expect Florida to go to more of a spread look to take advantage of Driskel's running ability and get running backs Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey in space.