The Gators began their brutal October stretch last week with a resounding defeat of Ole Miss. Florida does not face another opponent in The Swamp until Vanderbilt comes to town for Homecoming on November 7.
Tonight brings yet another night game for the Gators: Undefeated No. 11 Florida travels to defending SEC East champion Missouri. The Gators will take on the Tigers at 7:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.
Here are our picks for the two viewing windows before Florida's game:
Early (noon to 3:30 p.m., Eastern)
Oklahoma at Texas (noon, ABC): The annual Red River Rivalry Showdown is held at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Things have not gone well for the Longhorns this season and would only get worse with another loss. Oklahoma is undefeated, ranked #10 and looking for a Big 12 Championship.
Illinois at Iowa (noon, ESPNU): Here is where I would have recommended LSU at South Carolina but that game was moved to the next viewing window, and to Louisiana. Illinois has seemed to improve since firing its head coach before the season, while Iowa is undefeated and ranked #22. This game has Big Ten West implications.
Afternoon (3:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Eastern)
Georgia at Tennessee (3:30 p.m., CBS): This SEC East tilt features two teams reeling after losses to SEC West teams. Can Tennessee finally finish a game? A Georgia loss would give the Gators a little breathing room in the SEC East race (and would be hilarious).
South Carolina at LSU (3:30 p.m., ESPN): As mentioned above, this was originally a home game for the Gamecocks. Amid devastating flooding in the state of South Carolina. the game has been moved to Baton Rouge.
Dozens of roads surrounding Columbia have been closed or washed away in the flooding and there have been at least 14 weather related deaths in the state. South Carolina moved the game hoping to avoid the stress on infrastructure, law enforcement and first responders that the influx of visitors for the game would have caused, and Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier has requested that those that wish to help make donations to the South Carolina Red Cross.
But I would be remiss not to note how gracious LSU has been in accommodating the venue change. LSU is transporting the South Carolina team on its chartered plane to and from the game. The LSU marching band also learned South Carolina's fight song and alma mater so that it can play them before the game on Saturday, as South Carolina is the designated "home" team, but will be without its band. LSU athletic director Joe Alleva mentioned that the band may play "Sandstorm", a South Carolina home game staple. A ceremony featuring students from both schools will take place prior to the game, at which time LSU students will hand the keys to Tiger Stadium over to South Carolina representatives. All the ticket revenue will go to South Carolina. LSU will also have a tailgate with free food and beverages for Gamecock fans making the trip.
These gestures are a wonderful display of compassion and sportsmanship. We could use more of them.