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Inside Information: Gators knocking on door, but Bama still owns SEC

Knock knock … who’s there? 34. 34, who? 34 undefeated teams through three weeks of NCAA football. And some of the unblemished are going head-to-head this weekend.

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Knock knock … who’s there? Florida. The Gators, who dominated the SEC back in the ’90s and early 2000s hosted No. 1 Alabama in front of 90,000 fans at the swamp in Gainesville. Florida might have closed the gap in moral victories but lost by two points to the Crimson Tide, 31-29, after the Gators failed to convert a two-point conversion.

Alabama continues to hold the conference in a vice grip, a trend that has lasted more than a decade and shows few signs of changing. However, Bama’s fellow SEC opponents — Georgia, Mississippi, Texas A&M, Arkansas and Kentucky — are also currently undefeated.

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Ohio State, long-ruling king of the Big Ten, has been dethroned. Enter Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State and Iowa as stiff competition to the Buckeyes. The Buckeyes’ defense has more holes in it than Swiss cheese and led winless Tulsa by just seven points in the fourth quarter to survive another marginal performance.

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Knock knock … who’s there? Clemson. Clemson has struggled early on and is not the same Tigers team we’ve seen dominate the ACC for the past six years. Don’t overlook UNC and Wake Forrest as potential guard changers.

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Knock knock … who’s there?  O.  O, who? O is for Oregon, that’s who. The Ducks are the only unbeaten team in the Pac-12 and currently ranked No. 3 in the country.

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Knock knock … who’s there? I don’t know, but when it comes to refs, apparently nobody’s home. Particularly the inept officials who forced Penn State to punt on a third down against Auburn in front of 109,958 fans for the school’s “White Out” game in Happy Valley.

This was the toughest-fought game of the day, overshadowed only by the officiating. In the Memphis-Mississippi State game, the referees should have thrown a flag against the Tigers for having two players with No. 4 jerseys on the field.

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San Diego State is now 3-0 and you have not heard a peep about them. The Aztecs are not ranked but should be soon after beating the Utah Utes 33-31 in triple overtime on Saturday night. SDSU is 2-0 against Pac-12 teams this year after defeating the Arizona Wildcats, 34-18.

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Knock knock … who’s there? Sunday. Sunday that once again delivered a week of NFL football and teams playing quite different than in Week 1.

New Orleans quarterback Jameis Winston, who threw five touchdown passes in the Saints’ opener against Green Bay, came back to earth and reminded us of how things can suddenly change week to week. Winston went 11 for 22 passing for 80 yards and two interceptions against Carolina.

Talking about five TDs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady threw for five scores against Atlanta. But before you praise this 44-year-old phenomenon, Brady should have thrown for 10 touchdowns against the Falcons’ defense that couldn’t sack a bag of groceries.

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Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, or “Chucky,” has Raider Nation thinking big things. The Steelers took them lightly and paid the price. Both the Raiders and Broncos are 2-0 and the Los Angeles Chargers continue to find or invent ways to lose football games. This time, an illegal shift and taunting penalty reversed a touchdown and forced the Chargers to kick a game-tying field goal against the Dallas Cowboys, which cost the Bolts the game in overtime, 20-17.

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A Teams:  Panthers, Bucs, Raiders, Bills, Broncos.

The Bills played the best football Sunday … Ditto Tampa Bay … The Broncos are showing grit determination and leadership from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, with a defense to match. The Panthers, behind quarterback Sam Darnold, are looking vastly improved.

B Teams (as in BAD): Jaguars, Jets, Bengals, Falcons and Dolphins.

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Football picks

College — Week 4

NORTH CAROLINA STATE +10 1/2 vs. Clemson

KENT STATE  + 14 1/2 vs. Maryland

KENTUCKY -5 vs. South Carolina

NFL — Week  3

NÉW ORLEANS +3  vs. New England

Last Week      3-3

Season   9-6

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