Looking to see the field for the first time this season after being sidelined with a knee injury, Cincinnati defensive end Carlos Dunlap hopes to make an impact with his team right away. The Bengals have been unable to generate a pass rush in their first two games; this should be helped greatly by Dunlap's return as he has registered 14 sacks through 24 career NFL games over two seasons. In fact, over the final six weeks of his rookie campaign in 2011, Dunlap registered 8.5 sacks in those games.
In a return to Miami, where he broke out last season with Denver, New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow is hoping to rekindle the magic under the hot South Florida Sun. Tebow has yet to throw the ball this season and has six total carries for 33 yards. He only saw a handful of snaps last Sunday against Pittsburgh but was immediately effective, carrying once for 22 yards and handing off another time for a big gain. New York pulled him on a 2nd-and-16 when it was obvious the Jets were going to throw the ball and he did not return to the field after that series. Last season Tebow struggled against the Dolphins for three quarters until putting together an epic fourth quarter in which he threw for two touchdowns in 2:44 to force overtime. The Broncos won on a 52-yard field goal.
New NFL Draft lists from ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay published this week feature a pair of Gators - juniors defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and safety Matt Elam. Floyd is on Kiper's list as the No. 20 player on the Big Board, while Elam is featured on McShay's Top 32. A pair of five-star recruits, Floyd and Elam will undoubtedly have an opportunity to jump to the NFL after this season. Whether or not they will depart is another story altogether. Floyd, should he be considered a first-round talent, could leave due to serious familial financial issues. He has top-five potential but may not go that high with one year of tape at defensive tackle. Elam has a bit more security as his brother, Abe Elam, is a seven-year pro currently playing for Kansas City. However, it has long been known that Elam is focused on playing in the NFL sooner than later.
Instead of head coach Will Muschamp allowing the Gators to simmer now that the team has gotten off to the fast start he had been preaching all off season, the coach's priority must turn to maintaining that high level of play through the toughest remaining schedule in the country From Oct. 6 to Nov. 24, an eight-week stretch, Florida will play four top-10 teams including LSU (Oct. 6), South Carolina (Oct. 20), Georgia (Oct. 27) and Florida State (Nov. 24). The other games? A road contest against an offensively talented Vanderbilt team and a home game against a hungry Missouri squad. (Also two cupcakes against Louisiana-Lafayette and Jacksonville State, though those come after the SEC slate and before the FSU game). The Gators will have every opportunity to prove that they can hang with the nation's best but could in that same respect prove they simply are not there yet depending how they play over the next four weeks.
Not surprisingly the SEC and ESPN are "nearing their final stages" in a negotiation to take the SEC Network out of syndication and give it a channel of its own, SportsBusiness Journal reported on Monday. The SEC, which is still trying to secure the local TV rights that individual schools sold to in-state broadcasters, will be ready to roll once it makes those acquisitions. (IMG College owns Florida's rights.) The deal landed by the league for the SEC Network will be significantly bigger than the Big 10 or Pac-12 have negotiated because it will feature at least 14 football games (one for each team), nearly 100 basketball games and plenty of other contests (baseball, softball, etc.). ESPN will also take over part of the SEC's corporate sponsorship sales which means even more money will be flowing through the South very soon.
Gators volleyball and soccer return to action over the weekend, as does women's tennis, which is competing in the three-day Wolverine Invitational in Ann Arbor, MI. No. 13 Florida volleyball (8-2, 2-0 SEC) will take on Missouri in Gainesville, FL on Friday at 7 p.m. UF soccer (4-3-1, 1-1 SEC), which has fallen out of the top 25 after a rough start to the season, will have a chance to make some major headway by facing Tennessee on Friday at 7 p.m. and Georgia on Sunday at 2 p.m. Both games will be hosted in Gainesville with Sunday's match being aired live on Comcast Sports South.