Four-down territory: Can Shaw save the Gamecocks?
Let's take a look at what's happening across the nation on this Tuesday morning...
• Throughout his tumultuous offseason, I've maintained that Stephen Garcia was the only quarterback on the South Carolina roster capable of leading the Gamecocks to another SEC East title. But after his poor performance for much of this season thus far, head coach Steve Spurrier had no choice but to bench his fifth-year senior signal-caller. Garcia, who made huge strides in 2010 as he passed for 3,059 yards and 20 touchdowns, is completing only 51 percent of his passes and has thrown nine interceptions against just four touchdowns in the Gamecocks' first five games. The last straw was his 9-of-23, 160-yard, two-interception effort this past weekend against Auburn, a squad that has no problem letting offenses move the football. Will new starter Connor Shaw be able to deliver the ball more consistently to stud receiver Alshon Jeffery? That's the hope in Columbia, as the defending East division champs have a strong offensive line and the SEC's leading rusher to complement the passing game. While Shaw may not be the best option to deliver big plays through the air, he would be a valuable asset if he can play turnover-free football and get the ball into the hands of the team's best playmakers. Shaw will get tested right away this weekend against Kentucky, which is fourth in SEC pass defense at 163 yards allowed per game.
ICONJordan Jefferson hopes to start again at LSU.
• Now that he's been reinstated to the football team after his felony second-degree battery charge was downgraded to a misdemeanor, LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson told reporters Monday night that his personal goal is to be the Tigers' starter. "I am going to do whatever it takes to get there," Jefferson said. While no one can blame Jefferson for wanting his chance to start after being praised throughout the offseason by head coach Les Miles and quarterbacks coach Steve Kragthorpe, fifth-year senior Jarrett Lee has played well in helping the Tigers to a 5-0 start and a No. 1 ranking. While Jefferson may be needed at some point, this offense is in control under the leadership of Lee, who has played steady football while the team relies on its power run game and its ferocious defense.
• Oklahoma will get back the services of sophomore receiver Trey Franks just in time for the team's showdown with Texas this week. Franks had been suspended the last two games for violating unspecified team rules but was reinstated by head coach Bob Stoops. Franks started the final four games last season and the first two games this year, and he caught seven passes for 74 yards against Tulsa in this season's opener and was OU's primary kick returner before the suspension. Dejuan Miller and Jaz Reynolds took advantage of Franks' absence, so the Sooners have very good receiving depth for their prolific offense.
• Ohio State continues to deal with NCAA issues, as three Buckeye players will miss the road tilt against Nebraska this week for accepting more money than they actually worked for in their summer jobs. Running back Boom Herron and receiver DeVier Posey will remain out after it was expected they would return from their five-game suspensions for their role in the tattoo scandal, and offensive lineman Marcus Hall will join them on the sideline. Of course, athletic director Gene Smith insisted that there was not a "systemic" problem at Ohio State, instead blaming these transgressions on the players, former head coach Jim Tressel and a booster. Um, how does Mr. Smith still have a job at the school?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave