'Miami and Florida are in control; it's up to them.' - Jerry Palm, who closely monitors the BCS standings, ratings that determine who makes it to college football's national championship game.
Miami and Florida moved closer to playing the biggest game yet in their long rivalry. The Hurricanes and Gators settled into first and second place, respectively, in the Bowl Championship Series standings released this week.
And all indications are that, if both win the rest of their games, it's on to the national championship game in the Rose Bowl Jan. 3.
Miami (10-0) and Florida (9-1) have met 50 times since 1938 - the series is tied 25-all - but never with the national title on the line for both teams. Last year, Miami beat Florida 37-20 in the Sugar Bowl.
The names on the backs of the jerseys are mostly the same, and the athletic, overpowering game looks pretty familiar, too. Even the No. 1 ranking is back.
But don't mistake Duke for some updated video game. These Blue Devils aren't simply the 2001-02 version of the team that won the NCAA title last year - and not just because Shane Battier is gone. "This team is not in competition with last year's team. This team has to run its own race," coach Mike Krzyzewski said Tuesday after his Blue Devils beat No. 7 Iowa 80-62 in the first night of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
The player of the year last season, Battier was a tenacious defender and an offensive threat. He also had the kind of maturity coaches dream of, running the team as if he were part of the coaching staff.
But Battier's not coming back - he's got a full-time job with the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies these days - so the Blue Devils have no choice but to adjust.
To make ends meet, Shayne Graham spent the past two years working odd jobs - including a stint as a substitute teacher - while pursuing his dream to become an NFL kicker. Now his opportunity has arrived. After signing with the Buffalo Bills this week, he is not taking anything for granted.
"When I was in college [at Virginia Tech], I thought I was going to get a chance right away. That's what everybody feeds you," Graham said Wednesday. "But you have to earn it. I think I will have more respect for what's happened now than if it was handed to me two years ago."