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FAU sees an opportunity

It all depends on how you look at things.

By ANTONYA ENGLISH
Published November 13, 2007


GAINESVILLE - It all depends on how you look at things.

On paper, Saturday's Florida vs. Florida Atlantic game seems like one the Gators normally open the season with. Florida is the defending national champion and ranked No. 14 in the nation. Florida Atlantic is unranked and has been playing football just seven seasons.

But FAU is the squad that gave USF a run for its money and is two wins away from earning a Sun Belt championship. Coach Howard Schnellenberger has chosen to view this weekend's game against the Gators not as an uphill battle but as a golden opportunity. One of those everything to win including a $500,000 payout and nothing to lose propositions.

With a little added significance.

"The whole world knows FAU is playing the reigning national champions from a year ago and a great Florida program," Schnellenberger said. "Just to get in the climate of the same ring as Muhammad Ali gives you credibility you wouldn't have otherwise. Sure, you're liable to get knocked out, but there's also an opportunity to win. Our newfound supporters and benefactors, the people who are getting used to changing habits from going to beach or theatre on Saturday afternoon, to becoming football fans and dedicating Saturday to football, they find it exciting to play the best football team in our state and one that has been for the last 100 years."

TEBOW HONORED ... AGAIN: Florida quarterback Tim Tebow was named SEC offensive player of the week after setting several school and conference records Saturday against South Carolina.

"I'm not sure I've seen, and I've seen some pretty good games by quarterbacks, but I'm not sure I've seen an all-around game like our quarterback had on Saturday," Florida coach Urban Meyer said.

Tebow needs three rushing touchdowns to tie the NCAA mark by a quarterback in a single season, joining Chance Harridge of Air Force (22 in 2002).

Oh, and if you're wondering if all the attention is going to his head, apparently not.

"How many is it?," he said when questioned about the record. "I didn't even know about it."

SEC (SOCCER) CHAMPS: The football team still needs help for a shot at an SEC title this season, but the women's soccer team earned its own Sunday with a 4-1 win over No. 13 Georgia. It is the program's eighth SEC Tournament title.

The No. 21 Gators will begin NCAA Tournament play in the 64-team field this weekend. Florida, which is a host school for the first and second rounds, plays Miami on Friday, and Auburn plays Central Florida. The winners meet Sunday.

Florida has advanced to the NCAA Tournament 11 times since the program's inception in 1995.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Toledo and Florida have agreed in principal to play a game in Gainesville in 2013, but Florida officials said Monday that a contract has not been signed.

CONFERENCE HONORS: Tebow isn't the only Gator being honored Monday, as several Gators picked up league player of the week honors in their respective sports. Sophomore Brittaney Thomas was named SEC women's basketball player of the week after her first career start, scoring a career-high 17 and going 5-of-9 from the floor in a season-opening win over Xavier. ... For the second time in the three weeks, senior setter Angie McGinnis was named SEC offensive player of the week in volleyball. McGinnis averaged 17.5 assists per game over the weekend to lead No. 8 UF to its 17th straight conference title. She broke her record Friday night with 55 assists against Tennessee (she had 54 in 2005). On Sunday, McGinnis had 50 assists and nine digs.