Georgia and Clemson will air it out

Georgia’s Aaron Murray and Tajh Boyd of Clemson are poised to put on an aerial display.

And if the record-setting quarterbacks have a good game Saturday when the fifth-ranked Bulldogs play the No. 8 Tigers at Death Valley, the winner will likely become an early front-runner in the Heisman Trophy race.

The seniors postponed careers in the NFL for a final college season. Now they share the spotlight in a nationally televised marquee matchup on college football’s opening weekend.

Murray has led Georgia to the past two Southeastern Conference East Division titles. Boyd helped Clemson reach the Atlantic Coast Conference championship in 2011, and 11 wins last year — the Tigers highest victory total in 31 years.

‘‘If you like quarterback play,’’ Georgia coach Mark Richt said, ‘‘I imagine a lot of people will really enjoy this game.’’

Except maybe defenders on both sides of the ball.

Murray threw for 3,893 yards and 36 touchdowns a year ago. He’s the only SEC player to pass for 3,000 yards his first three years and, if he does it again this year, will join Hawaii’s Timmy Chang and Boise State’s Kellen Moore as the only players in NCAA history to reach the milestone four straight seasons.

Boyd has excelled at Clemson’s high-speed offense the past two seasons. He finished with 3,896 yards and 36 touchdowns last season to win ACC player of the year honors.

Florida on alert

No. 10 Florida ought to be on upset alert.

Toledo has played in three consecutive bowl games and has seven wins against ranked teams, including one against then-No. 21 Cincinnati last season.

Arguably more important is how the Gators have fared against teams outside the six power conferences the last two years.

That recent history shows the Rockets, a 23½-point underdog heading into Saturday’s season opener, have a chance in the Swamp.

Florida trailed lower-division Furman, 22-7, in the second quarter before rallying in 2011, tied with Bowling Green at 14 in the third quarter to open last season, open the season before scoring 13 unanswered points, and tied at 20 in the final minute against Louisiana last November.

‘‘There’s definitely no easy game,’’ Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel said. ‘‘You can’t just roll your helmet out and win. When you do play at a place like Florida, teams are going to throw different stuff at you . . . Everybody that plays us is going to play their best. They’re going to take some gambles on offense and defense.

Toledo, which was picked to finish second in the Mid-American Conference’s West Division, is 1-6 against teams ranked in the top 10. The lone win came against Pittsburgh in 2003.

Florida will be without three starters: running back Matt Jones is recovering from a viral infection, right guard Jon Halapio has a partially torn pectoral muscle, and middle linebacker Antonio Morrison, arrested twice during a five-week span this summer, is suspended.

Close to the vest

The much-anticipated unveilings should be done by the end of the first quarter between Penn State and Syracuse.

The Nittany Lions and Orange will finally reveal their starting quarterbacks at MetLife Stadium.

For Penn State, it’ll be either junior college transfer Tyler Ferguson or freshman Christian Hackenberg. Syracuse will trot out either Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen or sophomore Terrell Hunt.

Who starts might not be who finishes, and Nittany Lions coach Bill O’Brien and first-year Orange coach Scott Shafer have each suggested they could play both of their quarterbacks.


Johnny Manziel won’t be on the field when No. 7 Texas A&M opens the season against Rice. At least not until after halftime.

The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback was suspended Wednesday for the first half of the game for what the school said was an ‘‘inadvertent’’ violation of NCAA rules involving signing autographs.

The Aggies will use either junior Matt Joeckel or freshman Kenny Hill in the first half in place of Manziel.

Joeckel is more of a pocket passer and Hill is a dual-threat. Joeckel has thrown 11 passes in his college career. Hill, who starred at Texas high school powerhouse Southlake Carroll, threw for 2,291 yards and 20 TDs and ran for 905 yards and 22 more scores as a senior.