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Last Meeting: Dec. 22, 1973, Miami 16-7.

What’s at Stake

After losing several starters and arguably the top playmaker in school history (Tim Tebow), the Gators have plenty of uncertainty heading into their opener. Is QB John Brantley ready to emerge from Tebow’s shadow? Can Florida’s revamped defense overcome growing pains? How will coach Urban Meyer manage his health? Who are the team’s new playmakers? They should get a glimpse against overmatched Miami, which finished 1-11 in 2009.

Key Matchup

Miami’s defense vs. Chris Rainey. Rainey is one of Florida’s most explosive players, and the Gators are expected to use him at running back, at receiver and on kick returns. The junior from Lakeland, Fla., has averaged 7.1 yards a carry and 15.2 yards a reception.

Players to Watch

Miami: MLB Jerrell Wedge, who should stay busy chasing Florida’s speedy running backs and receivers across the field. Wedge led the RedHawks with 114 tackles and 5.5 sacks in 2009.

Florida: C Mike Pouncey, who moved from guard and takes on Tebow’s role as the team’s motivational leader.

Facts & Figures

Miami opened the last two seasons against SEC teams without much success. Kentucky drilled the RedHawks 42-0 in 2008, and Vanderbilt won 34-13 last year. The Gators are believed to be the highest-ranked opponent Miami has ever played. … Miami coach Michael Haywood plans to have former coach Bill Mallory speak to the team Friday night. Mallory’s club upset the Gators in the 1973 Tangerine Bowl in Gainesville, capping an undefeated season. Former Florida coach Ron Zook played on that Miami team. … The Gators have won 10 in a row at home. … Meyer is 35-1 during the first four games of the season, including 19-1 at Florida. … The Gators have allowed just 23 points in their last four openers. … Florida will be without starting LT Xavier Nixon (knee), backup LT Matt Patchan (wrist) and DT Terron Sanders (knee).

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No. 5 Texas vs. Rice at Reliant Stadium, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Line: Texas by 30 1/2.

Series Record: Texas leads 69-21-1.

Last Meeting: Sept. 20, 2008, Texas 52-10.

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