Tebow, McElroy, Pike, turnovers and more keys 

October, 20, 2009

For this week's top-10 list (I do one every Wednesday), I looked at the top 10 teams in the BCS standings and pulled out one key for each of them in the second half of the season. Let's get started:

1. Florida Gators

Must protect Tim Tebow. The Gators have not been anywhere near as potent as many expected going into the season. The reality is that a lot of folks probably underestimated the effect of losing both Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy, which is a big reason UF is only 67th in passing offense. But another big issue for the Gators has been their struggles surrendering sacks. UF is ranked 74th in sacks allowed, and in Saturday's nail-biter against Arkansas (the SEC's worst defense), Tebow was sacked six times. Worse still, Tebow absorbed a brutal hit at Kentucky three weeks ago that resulted in a concussion. With an upcoming trip to South Carolina, where the Gamecocks feature one of the country's better pass-rushers (Eric Norwood), and with a potential meeting with Alabama in the SEC title game looming, this is something UF offensive coordinator Steve Addazio needs to get patched up.

2. Alabama Crimson Tide

Greg McElroy needs to revert to early-season form. The first-year starter was very impressive in the first month of the season, looking sharp working the play-action passing game and displaying a real knack for throwing the deep ball. However, he has appeared out of sync in Bama's past two games, against two of the SEC's better defenses (Ole Miss and South Carolina). At times, he's forced the ball into heavy coverage to try to involve star WR Julio Jones. McElroy also acknowledged that Carolina did an effective job of disguising its coverages on him. He is just 25-of-54 (46 percent) with two interceptions, zero touchdowns and a long pass play of just 22 yards in those past two contests. (In the previous five games, he completed 66 percent of his passes and had a 9-1 TD-INT ratio.)

To see what Bruce thinks everyone else -- Texas, Boise State, Cincinnati, all the way down to Miami at No. 10 -- needs to do, and to read a heartwarming story about Charlie Weis and Mark Herzlich, you must be an ESPN Insider. Insider