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SPORTS WEEKEND

Game Of The Week

The Key Games In College Football

November 15, 1996

KANSAS STATE (8-1, 5-1) at COLORADO (8-1, 6-0)

* KICKOFF: Saturday, 4 p.m., Fox Sports West.

* STORYLINE: Battle between one team with an outside shot at the national title, the other an outside chance at a Fiesta or Orange bowl berth. Colorado wishes it could get back Week 3, when it committed 13 penalties in a 20-13 home loss to Michigan that ended with a failed Hail Mary pass in the end zone. If Colorado runs the table and finishes 12-1, the Michigan loss will cut like a knife. Kansas State has a 39-3 loss to Nebraska to explain to bowl representatives; otherwise it has been another solid season from Bill Snyder's Wildcats.

* KANSAS STATE UPDATE: Quarterback Brian Kavanaugh is coming off a four-touchdown game in last week's victory over Kansas, with wide receiver Kevin Lockett catching 11 passes for 168 yards. How good a job has Snyder done? He is 54-34-1 in eight seasons at a school that still has more Division I losses than any team in NCAA history.

* COLORADO UPDATE: The Buffaloes have won six in a row, but now comes the tough part. To get to an alliance game, Colorado needs victories Saturday, then at Nebraska on Nov. 29 and in the Big 12 title game.

* EDGE TO COLORADO: Snyder is good, but he's 0-6-1 against Colorado in his career. The Buffaloes are 23-2 against the Wildcats in Boulder. Those are tough numbers to overcome.

* THE LINE: Colorado by 4 1/2.

KEY GAMES

UCLA (4-5, 3-3) at ARIZONA (4-5, 2-4)

* KICKOFF: Saturday, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7.

* STORYLINE: Both schools are trying to stay focused in this ho-hum wedge weekend before season-ending games against archrivals. On Nov. 23, UCLA plays USC and Arizona tries to wreck Arizona State's national championship hopes.

* UCLA UPDATE: Maybe the most confounding team in the county, the Bruins rebounded from a loss to Stanford with a convincing victory over Washington State. Cade McNown kept a loose grip on the starting quarterback job with his 230-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Cougars.

* ARIZONA UPDATE: The Wildcats are in danger of not finishing above .500 for the first time since 1991, and Coach Dick Tomey isn't too thrilled about it. He tongue-lashed his players after last Saturday's 49-31 loss to Oregon in Eugene.

* EDGE TO UCLA: You figure both teams will be looking ahead to next weekend's rivalry games, but the Bruins seem to be the better team at the moment. Check back in five minutes, though.

* THE LINE: Arizona by 1.

*

SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI (8-2) at FLORIDA STATE (8-0)

* KICKOFF: Saturday, 4 p.m., ESPN2.

* STORYLINE: Easy victory? The last time Bowden's Boys faced Southern Mississippi, in '89, a nobody named Favre pulled an upset.

* SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI UPDATE: Coach Jeff Bower is still fuming after watching his defense give up 557 total yards in a 56-49 overtime loss to Houston last weekend.

* FLORIDA STATE UPDATE: After resting an injured left wrist in last week's victory over Wake Forest, quarterback Thad Busby is expected to start.

* EDGE TO FLORIDA STATE: Southern Mississippi has been a pest for Bowden's teams over the years, but the Seminoles have too much at stake to look past anyone.

* THE LINE: Florida State by 28.

*

ARMY (9-0) at SYRACUSE (6-2)

* KICKOFF: Saturday, 3 p.m., ESPN.

* STORYLINE: Army hasn't been 9-0 since 1949. Last week's victory over Air Force marked only the second time this year the Black Knights have beaten a team with a winning record. Syracuse has won six in a row.

* ARMY UPDATE: With its option attack, Army leads the nation in rushing, averaging 353.8 yards a game, led by quarterback Ronnie McAda.

* SYRACUSE UPDATE: A top-10 pick in some preseason publications, Syracuse is now poised to win the Big East title.

* EDGE TO SYRACUSE: Nice run for Army, but Ohio, Yale and Lafayette don't prep you for the likes of Syracuse.

* THE LINE: Syracuse by 18 1/2.

*

PENN STATE (8-2, 4-2) at MICHIGAN (7-2, 4-2)

* KICKOFF: Saturday, 9 a.m., Channel 7.

* STORYLINE: Michigan seemed a good bet for a Fiesta Bowl bid until last week's 9-3 loss to Purdue, just hours after the school bucked a recent Big Ten trend and gave Coach Lloyd Carr a contract extension. The Nittany Lions had a week off after thrashing Northwestern in Happy Valley.

* PENN STATE UPDATE: The Northwestern victory was huge for quarterback Wally Richardson, who probably saved his job with an outstanding performance. Penn State seems to have trouble sustaining emotion.

* MICHIGAN UPDATE: The Purdue loss wasn't the end of the world; it only seemed like it. The Wolverines might still be an alliance pick if they catch a few breaks and close with victories over Penn State and Ohio State.

* EDGE TO MICHIGAN: This is a toss-up between teams of similar skills and ambitions. Michigan has the better quarterback in Scott Driesbach, and the game is Ann Arbor.

* THE LINE: Michigan by 1 1/2.

THE LINE ON THE REST

Washington St. at Stanford, even

California plus 2 at Oregon

San Jose St. plus 37 at Washington

Northern Illinois plus 21 at Oregon St.

Ohio St. minus 35 at Indiana

Purdue plus 10 at Northwestern

Wisconsin plus 2 1/2 at Iowa

Illinois plus 3 1/2 at Minnesota

Temple plus 10 at Boston College

Pittsburgh plus 37 at Notre Dame

Tulane plus 12 at Navy

Virginia Tech plus 7 at Miami

Duke minus 1 at Wake Forest

North Carolina St. plus 9 1/2 at Clemson

South Carolina plus 37 at Florida

Alabama minus 12 1/2 at Mississippi St.

LSU minus 10 1/2 at Mississippi

Arkansas plus 24 1/2 at Tennessee

Vanderbilt plus 2 at Kentucky

Georgia plus 10 at Auburn

Nebraska minus 41 at Iowa St.

Texas minus 6 1/2 at Kansas

Oklahoma plus 14 at Texas A&M

Missouri plus 11 at Baylor

Rice minus 3 at TCU

SW Louisiana plus 28 at Texas Tech

Louisville at Houston, even

Ohio plus 16 1/2 at East Carolina

Wyoming minus 2 at Colorado St.

Tulsa minus 7 at Texas El Paso

Air Force minus 10 at Fresno St.

BYU minus 30 at Hawaii

Idaho minus 9 at North Texas

Boise St. plus 3 1/2 at New Mexico St.

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