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Sports Weekend | WEEK 7 PRIMER

Teams With Striking Resemblances

October 16, 1998|CHRIS DUFRESNE

This would be a bad week for a transformer to blow at a Pacific 10 Conference stadium.

Could you imagine having to keep tally of Oregon and UCLA with flash cards?

The nation's second and third- ranked scoring offenses could make like Wilt Chamberlain and put up 100 points.

As Oregon Coach Mike Bellotti says of the offenses, "Both have a propensity for putting the ball in the end zone."

"It's like looking in a mirror," Coach Bob Toledo says of similarities between the schools.

Oregon averages 50.6 points per game; UCLA averages 48. Oregon has a mature, mobile quarterback in Akili Smith. Ditto for UCLA and Cade McNown. Both schools have impact runners, receivers who can fly and quick, fast defenses.

Last team with the ball wins?

Probably.

Saturday's game will be as much a reunion as a game. Toledo was Oregon's offensive coordinator for six years in the 1980s. Nick Aliotti, UCLA's defensive coordinator, was the architect of Oregon's "Gang Green" defense during the Ducks' 1994 Rose Bowl run.

Jermaine Lewis returns to the UCLA lineup after a one-game suspension for fighting, only to find freshman DeShaun Foster getting a jump-start on next year's Heisman campaign.

Oregon might be getting more publicity had it access to cable, but fighting for poll respect has long been part of their challenge.

"Not only are we winning games, but we're doing it in a manner that's fairly convincing," Bellotti said.

This is a Pac-10 defining stretch for both schools. After UCLA, Oregon faces USC, Arizona, Washington and Arizona State-- schools that have been ranked at one point this season. UCLA still has tough games ahead at Cal, Washington and Miami.

* Line: UCLA by 10 1/2.

Rating the TV Games

RATINGS

**** Don't leave the recliner

*** The yardwork can wait

** OK to flip to fishing show.

* For arena football scouts only

** Minnesota (3-2) at No. 1 Ohio State (5-0), 9 a.m. ESPN

The Buckeyes are so good they thought they played lousy in last week's 41-0 win over Illinois. Minnesota is playing lousy.

Line: Ohio State by 37 1/2.

** No. 9 Wisconsin (6-0) at Illinois (2-4), 9 a.m., ESPN2

The Badgers will beat on the Illini until the cows come home.

Line: Wisconsin by 20 1/2.

*** Texas Tech (6-0) at No. 19 Colorado (5-1), 10:30 a.m., FSW2

NCAA probation hasn't slowed the Red Raiders a bit. Colorado might, however.

Line: Colorado by 5 1/2.

* Norfolk State (2-4) at Hampton (5-0), noon, ESPN2

Had this game circled on the calendar since, well, Wednesday.

Line: None.

** Auburn (1-4) at No. 5 Florida (5-1), 12:30, p.m., Channel 2

Spurrier is outraged his Gators "keep spitting the ball up," but at least he doesn't coach at Auburn. The Tigers rank 104th nationally in rushing and are 1-4 for the first time since 1952.

Line: Florida by 20.

** Louisville (3-3) at No. 24 Tulane (4-0), 12:30, p.m. FSW

Tulane quarterback Shaun King is playing better with a broken wrist than most quarterbacks are with two good hands.

Line: Tulane by 16 1/2.

** Clemson (2-4) at No. 6 Florida State (5-1), 3 p.m., ESPN2

Coach Tommy West could save his job with a win at Tallahassee, but what are the chances of that happening with the Seminoles back in the national title hunt?

Line: Florida State by 28 1/2.

** California (4-1) at Washington (3-2), 3:30 p.m., Channel 9

Who didn't know that Cal would have the better record?

Line: Washington by 10.

** Kansas (2-4) at No. 8 Nebraska (5-1), 4 p.m., FSW

This marks the 93rd straight season the schools have played, and the 93rd straight season Kansas wishes they hadn't.

Line: Nebraska by 34 1/2.

** Michigan (3-2) at Northwestern (2-4), 4 p.m., ESPN

Suspended safety Marcus Ray takes another week off in preparation for his one-game season against Ohio State.

Line: Michigan by 15.

*** Kentucky (4-2) at No. 21 LSU (3-2), 6 p.m., ESPN2

A make-or-break Heisman game for quarterback Tim Couch, who needs to put up numbers against a defense with a pulse to convince voters he's worthy.

Line: LSU by 10.

5 Things To Look For

1. An arm transplant for Drew Brees. The Purdue quarterback attempted an NCAA-record 83 passes, completing 55, in last week's 31-24 loss to Wisconsin. In the last two weeks, Brees has thrown for 1,016 yards, more than the season totals of Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and, this week's opponent, Penn State.

2. Nebraska making Kansas pay. After a near-defeat at Oklahoma State and last week's loss at Texas A&M, the hell-bent Cornhuskers return to Memorial Stadium. Nebraska has won 45 consecutive games at home and has not lost two in a row overall since 1990. Kansas is looking for its first victory against Nebraska since 1968, when Bobby Douglass led the Jayhawks to a 23-13 win.

3. John Cooper not winning the Cesar Chavez Award. A migrant farm workers' union in Ohio is upset the Ohio State coach is about to sign an endorsement deal with a pickle company the union has targeted for a boycott. We suggest the union join other anti-Cooper picketers on Nov. 21, after the Ohio State-Michigan game in Columbus.

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