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SPORTS WEEKEND | WEEK 13 PRIMER

Civil Warriors Win Out in This Battle

November 17, 2000|CHRIS DUFRESNE

Maybe only in a week when the Harlem Globetrotters lost could you imagine picking Oregon-Oregon State as the game of the week over Florida vs. Florida State.

Rationale? Florida versus Florida State is a big game every year, while the Oregon schools have played 103 times without making a ripple in the national pond.

Remarkably, Florida and Florida State have both been top-10 teams in every game the schools have played in the decade.

But it is equally remarkable that Oregon and Oregon State enter Saturday's Civil War in Corvallis as top-10 foes.

Consequences? The winner of the Florida State-Florida game takes a big step toward securing the national title spot, but nothing is guaranteed. Florida still has the Southeastern Conference title game to play and Florida State remains in a battle against Miami for the No. 2 Bowl Championship Series spot.

Oregon-Oregon State will decide something. If Oregon wins, it goes to the Rose Bowl. If Oregon State wins and Washington loses, the Beavers make their first trip to Pasadena since 1964.

Motivation? Two years ago, in Corvallis, Oregon State pulled out a remarkable 44-41, double-overtime win against Oregon.

Oregon has not forgotten how the Beavers stormed the field that day.

"Their fans and little kids were rude, and the old people were rude," Oregon defensive end Saul Patu told reporters this week.

Oregon Coach Mike Bellotti, perhaps seeking a psychological edge, complained about the way his team was treated in the wake of that loss.

"There was no security, no attempt to remove the fans from our sidelines," Bellotti complained. "It was a very difficult situation."

Oregon State says it will have 350 security personnel at Reser Stadium, but that won't help Oregon win the game.

You can argue that, at this juncture, Oregon State is the Pac-10's best team. The Beavers have scored 33 points or more in their five wins since a three-point loss to Washington, while Oregon has needed overtime to win two of its last three games.

* Line: Oregon State by 4 1/2.

FIVE THINGS TO LOOK FOR

1. Rose Bowl race pocket guide: Oregon goes if it beats Oregon State. Oregon State goes if it wins and Washington loses to Washington State. Washington goes if it wins and Oregon State wins. Purdue goes if it beats Indiana. Ohio State goes if it beats Michigan and Purdue loses. Northwestern goes if it beats Illinois and Purdue and Ohio State lose. Michigan goes if it beats Ohio State and Purdue and Northwestern lose. Got it?

2. Security and lobbyists. Florida law (Section 141, Chapter 509) requires hotel guests to an "agreed-upon checkout time," meaning all of you real reporters squatting in Tallahassee for the presidential election fiasco must vacate your rooms Friday so that we sportswriters can get turn-down service before Florida State-Florida.

3. Washington in the Orange Bowl. Coach Rick Neuheisel says it's possible. Is he right? Yes, but it's a longshot. Washington, fifth in this week's BCS standings, needs to beat Washington State, then has to hope Florida beats Florida State and then loses in the SEC title game on Dec. 2. If that happens, and Kansas State knocks off No. 1 Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game, Washington and Miami could be reunited in a national title game.

4. A silver lining. USC Coach Paul Hackett can't be comfortable knowing Arizona State fired coach Bruce Snyder, despite the fact Snyder can finish 6-5 and go to a Hawaii bowl if the Sun Devils beat Arizona next week. On a brighter note, Duke Athletic Director Joe Alleva was quoted as saying this week of Carl Franks: "I know we have the right coach." Franks is 0-10 this year and 3-18 overall.

5. Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech. Oh wait, that game was postponed in August because of lightning and not rescheduled because officials said it would not affect the big picture. Well, what if it costs Miami a national title game berth in a razor-thin BCS points race because the Hurricanes beat Virginia Tech? One of the factors in the BCS' strength of schedule component is record of your opponents' opponent. Georgia Tech is 7-2.

RATING THE TV GAMES

**** Whoa, Nellie

*** The yardwork can wait

** OK to pay bills while watching

* For XFL scouts only

*** No. 19 Michigan (7-3) at No. 12 Ohio State (8-2), 9 a.m., Channel 7.

Winner of game will try to use its backdoor Rose Bowl pass.

* Line: Ohio State by 2 1/2.

** East Carolina (6-3) at West Virginia (5-4), 9 a.m., ESPN.

Broadcaster Terry Bowden breaks down the game and real estate prices in Morgantown.

* Line: East Carolina by 3.

*** Illinois (5-5) at No. 23 Northwestern (7-3), 9 a.m., ESPN2.

Marie Osmond called in to sing national anthem and "Paper Roses."

* Line: Northwestern by 7 1/2.

** No. 9 Kansas State (9-2) at Missouri (3-7), 9:30 a.m., FSN2.

Larry Smith asks secretary to retrieve "Freedom Bowl" concession speech he once gave at USC.

* Line: Kansas State by 21 1/2.

*** Texas El Paso (8-2) at No. 15 Texas Christian (8-1), noon, FSN.

UTEP can clinch WAC title and trip to Silicon Valley Bowl. The what bowl?

* Line: TCU by 12.

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