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SPORTS WEEKEND | WEEK 7 PRIMER

They'll Be Raising 'Canes in South Florida

October 06, 2000|CHRIS DUFRESNE

Rivalry alert: Miami is good again and Florida State has a shaky kicker.

"This thing may start up again," Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden said this week of the once-vaunted series.

No school has inflicted more pain on Bowden than Miami, which has handed him 12 of his 53 career losses and cost the coach three outright national titles and shots at four others.

But when Miami was crippled by 1995 NCAA scholarship sanctions, Bowden got a chance to play catch-up, winning the last five meetings by an average of 22.2 points.

Miami has finally replenished a depleted roster and has its most legitimate shot in years of beating Florida State.

Miami's chances will increase if Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke, who has won 25 consecutive games as the Seminoles' starter, can't play or is ineffective because of a foot injury suffered in last week's victory against Maryland.

Bowden said Weinke could not have played a game on Monday or Tuesday this week.

"It could become a question mark up to Saturday morning," Bowden said of Weinke's status.

If Weinke can't go, he'll be replaced by senior Marcus Outzen, who started--and lost--the 1999 national title game to Tennessee in place of an injured Weinke.

Wide Right III? It could happen. With Sebastian Janikowski now kicking for the Oakland Raiders, Bowden is back to biting his fingernails over his kicker, Matt Munyon, a freshman who missed two extra points in last week's otherwise comforting victory against Maryland.

The line: Florida State by 6.

5 THINGS TO LOOK FOR

1. The Pac continues to be back. The Pacific 10's 22-6 nonconference record ranks as tops among the six major conferences. The league has three more nonconference games, including Saturday's Stanford-Notre Dame game at South Bend. At 1-3, California is the only Pac-10 team with a losing record. FYI: the Big Ten's nonconference winning percentage of .636 ranks worst among the top conferences.

2. Temple at Virginia Tech. Two years ago, as a 35-point underdog, Temple pulled off the shocker of the decade with a stunning 28-24 defeat of No. 10 Virginia Tech at Blacksburg, Va. Temple brings a much better team to town this year. The once-woeful Owls are 3-2 and are two plays from being 5-0. Temple lost to Maryland by seven points and to West Virginia by five. Oddsmakers have noted Temple's improvement and installed Temple as a 31-point underdog this weekend.

3. A coach turning in his genius cap? Steve Spurrier's unflappable reign as Florida coach has come under scrutiny. In last week's 47-35 loss to Mississippi State, Spurrier ordered his quarterback to take a safety with his team trailing by only eight points. Spurrier acknowledges he thought his Gators trailed by nine points. If that wasn't enough, the Gators will throw the nation's 72nd-ranked defense at Louisiana State when the schools meet Saturday in Gainesville, Fla.

4. Taking the Heisman pulse. The Denver Rocky Mountain News keeps close tabs on the Heisman race, polling 10 voters from five regions each week. Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick was a unanimous No. 1 choice this week, followed by Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch. Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler was third in voting, with Texas Christian tailback LaDainian Tomlinson and Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke tied for fourth.

5. Remember when the Oklahoma-Texas game used to mean something? Let's hope Saturday's "Red River Shootout" at the Cotton Bowl is as good as the 1984 game, the last time both teams were ranked in the top 15 at the time they met. In that hoedown, No. 1 Texas and No. 2 Oklahoma played to a 15-15 tie.

RATING THE TV GAMES

**** Whoa, Nellie

*** The yardwork can wait

** OK to pay bills while watching

* For XFL scouts only

** Penn State (2-4) at Minnesota (3-2), 9 a.m., ESPN2.

Memo to eternal optimists: If Penn State gets hot, Paterno can break Bear Bryant's record Nov. 11 at Michigan.

* The line: Minnesota by 7.

** Hawaii (0-3) at No. 14 Texas Christian (4-0), 9 a.m., Fox Sports Net.

Unfortunately, Hawaii is having another turnaround season under June Jones.

* The line: Texas Christian by 37.

** Stanford (2-2) at No. 25 Notre Dame (2-2), 11:30 a.m., Channel 4.

Hair-raising showdown between .500 schools and their backup quarterbacks.

* The line: Notre Dame by 11 1/2.

** East Carolina (3-1) at Memphis (3-2), noon, Fox Sports Net.

East Carolina gave up 45 points in Virginia Tech loss and 34 in three victories.

* The line: East Carolina by 6 1/2.

*** No. 15 Auburn (5-0) at No. 20 Mississippi State (3-1), 12:30 p.m., Channel 2.

To increase the noise factor, all Starkville cows ordered to turn in their bells to local fraternity house.

* The line: Mississippi State by 1.

** Pittsburgh (4-0) at Syracuse (2-2), 1:30 p.m., ESPN2.

Syracuse has won nine in a row in the series, but No. 10 isn't a lock.

* The line: Syracuse by 6 1/2.

*** California (1-3) at Arizona State (3-1), 3:30, Fox Sports Net.

Somehow we can't see Arizona State blowing a 21-0 lead in this one.

* The line: Arizona State by 7.

** San Diego State (0-4) at Wyoming (1-4), 4 p.m., Channel 7.

Boy, is San Diego State glad to be out of September.

* The line: Wyoming by 3.

*** No. 22 Tennessee (2-2) at No. 19 Georgia (3-1), 4 p.m., ESPN.

Looked like the game of the year a month ago. Now, it's not even the game of the week.

* The line: Georgia by 4 1/2.

*** South Carolina (4-1) at Kentucky (2-3), 4:30, ESPN2.

You wonder how the Carolina kids will cope with losing after days and days of success.

* The line: South Carolina by 2 1/2.

*** No. 23 Oregon State (4-0) at No. 13 Washington (3-1), 7 p.m., Fox Sports Net. Step to the podium and accept your gift if you thought this was going to be a matchup of ranked schools.

* The line: Washington by 10.

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