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This Will Determine Leader of the Pac

September 29, 2000|CHRIS DUFRESNE

This isn't only a war of words, it's a war of woods.

Oregon hates Washington. Have you heard?

Let's face it, even geographically, Washington has always held the upper land.

But it's more than that.

In 1948, Washington voted to send California to the Rose Bowl even though Oregon had the same record. In the 1960s, Oregon fans thought Washington was out to hurt Ducks' star Mel Renfro.

Rick Neuheisel's arrival at Washington has only thickened the stew. While in Boulder, Neuheisel's Colorado teams twice pounded Coach Mike Bellotti's Oregon squads in bowl games: 38-6 in the 1996 Cotton and 51-43 in the 1998 Aloha.

Last year, Bellotti was one of the most vocal critics when Neuheisel arrived in Seattle and broke minor NCAA rules almost before the paint dried on his parking space.

Neuheisel answered Bellotti on the field, as Washington defeated Oregon, 34-20, in Seattle.

Yet, there rarely has been a Washington-Oregon game set up like this one. The scene is so tense that Oregon is calling in extra security to police Autzen Stadium.

One week after beating No. 6 UCLA at home, Oregon has a chance to knock off another No. 6, take another giant leap in the polls and pretty much dictate the Pacific 10 Conference race.

After a bye next week, Oregon plays at USC on Oct. 14.

With victories against Idaho, Miami and Colorado, Washington finds itself in the thick of a national title race.

Since Pac-10 favorites USC and Washington don't play, Oregon can control its destiny in the conference race.


1. OK, don't look for Phil Knight. The Nike CEO and most ardent Oregon supporter will not be in attendance for Saturday's game against Washington. Why? Because Knight had a falling out with the university last spring after it supported a student group that charged Nike with labor abuses in foreign countries. What do we mean by a falling out? Knight has not stepped foot on campus since and has yanked the $50 million he pledged for stadium expansion at Autzen.

2. Kansas State at Colorado. At stake here is a scheduling philosophy. Kansas State is 4-0 after wiping out four football pylons by the sum of 212-27. Colorado is 0-3 after facing a nonconference gantlet of Colorado State, Washington and USC. We'll find out Saturday in Boulder which scheduling approach has better prepared the teams for Big 12 Conference play.

3. Virginia Tech at Boston College. Looks like a decent game on paper, but this could be another massacre. Virginia Tech, armed with quarterback Michael Vick, is coming off a bye week while Boston College has lost 16 consecutive games to ranked opponents. Worse, two of the linebackers B.C. needs to stop Vick, Ryan Burch and Scott Bradley, are out because of injuries.

4. A new name in the Heisman race. Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler has earned his way onto the contenders' list with a stellar September. With 270 rushing yards against Virginia last week, Dantzler now ranks 13th in this week's NCAA rushing statistics and is the nation's third-ranked passer.

5. A road map. UCLA Coach Bob Toledo said you never really know how good a team is until it goes on the road. Toledo's Bruins found out the hard way last week at Oregon. This week, four ranked schools make their first out-of-town ventures as No. 11 Tennessee travels to Louisiana State, No. 23 South Carolina is at Alabama, No. 5 Kansas State goes to Colorado and No. 17 Wisconsin faces Michigan in Ann Arbor.




FAVORITE LINE UNDERDOG at Oregon 3 Washington at Stanford 2 1/2 Arizona at California 6 1/2 Washington State at Michigan 7 1/2 Wisconsin Clemson 36 at Duke Purdue 13 at Penn State at Michigan State 11 1/2 Northwestern at Alabama 9 South Carolina at Indiana 14 Iowa at Western Michigan 5 1/2 Ohio Central Florida 6 at Eastern Michigan Northern Illinois 10 1/2 at Ball State Virginia 16 1/2 at Wake Forest at Auburn 14 Vanderbilt at Louisville 30 1/2 Connecticut at Oklahoma 23 1/2 Kansas Florida 7 1/2 at Mississippi State Kansas State 6 1/2 at Colorado at North Carolina 3 Georgia Tech at Texas 19 1/2 Oklahoma State at San Jose State 7 1/2 Rice Wyoming 3 at New Mexico Colorado State 17 at Nevada Utah 12 at Utah State Iowa State 13 at Baylor Miami, Ohio 5 1/2 at Akron Georgia 3 1/2 at Arkansas at Mississippi 7 Kentucky at Toledo 22 Central Michigan Miami 30 1/2 at Rutgers at Houston 10 1/2 Southern Methodist at Texas El Paso 13 New Mexico State



**** Whoa, Nellie

*** The yardwork can wait

** OK to pay bills while watching

* For XFL scouts only

** No. 24 Illinois (3-1) at Minnesota (2-2), 9 a.m., ESPN.

Tune in to see if Big Ten refs botch the coin flip.

* The line Minnesota by 1

** No. 16 Texas Christian (3-0) at Navy (0-2), 9 a.m., FSN.

That's not a frigate coming into port, it's TCU's LaDainian Tomlinson.

* The line Texas Christian by 27 1/2

*** Texas Tech (4-0) at Texas A&M (2-1), 930 a.m., FSN2.

If first-year Coach Mike Leach gets in a jam, can he call Tech support?

* The line Texas A&M by 15 1/2

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