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Six Games To Watch

November 08, 2002|Robyn Norwood

NO. 2 MIAMI (8-0)

at TENNESSEE (5-3)

Kickoff: 12:30 p.m.

TV: Channel 2.

Line: Miami by 8 1/2.

Miami update: The undefeated defending national champions are in an unusual position at No. 2 in the Associated Press poll, despite a 30-game winning streak. Pulling away from Rutgers with a 28-0 fourth quarter for a 42-17 victory didn't impress many.

Tennessee update: The Volunteers have their problems, ending a two-game losing streak with an 18-10 victory over South Carolina last week. Tailbacks Jabari Davis and Cedric Houston will be the latest to test Miami's once-vaunted run defense.

Story line: Time for Miami to stop dallying. Bad habits create upsets, and nobody's going to let the Hurricanes waltz back into the BCS title game just because they won last year.

The pick: Miami. Nap time is over.

*

NO. 3 OHIO STATE (10-0)

at PURDUE (4-5)

Kickoff: 9 a.m.

TV: ESPN Gameplan

Line: Ohio State by 6 1/2.

Ohio State update: The Buckeyes -- one of four remaining unbeatens -- are seeking the fourth 11-0 start in school history. The others were in 1975, '79 and '95. They have never won more than 11 games.

Purdue update: The Boilermakers -- not Ohio State or Iowa -- have the Big Ten's top-ranked offense, averaging 449.3 yards a game, though they're only fifth in scoring offense at 29.7 points a game.

Story line: Iowa, the only other unbeaten team in Big Ten conference games, is hoping for a Buckeye slip-up.

The pick: Ohio State. Tailback Maurice Clarett gets all the publicity, but the Buckeye defense leads the Big Ten in total defense.

*

NO. 10 USC (6-2)

at STANFORD (2-6)

Kickoff: 4 p.m.

TV: Channel 7.

Line: USC by 16 1/2.

USC update: Carson Palmer completes 62% of his passes against ordinary competition, and Stanford ranks last in the league in defense. It's too late for a real Heisman campaign, but a Heisman-worthy game is possible.

Stanford update: The Cardinal has held only one opponent -- Arizona -- to fewer than 26 points. Six times in eight games, Stanford has given up more than 30. This is looking like one of those games.

Story line: You won't be falling asleep during the Carson Show against Stanford's weak defense.

The pick: USC. An upset doesn't seem possible, even though USC has lost three in a row to Stanford.

*

NO. 15 OREGON (7-2)

at NO. 5 WASHINGTON STATE (8-1)

Kickoff: 12:30 p.m.

TV: Channel 7.

Line: Washington State by 5.

Oregon update: The Ducks have been a disappointment, and had lost two games in a row before a 41-14 victory over lowly Stanford. Running back Onterrio Smith didn't play in that game because of a minor injury but is expected to play against Washington State.

Washington State update: The Cougars are in first place in the Pac-10 and a surprising fifth in the BCS standings, with their only loss to unbeaten Ohio State.

Story line: The Cougars went 67 years between Rose Bowls. Now they might be back after only four.

The pick: Washington State. Oregon is 3-1 in Pullman since 1996 and won there in 2000 and 2001. This says the streak stops here.

*

NO. 21 IOWA STATE (7-3)

at NO. 12 KANSAS STATE (7-2)

Kickoff: 4 p.m.

TV: TBS.

Line: Kansas State by 12 1/2.

Iowa State update: To reach the Big 12 title game, the Cyclones must beat Kansas State and Colorado. Seneca Wallace didn't do much in losses to Oklahoma and Texas, but he set a school record with 493 total yards against Missouri.

Kansas State update: The Wildcats' only losses are to Colorado and Texas -- and they haven't lost to Iowa State since 1993.

Story line: Kansas State, Iowa State and Colorado are all vying for the chance to face likely South Division champion Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game.

The pick: Kansas State. Wallace is scintillating against lesser competition but doesn't come through against the big boys.

*

UCLA (6-3)

at ARIZONA (3-6)

Kickoff: 6 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Net 2.

Line: UCLA by 11.

UCLA update: Tyler Ebell needs to average only 88.7 yards in UCLA's final three games to become only the third freshman in Pac-10 history to rush for 1,000 yards, joining Stanford's Darrin Nelson and Oregon State's Ken Simonton.

Arizona update: Receiver Bobby Wade has had 100-yard games in his last 12 outings and leads the Pac-10 in receiving and receiving yardage.

Story line: It's fun to watch the Bruins' bunch of freshmen survive when they shouldn't be able to.

The pick: UCLA. Despite the injury to Cory Paus, the Bruins are not playing to determine whether they'll go to a bowl game, but which one.

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