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Six Games To Watch

September 06, 2002|Robyn Norwood

No. 1 Miami (1-0)

at No. 6 Florida (1-0)

Kickoff: 2 p.m. TV: Channel 2. Line: Florida by 2 1/2.

Miami update: This gargantuan game in the Swamp won't resemble the Hurricanes' opener. (It took only 11 snaps for quarterback Ken Dorsey to stake Miami to a 35-0 lead in a 63-17 victory over Florida A&M.) Still, defending national champion Miami has won 23 games in a row--Dorsey is 27-1 as a starter--and the Hurricanes have an 11-game road winning streak.

Florida update: The Gators poured on the points in a 51-3 victory over Alabama Birmingham in the debut of Coach Ron Zook.

Story line: Rex Grossman and Dorsey--second and third in the Heisman Trophy voting last season--headline the revival of a fierce rivalry.

The pick: Miami. The Hurricanes stopped Florida State's 54-game home winning streak last season and have a 14-12 record against Florida in Gainesville.

*

Alabama (1-0)

at No. 2 Oklahoma (1-0)

Kickoff: 12:30 p.m. TV: Channel 7. Line: Oklahoma by 12.

Alabama update: Alabama, mired in NCAA trouble and banned from playing in a bowl, beat Middle Tennessee last week by only five points, 39-34. Giving up 183 and four touchdowns on the ground doesn't bode well for a defense preparing to try to slow Quentin Griffin, who ran for 237 yards against Tulsa.

Oklahoma update: The Sooners have a great defense and a formidable running game, but quarterback looks like a problem. Jason White passed for only 126 yards with two interceptions in a 37-0 victory over Tulsa.

Story line: Alabama has won 12 national championships and Oklahoma seven. This game would be better if the Sooners were playing a Crimson Tide team of the past.

The pick: Oklahoma. The defense and running game can carry the team for now.

*

No. 19 Colorado State (2-0)

at UCLA (0-0)

Kickoff: 7:15 p.m. TV: Fox Sports Net. Line: UCLA by 7.

Colorado State update: The Rams already have beaten Virginia and upset Colorado, 19-14, earning a top-25 ranking. A victory over UCLA would turn them into upstart darlings. Cecil Sapp is averaging 130 yards rushing and quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt is a veteran leader.

UCLA update: There are a lot of changes in personnel, but after last season ended under the shadow of injuries and tailback DeShaun Foster's suspension, the Bruins are ready to start over.

Story line: The Bruins try to redeem themselves. Cory Paus would rather be remembered for his passing than his drunk-driving arrests, and Coach Bob Toledo needs to reestablish a perception that he has the program under control.

The pick: UCLA. It isn't the start of the season that gives the Bruins so much trouble; it's the end.

*

Purdue (1-0)

at No. 23 Notre Dame (1-0)

Kickoff: 10 a.m. TV: Channel 4. Line: Notre Dame by 6.

Purdue update: The Boilermakers opened with a 51-10 victory over Illinois State, a Division I-AA team. Notre Dame is traditional trouble. Purdue has lost to the Irish 57 times--more than any other school but Navy--and Notre Dame has won 14 of the last 16 meetings.

Notre Dame update: After upsetting Maryland in his debut, 22-0, Coach Tyrone Willingham might soon be known not for the color of his skin but the content of his playbook. Turns out option quarterback Carlyle Holiday can throw the ball: He passed for a career-high 226 yards as Willingham introduced Notre Dame fans to the West Coast offense.

Story line: Enthusiasm for the Irish--and Willingham--will swell if Notre Dame wins again.

The pick: Notre Dame. Now, if only Penn State could turn things around ...

*

Stanford (0-0)

at Boston College (1-0)

Kickoff: 12:30 p.m. TV: ESPN2. Line: Boston College by 8.

Stanford update: Quarterback Chris Lewis is suspended for the game for what the school is calling a minor NCAA violation. Freshman Kyle Matter will start. It's also the debut of Coach Buddy Teevens.

Boston College update: Boston College had a little trouble with--yikes!--Connecticut before winning, 24-16. The Eagles fell behind, 16-3, against a team in its first full-fledged Division I season.

Story line: Starting a rookie quarterback on the road isn't the best formula for a coaching debut. "Some would worry about a redshirt freshman coming in without a lot of experience, but [Matter] is the type of guy who can handle it," Teevens said.

The pick: Boston College. As little faith as Boston College deserves, it's too difficult to pick a rookie quarterback and a new coach in a road debut.

*

San Diego State (0-1)

at No. 17 Colorado (0-1)

Kickoff: 4 p.m. TV: Fox Sports Net. Line: Colorado by 23.

San Diego State update: The Aztecs had a good shot at upsetting Fresno State last week, but Tommy Kirovski's 31-yard field-goal attempt was blocked as time expired and Fresno State hung on, 16-14. It wasn't a bad coaching debut for Tom Craft, a former Aztec quarterback.

Colorado update: After a loss to Colorado State, with USC and UCLA next, the Buffaloes badly need to win this game. They're favorites, but a loss to San Diego State--fresh off three consecutive losing seasons under Ted Tollner--would be humiliating.

Story line: Two 0-1 teams meet, and somebody's season is in trouble. Plus, it's another nice scouting opportunity for USC and UCLA.

The pick: Colorado. Nobody goes from No. 7 in the nation to 0-2, right?

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