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Six Games To Watch

September 05, 2003



Kickoff: 7 tonight.


Line: Oregon State by 8 1/2.

Oregon State update: In 2001, after Sports Illustrated had picked the Beavers to win the national championship, a Fresno State team led by quarterback David Carr ended any such talk with a 44-24 upset. Last season, Oregon State won, 59-19.

Fresno State update: The Bulldogs played Tennessee in Knoxville without starting quarterback Paul Pinegar and lost, 24-6. Pinegar remains out because of a torn chest muscle, leaving Jeff Grady to start again.

Story line: This rivalry heated up after the 2001 game.

The pick: Oregon State. The only touchdown Fresno State managed against Tennessee was on an interception return.



AT NO. 4 USC (1-0)

Kickoff: 5 p.m.

TV: Channel 7.

Line: USC by 22.

BYU update: Matt Berry, who took over at quarterback the final six games of last season, completed 31 of 46 passes for 276 yards in the opener against Georgia Tech as BYU rallied for a 24-13 victory.

USC update: After their 23-0 victory at Auburn, the Trojans claimed a spot in the national consciousness, as well as six votes for No. 1 in the Associated Press poll.

Story line: USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow was a BYU assistant for 27 years, from 1973-1999, and quarterback coach Steve Sarkisian played for the Cougars.

The pick: USC. The Trojans figure to extend the nation's third-longest winning streak to 10 games, trailing Ohio State (15) and Boise State (11).

*NO. 21 FLORIDA (1-0)

AT NO. 3 MIAMI (1-0)

Kickoff: 5 p.m.

TV: ESPN GamePlan.

Line: Miami by 14.

Florida update: Brock Berlin transferred from Florida and became Miami's starting quarterback. Offensive lineman Shannon Snell was the first to yak at Berlin, saying he hoped the Gator defense "makes his mouth bleed."

Miami update: Tight end Kellen Winslow struck a Heisman Trophy pose after a touchdown reception in a 48-9 victory over Louisiana Tech and drew criticism from Coach Larry Coker.

Story line: Miami fans probably will want to ship Berlin back to Gainesville if the Hurricanes lose.

The pick: Miami. The Hurricanes won last season in Gainesville, 41-16, and they've won 22 consecutive games at the Orange Bowl, dating to 1999.



AT NO. 19 NOTRE DAME (0-0)

Kickoff: 11:30 a.m.

TV: Channel 4.

Line: Notre Dame by 6.

Washington State update: So far, new quarterback Matt Kegel hasn't reminded anyone of Jason Gesser, passing for only 108 yards in a 25-0 victory over Idaho, although the running game produced two 100-yard rushers, Jonathan Smith and Chris Bruhn.

Notre Dame update: The Irish are opening their second season under Tyrone Willingham with higher expectations than last season, when he took over a 5-6 team and the Irish finished 10-3.

Story line: Washington State Coach Bill Doba, who grew up in South Bend, Ind., returns to his childhood home.

The pick: Notre Dame. The Cougars' play against Idaho suggests it will be in trouble against the Irish.


NO. 1 OKLAHOMA (1-0)


Kickoff: 4:45 p.m.


Line: Oklahoma by 7 1/2.

Oklahoma update: Pardon quarterback Jason White if he has a flashback: His season ended last year against Alabama with a knee injury. White is back, and he passed for 248 yards and three touchdowns last week in a 37-3 victory over North Texas.

Alabama update: Surprisingly, this is the first time Alabama has played host to a No. 1 team in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Story line: Alabama and Oklahoma combined have 19 national championships, 13 Associated Press national titles, 1,481 victories and 206 All-Americans.

The pick: Oklahoma. The Sooners won last season's meeting in Norman, 37-27.


UCLA (0-0)

AT NO. 24 COLORADO (1-0)

Kickoff: 12:30 p.m.

TV: Channel 7.

Line: Colorado by 3.

UCLA update: The Karl Dorrell era begins with sophomore Matt Moore at quarterback, making the second start of his career. If Moore doesn't move the chains, Drew Olson is ready and waiting.

Colorado update: The Buffaloes won a 42-35 shootout against rival Colorado State as quarterback Joel Klatt passed for 402 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.

Story line: It's old home week for Dorrell and assistants Eric Bieniemy and Jon Embree, all former Buffalo assistants.

The pick: Colorado. UCLA has a new coach, a new quarterback, a new kicker and a new punter. Colorado has a victory already.

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