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Six Games To Watch Saturday

September 19, 2003|Robyn Norwood

NO. 3 MICHIGAN (3-0) AT NO. 22 OREGON (3-0)

Kickoff: 12:30 p.m.

TV: ESPN GamePlan.

Line: Michigan by 7 1/2.

Michigan update: A 38-0 victory over Notre Dame last week convinced many that either Michigan is very good or Notre Dame is not -- and maybe both. Running back Chris Perry has more than 500 yards rushing after three games.

Oregon update: In three games against Michigan, the Ducks have been outscored, 59-0. (The most recent game was in 1973, however, and all three were in Ann Arbor.)

Story line: Michigan's bowl championship series hopes could gain even more momentum, and Oregon will get indications about its season that victories over Mississippi State, Nevada and Arizona couldn't provide.

The pick: Michigan. That Notre Dame score is hard to dismiss.

*

UCLA (1-1) AT NO. 1 OKLAHOMA (3-0)

Kickoff: 12:30 p.m.

TV: Channel 7.

Line: Oklahoma by 19.

UCLA update: UCLA not only ranks last in the nation in offense at 223.5 yards a game, but is last in the Pacific 10 Conference in rushing, passing and scoring.

Oklahoma update: The Sooners have a defense led by defensive lineman Tommie Harris and linebacker Teddy Lehman. But the offense was the story in a 52-28 victory over Fresno State, as Jason White passed for 338 yards.

Story line: The Bruins will have to count on their defense to keep them in the game.

The pick: Oklahoma. The suspense isn't about the score, it's about whether quarterback Drew Olson can get through the game without being injured.

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NO. 7 GEORGIA (3-0) AT NO. 11 LOUISIANA STATE (3-0)

Kickoff: 12:30 p.m.

TV: Channel 2.

Line: Louisiana State by 1.

Georgia update: The Bulldogs have beaten Clemson and South Carolina by impressive margins, but this should be a considerably more difficult test. Georgia's defense has been almost unyielding, giving up an average of 5.7 points a game.

Louisiana State update: The Tigers haven't been held under 35 points, scoring 49 against Louisiana Monroe, 59 against Arizona and 35 against Western Illinois.

Story line: It's early, but not too early to call this one of the crucial Southeastern Conference games of the season.

The pick: Georgia. History predicts a close one: Four of the last five meetings have been decided by a total of 10 points.

*

NO. 16 ARIZONA STATE (2-0) AT NO. 18 IOWA (3-0)

Kickoff: 3 p.m.

TV: ESPN2.

Line: Iowa by 8.

Arizona State update: Quarterback Andrew Walter helped make the Sun Devils a trendy pick to contend in the Pac-10, but little about victories over Northern Arizona and Utah State points toward a run at the title.

Iowa update: Quarterback Nathan Chandler has yet to throw an interception, but the passing game took a hit because leading receiver Maurice Brown is out because of a sprained ankle.

Story line: The Sun Devils open Pac-10 play with a potentially difficult run against Oregon State, USC and Oregon, so a victory here would help.

The pick: Iowa. Predictions that Arizona State was ready to play with the big boys might have been premature.

*

NO. 12 TENNESSEE (2-0) AT NO. 17 FLORIDA (2-1)

Kickoff: 9 a.m.

TV: Channel 2.

Line: Florida by 3 1/2.

Tennessee update: The Volunteers slipped to 8-5 last season, and it's difficult to say how good they are after victories over Fresno State and Marshall. Tennessee is averaging 248.5 yards rushing, with Cedric Houston third in the nation with an average of 160.5. The defense has 10 sacks.

Florida update: The Gators lead the nation in scoring, averaging 53.7 points. (They didn't score enough in a 38-33 loss to Miami after leading by 23, however.)

Story line: This game isn't as big as usual: The last 13 meetings, both teams were in the top 15.

The pick: Florida. The Gators have won 13 of the last 17 meetings, including seven of eight at Gainesville.

*

NO. 2 MIAMI (3-0) AT BOSTON COLLEGE (2-1)

Kickoff: 4:45 p.m.

TV: ESPN.

Line: Miami by 12 1/2.

Miami update: The Hurricanes haven't been held under 38 points, and were impressive in their comeback against Florida. In 2001, Boston College threatened to upset the Hurricanes before a turnover in the final minute turned into a touchdown and an 18-7 Miami victory.

Boston College update: It makes a difference when Miami travels to Boston College. Miami's margin of victory over Boston College at home since 1991 is 25.8 points. At Chesnut Hill, it's only 6.5.

Story line: It's Miami-Boston College, which means memories of Doug Flutie's Hail Mary pass in 1984.

The pick: Miami.

-- Robyn Norwood

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