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NATIONAL INSIDER

Looks Like a Duck, Quacks Like a Duck

October 07, 2006

Other than the uniform colors -- and what other team could compare to Oregon in that category? -- it might be difficult to differentiate California from Oregon during today's Pacific 10 Conference game at Berkeley.

From the spread offenses featuring speedy skill position players that average 40.5 and 38.4 points a game to defenses that give up 20 and 20.4, the teams are nearly mirror images.

And that should come as no surprise, considering Cal Coach Jeff Tedford was the offensive coordinator under Oregon's Mike Bellotti for four years and has modeled the Golden Bears after his mentor's Ducks.

Because both use similar schemes, the coaches also regularly compete against each other for recruits, which has added a personal touch to the game.

For example, Cal running back Marshawn Lynch chose to stay close to home rather than head north to Oregon, while Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon left the Bay Area and became a Duck.

"So many of the players that went up there, we always talked, and we all wanted to end up at the same school," Lynch said. "So that's a little rivalry right there."

Four of Tedford's assistants have been Ducks, including defensive coordinator Bob Gregory. Tedford's strength coach, video coordinator, recruiting assistant, two equipment managers and the director of football operations also have experience at Oregon.

"I know half his staff," Bellotti said. "He's done a nice job of recruiting good people, and that's what it's about."

The winner will become USC's primary rival for the Pac-10 championship, and the loser might be knocked out of the Bowl Championship Series picture.

Either way, it's the most anticipated matchup of the season at Memorial Stadium -- mostly because everybody knows each other.

Never Satisfied

Texas might have hoped for a reprieve after ending a five-game losing streak to Oklahoma last year, but there is no break from the Longhorns faithful.

Sure, questions about whether they could ever beat Oklahoma have subsided, but now inquiring minds want to know: "Can you beat them without Vince Young?" and "Can you beat them when they have a healthy Adrian Peterson?"

Young, now starting for the NFL's Tennessee Titans, passed for three touchdowns in a 45-12 victory last year. Peterson, meanwhile, was nursing an ankle sprain and carried only three times for 10 yards. A year earlier, he had 225 yards in a 12-0 Oklahoma victory.

Peterson ranks third in the nation with a 160.8-yards-a-game average, and he's ahead of his pace from 2004 when he ended up with 1,925 yards -- an NCAA record for a freshman.

"There's no question we're a much different football team coming into the game than we were a year ago," Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops said. "Adrian Peterson's healthy. That changes everything."

Home Cookin'

This week's only matchup of top-10 teams is No. 9 Louisiana State versus No. 5 Florida at Gainesville, Fla.

The location is key for the Gators, who have won 12 consecutive games at "The Swamp," including all 10 under second-year coach Urban Meyer. Under Steve Spurrier, the Gators won 23 consecutive home games from 1990 to '93 and a school record 30 in a row from '94 to '99.

The last team to beat Florida at home? That would be LSU, which won, 24-21, in 2004.

Mid-Term Exam

Missouri's defense has helped the Tigers to their best start in 25 years, but it faces a significant challenge today against Texas Tech.

Missouri is second in the nation in defense, giving up only 215 yards a game, and is sixth in scoring defense at 10 points a game. But the Red Raiders have the nation's No. 3 pass offense, averaging 347.6 yards.

A win today would give Missouri its first 6-0 start in 33 years.

Upset Special?

Fans in Auburn, Ala., Morgantown, W.Va., and Gainesville, Fla., might be rooting for a Bowling Green upset over No. 1 Ohio State today, but it's not likely the Buckeyes will relinquish the top spot in the polls against an in-state rival.

No Ohio team has beaten the Buckeyes since the Yeomen of Oberlin hung a 7-6 setback on them in 1921. Since then, Ohio State has gone 31-0-1 against teams within the state's borders.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

-- Compiled by Peter Yoon

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