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Games of the week

October 02, 2008|Chris Dufresne

Oregon State at No. 15 Utah

Today, 6 p.m., Versus

Why USC and Brigham Young should be watching in the short-term interests of their long-term national title hopes: USC wants the team that just beat the Trojans to finish the season strong and make the case that Oregon State (2-2) was better than everyone thought. An Oregon State victory also would improve the Pac-10's record against the Mountain West this season to 2-5, which is better than 1-6. BYU wants Utah (5-0) to win out and be 11-0 when it plays host to the Cougars in a Nov. 22 showdown in Salt Lake City.

* The pick: Utah.

Florida State at Miami

Saturday, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7/ESPN2

Think of the names associated with this great rivalry: Charlie Ward, Chris Weinke, Deion Sanders, Michael Irvin, Vinny Testaverde.

Unfortunately, none of those guys are playing this year. Florida State is 3-1, Miami 2-2. This is the second straight meeting in which neither team is ranked and both schools are 0-1 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. The game is not even being played at the Orange Bowl -- an old haunt for Seminoles' Coach Bobby Bowden -- which has been demolished.

Bowden would have gladly thrown out the first wrecking ball. "That dadgum Orange Bowl was tough, boy, I'm kind of glad we're not going back there," he says. Miami's new home is Dolphin Stadium, where the schools met in the 2004 Orange Bowl. Miami won that one, 16-14. Bowden, as Florida State coach, is 13-20 against Miami. No wonder he has often said that somewhere on his tombstone should read " . . . but he played Miami."

* The pick: Miami.

No. 13 Auburn at No. 19 Vanderbilt

Saturday, 3 p.m., ESPN

This game is so huge that ESPN's "GameDay" is paying its first visit to Nashville. Expect Lee Corso to cull some famous quotes from sportswriter Grantland Rice, one of Vanderbilt's most distinguished graduates. The Commodores are looking to go 5-0 for the first time since 1943. The question is whether Vanderbilt can squeeze out a couple of more wins and earn its first trip to a bowl game since the 1982 Hall of Fame Classic. Warning: Vanderbilt was 5-3 after eight games last year but lost its last four to be denied a bowl bid. Auburn is 4-1.

* The pick: Vanderbilt.

-- Chris Dufresne

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