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Games of the week

October 09, 2008|Chris Dufresne

No. 1 Oklahoma (5-0) vs. No. 5 Texas (5-0)

Saturday, 9 a.m., Channel 7

This year's Red River Rivalry game at the Cotton Bowl has a lot more punch than last year's, when both teams spoiled the party by losing their lead-in games. The game is a throwback to the dramas pitting Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops and Mack Brown, who have been going at this for more than a decade. Brown bested Oklahoma in Stoops' first year in 1999, and then lost five straight until breaking the streak in 2005 en route to the national title. Oklahoma started the season No. 4 in the Associated Press and has climbed to No. 1, while Texas has sort of sneaked up from No. 11 to No. 5.

"I think we've been in the perfect position," Brown said, "because we've played pretty well, we've been rated high enough that if we're good enough we'll end up where we want to. And, at the same time, we haven't been in the circus of everybody talking about polls before they really matter."

This is the first time since 2004 both teams have entered the game ranked in the top five.

The pick: Oklahoma.

No. 4 LSU (4-0) at No. 11 Florida (4-1)

Saturday, 5 p.m., Channel 2

This showdown of the last two national champions would have been even bigger had Florida not lost at home to Mississippi, but the stakes are still large for both schools. Louisiana State needs the win to stay on a national title repeat course, while a second loss probably eliminates Florida from any hopes of climbing back in the race. The matchup got more intense when LSU defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois reportedly said this week that LSU was going to try to knock Florida quarterback Tim Tebow out of the game. Jean-Francois said his comments were misinterpreted .

The pick: Florida.

No. 9 Penn State (6-0) at Wisconsin (3-2)

Saturday, 5 p.m., ESPN

This begins a critical three-game stretch for Penn State, which started out hot but now must face Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio State the next three weeks. Michigan may not be very good this year, but the Wolverines haven't lost to Penn State since 1996. Wisconsin will look back and wonder what might have been. The Badgers were No. 8 in the nation after a 13-10 win at Fresno State on Sept. 13 but since have heartbreaking Big 10 losses to Michigan and Ohio State, by a total of five points.

The pick: Wisconsin.

-- Chris Dufresne

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