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Games of the week

September 18, 2008|Chris Dufresne

Saturday, 5 p.m., Channel 7

Who let the air out of this peanut bag? OK, it's still a huge game, with huge ramifications, but nothing compared to what it was shaping up to be a week, or even a month, ago.

This was a No. 1 vs. No. 15 matchup in the preseason Associated Press poll before both teams backed up a bit. Georgia (3-0) has dropped two spots in the rankings, getting punished by the pollsters for ho-hum wins against Georgia Southern and Central Michigan and a seven-point win at South Carolina.

No. 3 Georgia at Arizona State

Arizona State (2-1), which lost at home to Nevada Las Vegas, is to blame for chasing ESPN's GameDay crew from Tempe to Louisiana State at Auburn.

Reasons to watch: Georgia is still in the national title race despite being passed in the polls by USC and Oklahoma and, gulp, Arizona State might get back in it too, if it can follow a stunning victory against Georgia with a stunning victory at USC on Oct. 11.

The pick: Georgia.

No. 18 Wake Forest at No. 24 Florida St.

Saturday, 4 p.m., ESPN2

Two years ago, Wake Forest went to Tallahassee and left with a 30-0 shutout victory against Bobby Bowden's Semi-Seminoles. It was the sort of outcome that started folks wondering whether the game was starting to pass Bowden by. If Wake Forest does it again, you might have your answer. Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder guaranteed victory this week, but what does a sophomore know? Neither school has answered many questions yet. Wake Forest won big at Baylor but struggled to beat Mississippi. Florida State, playing short-handed the first two games because of suspensions, routed Western Carolina and Chattanooga. Florida State welcomes the return of star receiver Preston Parker, one of the suspended.

The pick: Florida State.

Notre Dame at Michigan State

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

Here's a switch: Notre Dame (2-0) isn't limping into East Lansing this week, but its coach is. Charlie Weis suffered torn knee ligaments in last week's win against Michigan. He might give his right foot to end his school's hex against Michigan State (2-1), which has won eight of the last 11 games in the series. The Irish have also lost five straight to Boston College and six straight to USC, but the Irish are taking this one hex at a time.

The pick: Michigan State.

-- Chris Dufresne

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