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Games of the week

September 25, 2008|Chris Dufresne

No. 8 Alabama at No. 3 Georgia

Saturday, 4:45 p.m., ESPN

One week after Louisiana State at Auburn, folks, you get this. Or maybe you'd prefer Stanford at Washington?

This is as down-home cooking good as it gets in the Southeastern Conference until at least next week, with Nick Saban's probably overrated Crimson Tide heading to Athens for a little program temperature check. Alabama (4-0), with the nation's top recruiting class, is obviously better than the team that lost to Louisiana Monroe last year. How much improved will be determined "between the hedges" at Sanford Stadium against a 4-0 Georgia team with future pros at quarterback (Matthew Stafford), running back (Knowshon Moreno) and receiver (A.J. Green). On defense, there's linebacker Rennie Curran, who literally ripped the helmet off quarterback Rudy Carpenter's head in last weekend's win against Arizona State.

The pick: Georgia.

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No. 24 TCU at No. 2 Oklahoma

Saturday, 4 p.m., FSN

The Mountain West is 5-0 against the Pac-10 this year, but Oklahoma (3-0) is in the Big 12, so this shapes up as a game that TCU probably can't win. Except for the fact that, in 2005, the Horned Frogs ruined opening-day ceremonies in Norman with a shocking 17-10 victory that foreshadowed the worst season (8-4) for Oklahoma this century and the lousiest year for Coach Bob Stoops since he went 7-5 in his first season in 1999.

This is an infinitely better Oklahoma team, though, so it probably doesn't even matter how much infinitely better TCU (4-0) might be.

The pick: Oklahoma.

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No. 22 Illinois at No. 12 Penn State

Saturday, 5 p.m., Ch. 7

There were times when this game could have been televised on the Big Deal Network, but this year we'd actually encourage you to take a look.

This Big Ten opener for both schools pits the fancy feet of Illinois quarterback Juice Williams against the wily, strategic, years-of-experience ploys of Juice (prune, please) Paterno.

Joe Paterno, the Penn State coach, has a bum right leg and coached the second half of last week's win against Temple from the press box. Where will Paterno coach from this week?

"I intend to be on the sideline," he said.

Penn State (4-0) is trying to avenge last year's 27-20 loss to Illinois (2-1) in Champaign.

The pick: Penn State.

-- Chris Dufresne

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