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Games of the week

Georgia Tech at Miami, Florida State at Brigham Young and Michigan State at Notre Dame make the list.

September 17, 2009|Chris Dufresne

Georgia Tech (2-0)

at Miami (1-0)

Today, 4:30 p.m., ESPN

Georgia Tech's triple-option offense has teetered closer to being a rambling wreck than the system no Atlantic Coast Conference defensive coordinator wants to play. Coach Paul Johnson's offense had five turnovers in the opener against Jacksonville State and sputtered again in a three-point home win against Clemson. The feeling was that Georgia Tech's passing game would have to improve to keep defenses honest, but quarterback Josh Nesbitt completed only three of 14 passes with two interceptions against Clemson. "What we've got to do is find some ways to help Josh get some early completions where he doesn't have to make the great throws," Johnson said.

Miami hasn't played since its Labor Day victory over Florida State. The Hurricanes, led by sophomore quarterback Jacory Harris, have a fast track into the top 10 if they can beat Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma.

The pick: Miami.

Michigan State (1-1)

at Notre Dame (1-1)

Saturday, 12:30 p.m., Ch. 4

This game between unranked teams is a "game to watch" because it involves Notre Dame at another crucial juncture of the school's storied history. There is more unrest brewing about Coach Charlie Weis in the wake of last week's 38-34 loss to Michigan. Notre Dame led until Michigan scored with 11 seconds left. If it's true Weis has to win nine games and get to a BCS bowl to save his job, the road back starts here. Notre Dame is 3-9 against Michigan State since 1994 -- with the Spartans winning the last six in South Bend, Ind. "We like playing Michigan State," Weis said this week, "and they obviously like playing us too."

Michigan State was seen by some as a dark horse in the Big Ten Conference race, but the Spartans fell off the horse last week, losing to Central Michigan.

The pick: Notre Dame.

Florida State (1-1)

at Brigham Young (2-0)

Saturday, 4 p.m., Versus

Does Bobby Bowden think he's going on vacation? "I enjoy playing in other parts of the country," he said. "It gives you a little idea of what it looks like. It's just the opposite of Florida -- snow and mountains and we're flat and have beaches. I think it will be a great experience for our kids." Ask the UCLA kids if they think losing 59-0 at Provo last year was a great experience. Brigham Young might be the last place you'd want to take a team now. The Cougars are 2-0 after wins over Oklahoma and Tulane. Max Hall is one of the hottest quarterbacks, and a victory against Florida State would position Brigham Young as the first team from a non-power conference with a legitimate shot at playing in the BCS title game. And you wonder what kind of grumbling would go on in Tallahassee should Florida State return home 1-2, the victory a come-from-behind win against Jacksonville State.

The pick: Brigham Young.

-- Chris Dufresne

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