Thursday, September 19, 2002

College football picks

Pac-10 looking for perfect weekend

AP Football Writer

        The Pac-10 is looking for perfection this weekend. A week after its teams went 8-1 in nonconference games, the Pac-10 has a chance to go 8-0 on Saturday.

        The toughest test appears to be No. 11 USC at No. 25 Kansas State, although the Trojans (2-0) are coming off a 40-3 road upset of defending Big 12 champion Colorado.

        K-State (3-0), meanwhile, has won 37 straight non-league home games dating to 1989, including lopsided wins to open the season against two I-AA teams and winless Louisiana-Monroe. This will be the first real challenge to that streak.

        “We really have to bring our "A' game this week and put up a fight,” K-State quarterback Marc Dunn said.

        USC, led by quarterback Carson Palmer, is a 3-point underdog. K-State may lead the nation in scoring at 59.7 points per game, but USC is sixth in points allowed at 10 ppg.

        “This is a game that is going to give us a good feel for what we are all about,” Trojans coach Pete Carroll said. “If we are fortunate enough to win, we will feel pretty good about the start of this season.”

        Arizona won't have an easy time, either. The Wildcats visit No. 22 Wisconsin as 5 1/2-point underdogs. Last week, Jason Johnson threw for 416 yards in Arizona's 23-17 win against Utah. Brooks Bollinger was sacked 10 times before running 2 yards for the winning TD in a 24-21 victory against Northern Illinois.

        However, the Pac-10 was a powerful road force a week ago. Besides USC's road win, California stunned Michigan State 46-22 in East Lansing, and Washington State stuck close at Ohio State before losing 25-7.

        No. 9 Oregon (3-0) and No. 16 Washington State (2-1), meanwhile, should coast against Division I-AA teams — Portland State visits the Ducks, and Montana State travels to Pullman.

        Pac-10 teams are double-digit favorites in three other games — No. 13 Washington by 30 1/2 points over Wyoming, No. 20 UCLA by 11 over Colorado, and Oregon State by 11 1/2 over Fresno State. And No. 23 California, off to its best start since 1996, is a 9 1/2-point pick over visiting Air Force.

        The Pac-10 is the only major conference that doesn't have a team with a losing record. So far, the league is 22-4 against non-league foes.

        The picks:

       Boston College (plus 261/2) at No. 1 Miami

        Eagles 0-5 in Orange Bowl since Hail Flutie game of '84 ... MIAMI, 45-21.

        Houston (plus 36) at No. 3 Texas

        'Horns riding 14-game home winning streak ... TEXAS, 52-20.

        No. 10 Florida (plus 31/2) at No. 4 Tennessee

        Vols capable of duplicating Miami's rout of Gators ... TENNESSEE, 34-20.

        Duke (plus 441/2) at No. 5 Florida State

        No contest ... FLORIDA STATE, 52-10.

        No. 6 Ohio State (minus 151/2) at Cincinnati

        Buckeyes visit Cincy for first time since 1911 ... OHIO STATE, 38-17.

        No. 7 Virginia Tech (minus 2) at No. 19 Texas A&M

        Aggies' No. 1 rush defense vs. Hokies' No. 3 rushing offense ... VIRGINIA TECH, 27-21.

        Northwestern State (no line) at No. 8 Georgia

        'Dawgs offense awakens against unbeaten I-AA Demons ... GEORGIA, 33-14.

        Portland State (no line) at No. 9 Oregon

        Ducks won only other meeting by 58-16 in '94 ... OREGON, 49-14.

        No. 11 USC (plus 3) at No. 25 Kansas State

        K-State finally plays a good team ... USC, 31-24.

        No. 12 Notre Dame (plus 11/2) at Michigan State

        Irish out to snap five-game losing streak vs. Spartans ... MICHIGAN STATE, 28-24.

        Wyoming (plus 301/2) at No. 13 Washington

        Cowboys staring at 12th straight loss ... WASHINGTON, 44-14.

        Utah (plus 91/2) at No. 14 Michigan

        Both teams trying to rebound from tough losses ... MICHIGAN, 28-21.

        Louisiana Tech (plus 141/2) at No. 15 Penn State

        Lions RB Johnson & WR Johnson too much to handle ... PENN STATE, 41-21.

        No. 17 North Carolina State (plus 2) at Texas Tech

        Wolfpack looking for first 5-0 start since '91 ... N.C. STATE, 35-28.

        Colorado (plus 11) at No. 20 UCLA

        Buffs in for another rough time against L.A. team ... UCLA, 24-17.

        Troy State (plus 17) at No. 21 Iowa State

        Led by QB Wallace, Cyclones lead Big 12 in total offense ... IOWA STATE, 35-17.

        Arizona (plus 51/2) at No. 22 Wisconsin

        Meeting of unbeatens thanks to lucky wins last week ... WISCONSIN, 27-17.

        Air Force (plus 91/2) at No. 23 California

        Bears have a winner in new coach Tedford ... CALIFORNIA, 34-21.


        Last week: 16-2 (straight); 11-7 (vs. points)

        Season: 56-9 (straight); 36-24 (vs. points)


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