Saturday, November 16, 2002

Today's Top 25 games



No. 3 Texas (9-1) at Texas Tech (7-4)

Time: 3:30 p.m.

Line: Texas by 6.

Between the lines: Oklahoma's loss put Texas back in the Big 12 Conference and national championship pictures, but the Red Raiders, who play the Sooners next week, also could win the South Division. Versatile RB Taurean Henderson will touch the ball often for Texas Tech, but QB Kliff Kingsbury must get WR Wes Welker involved. He'll need time to throw deep; Texas DE Cory Redding wants to make sure he doesn't have much. Longhorns CBs Rod Babers and Nathan Vasher don't let many plays get behind them. LB Lawrence Flugence, Tech's defensive leader, must keep Benson in check while CB Joselio Hanson covers star Longhorns WR Roy Williams.

No. 5 Iowa (10-1) at Minnesota (7-3)

Time/TV: Noon/ESPN.

Line: Iowa by 111/2.

Between the lines: Iowa looks to secure share of Big Ten title by beating Minnesota for second consecutive year. Hawkeyes QB Brad Banks leads nation in passing efficiency. RB Fred Russell, WR Maurice Brown and TE Dallas Clark give Banks variety of options. Minnesota defensive front must help FS Eli Ward contain Iowa's many weapons. Golden Gophers QB Asad Abdul-Khaliq faces third ranked opponent in as many weeks.He needs to continue improvement he showed last week against Michigan. If he's off target, running lanes for Terry Jackson and Thomas Tapeh will be limited against LB Fred Barr and Iowa defense.

No. 7 Georgia (9-1) at Auburn (7-3)

Time/TV: 3:30 p.m./Ch.12, 7.

Line: Georgia by 21/2.

Between the lines: Longtime rivals have lot on line as Georgia looks to clinch Southeastern Conference East, while Auburn tries to keep SEC West title hopes alive. Bulldogs receiving corps is dangerously thin with Terrence Edwards (shoulder) out and Fred Gibson playing with thumb injury. RB Musa Smith again must prove his durability if QB David Greene runs out of aerial targets. Auburn LB Dontarrious Thomas, whose goal-line tackle preserved last year's win against Bulldogs, must be active again. Tigers have shown resilience thanks to RB Ronnie Brown stepping in for injured Carnell Williams. Auburn QB Jason Campbell can expect heat from Georgia LB Boss Bailey and DE David Pollack.

Arizona State (7-4) at No. 8 USC (7-2)

Time/TV: 7 p.m./TBS.

Line: USC by 151/2.

Between the lines: Barring total collapse by Washington State, USC likely playing for second in Pacific-10 Conference. That still could mean an at-large BCS invitation. Trojans QB Carson Palmer is enjoying his finest season and will become all-time conference passing leader with 290 more yards. WR Mike Williams is 87 yards away from becoming league's first freshman to post 1,000-yard receiving season. DE Terrell Suggs is ASU's best hope to slow Palmer. Sun Devils' prolific combo of QB Andrew Walter and WR Shaun McDonald could have difficult time with SS Troy Polamalu and USC's stingy pass defense. ASU RB Cornell Canidate (ankle) won't play, further damaging ineffective running game.

Wisconsin (6-5) at No. 10 Michigan (8-2)

Time/TV: Noon/ESPN2.

Line: Michigan by 11.

Between the lines: In anticipation of next week's trip to Ohio State, Wolverines must take care of depleted Badgers, who have only one Big Ten victory. Michigan QB John Navarre has been steady. Fine catches by WR Braylon Edwards and plentiful ground support from FB B.J. Askew have helped. Injuries and off-field incidents have robbed Wisconsin of proven playmakers, but QB Brooks Bollinger and RB Anthony Davis hope to return.

Nebraska (7-4) at No. 11 Kansas State (8-2)

Time: 12:30 p.m.

Line: Kansas State by 121/2.

Between the lines: Other two teams in hunt for Big 12 North title. Running game will determine outcome.

Alabama (8-2) at No. 12 LSU (7-2)

Time/TV: 9 p.m./ESPN.

Line: Alabama by 11/2.

Between the lines: LSU has control of SEC West. But while Baton Rouge still is buzzing about the miraculous hookup between QB Marcus Randall and WR Devery Henderson, the Kentucky game gave Tigers coaches plenty of concerns. Most pressing is ground yardage LSU surrendered. Alabama QB Tyler Watts and RB Santonio Beard hope to exploit holes in Tigers defense. LSU LB Bradie James and SS Norman LeJeune must plug them. Randall completed only 10 of 23 passes at Kentucky. He'll need more. Tide DT Kenny King doesn't leave much running room, and DBs Brooks Daniels and Waine Bacon are solid ground supporters. Tigers will need at least one big play out of RB-KR Domanick Davis.

South Carolina (5-5) at No. 14 Florida (7-3)

Time/TV: 6 p.m./ESPN.

Line: Florida by 141/2.

Between the lines: Gators can play for SEC title if Georgia stumbles. But Florida must handle its own business and show more offensive punch than displayed last week against Vanderbilt. RBs Earnest Graham and Ran Carthon will challenge strong Gamecocks run defense, featuring LB Lance Laury and S Jonathan Martin. Gators QB Rex Grossman will have to stretch the field. Seeking offensive spark, South Carolina coach Lou Holtz will start Dondrial Pinkins at quarterback and use athletic but mistake-prone Corey Jenkins in secondary. LB Byron Hardmon, Florida's defensive centerpiece, will pay attention to Gamecocks RB Andrew Pinnock.

North Carolina (2-8) at No. 15 Florida St. (7-3)

Time: 3:30 p.m.

Line: Florida State by 311/2.

Between the lines: North Carolina's 41-9 pounding of Florida State last year is distant memory. Unfortunately for Tar Heels, it's not distant enough for Seminoles. Loss of QB Darian Durant (broken thumb) derailed UNC's season. C.J. Stephens has made good use of WR Sam Aiken but hasn't compensated for lack of consistent running threat. CB Stanford Samuels has emerged as needed playmaker in FSU secondary. Seminoles QB Adrian McPherson's .543 completion percentage is ordinary, but coaches are pleased with his decision-making. RB Nick Maddox, a North Carolina native, could have big day against Tar Heels' rushing defense that is last in Atlantic Coast Conference.

No. 16 Penn State (7-3) at Indiana (3-7)

Time/TV: 3:30 p.m./ESPN2.

Line: Penn State by 231/2.

Between the lines: Penn State QB Zack Mills should produce another big score against struggling Hoosiers defense (101st in points allowed). Nittany Lions RB Larry Johnson leads country in all-purpose yardage with combination of power and pass-catching talent. Difficult task of containing Nittany Lions RB Larry Johnson falls to Indiana LB Herana-Daze Jones.

No. 17 Colorado State (8-2) at San Diego State (3-7)

Time: 6 p.m.

Line: Colorado State by 121/2.

Between the lines: Rested Rams begin stretch drive toward Mountain West championship.

Iowa State (7-4) at No. 18 Colorado (7-3)

Time/TV: 7 p.m./FSNO.

Line: Colorado by 9.

Between the lines: Colorado looks to stay in the Big 12 North driver's seat, while Cyclones try to stay in running despite fourth road game against ranked foe in five weeks. Buffaloes RB Chris Brown, leading the nation in rushing, won't give ISU's defense any respite. Cyclones LB Matt Word will try to contain him, but he'll have to get past Colorado C Wayne Lucier. If Colorado QB Robert Hodge can mix in good throws, ISU's in trouble. Iowa State QB Seneca Wallace must shake off error-filled effort at Kansas State. Buffs DB Medford Moorer, with team-high four interceptions, will be around to help cover Wallace's favorite option, WR Lane Danielson. ISU WR Jamaul Montgomery must make himself available.

No. 19 Maryland (8-2) at Clemson (6-4)

Time/TV: 7:45 p.m./ESPN2.

Line: Maryland by 61/2.

Between the lines: Clemson looks to snap six-game losing streak against ranked opponents and enhance coach Tommy Bowden's standing with vocal fans. Switch to QB Charlie Whitehurst has revitalized Tigers offense, though improved health of RB Bernard Rambert also has helped. Their blockers must account for Maryland LB E.J. Henderson, equally adept at blowing up run and pass plays. Maryland RB Chris Downs turned ankle during last week's comeback victory against North Carolina State but is expected to play. He'll be needed to help QB Scott McBrien avoid DBs Justin Miller and Brian Mance, the Tigers' top pass thieves. Breakdowns on special teams have undone Tigers in their losses; Maryland WR-PR Steve Suter could take advantage.

No. 20 N.C. State (9-2) at Virginia (6-4)

Time: Noon.

Line: N.C. State by 7.

Between the lines: Wolfpack try a third time for historic 10th win. Runner-up finish in ACC still possible for Cavaliers.

Washington (5-5) at No. 22 Oregon (7-3)

Time: 3:30 p.m.

Line: Oregon by 61/2.

Between the lines: Though both teams are out of Pac-10 title chase, this fierce rivalry always is worth look. QB Cody Pickett has been Washington's only yardage source this year, but he and 1,000-yard WR Reggie Williams should find holes in Ducks' leaky pass defense. Oregon FS Keith Lewis will try to hold secondary together. Oregon RB Onterrio Smith should return to form on his home field if he can avoid Huskies LB Ben Mahdavi.

Louisiana Tech (3-6) at No. 23 Boise State (9-1)

Time: 3:05 p.m.

Line: Boise State by 271/2.

Between the lines: Broncos can cement Western Athletic Conference title with victory over Bulldogs.

No. 25 Bowling Green (8-1) at South Florida (7-2)

Time: 7 p.m.

Line: South Florida by 3.

Between the lines: Falcons have tough assignment after first loss. Bulls are ready to compete in Conference USA.

Rest of the Top 25

No. 1 Miami (Fla.), No. 4 Washington State, No. 9 Notre Dame, No. 13 Virginia Tech, No. 21 Pittsburgh and No. 24 TCU are idle.




BENGALS
Healthy Couch shows he can shoulder Browns' offensive load
Rookie Dorsch could get his kicks Sunday

AROUND THE NFL
Third-down woes worry Pittsburgh
Excitable Gramatica draws Sauerbrun's ire

UC BEARCATS
Reynolds man on the run

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Marshall won't change security
Tressel flashes lengthy resume
Mount Saint Joseph vs. Thomas More
After first loss, Sooners set sights on smaller goals
Gators again contenders after sticking with Zook
Today's Top 25 games

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
No. 4 Texas 77, No. 16 Georgia 71
No. 18 Marquette 73, Villanova 61
Louisville, Western Kentucky sign hoopsters
After raising school's profile, Knight readies for new season
Irish aiming for third straight tourney berth
Coach K injures hip flexor muscle

NBA
Mavericks remain unbeaten
Yao feeling pressure

SOCCER
UC, Miami advance in NCAA soccer

HOCKEY
Mogilny burst extends Sabres streak
Gerber's 39 saves leads Ducks

OHIO PREP FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
Kings' unbeaten run washed away by C-J
Balance meets option in Div. I
Alter 42, Reading 10
High school football scores

KENTUCKY PREP FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
Beechwood 28, Holy Cross 6
Highlands 52, Scott 0
Boone Co. 40, Louisville Eastern 39
LexCath 29, CovCath 27
Trinity 31, Dixie Heights 16
Roncalli 17, East Central 10 (OT)
Mason Co. 49, Lloyd 21
Newport Central Catholic 47, Raceland 7

BASEBALL
Mets make serious pitch to Glavine
Cubs hire Baker as manager
Seattle picks former catcher to manage
All-Stars win in Japan

NATIONAL SPORTS SPOTLITE
As the sports world turns
Jesse Jackson plans protest if Augusta doesn't admit a woman
Hewitt reaches Masters Cup semis
Oracle, Alinghi into America's Cup semis
Stewart outqualifies Martin in NASCAR season finale