The Saturday before college football's first big Saturday is filled with potential pitfalls for teams in the Top 25, and for a few intriguing teams outside the rankings to make a statement.
Teams such as Miami. Yep, the Hurricanes are now on the outside looking in at college football's elite and if they want to get back in, beating No. 5 Florida in Gainesville would go along way toward accomplishing that goal. Staying close to the Gators would be promising for the 'Canes.
Cincinnati could win some respect back for the Big East, which had a rough opening weekend with Rutgers, Louisville and Pittsburgh losing, with a good showing at No. 4 Oklahoma.
After opening with a loss at Stanford, Oregon State heads to No. 19 Penn State trying to avoid an 0-2 start.
Washington coach Tyrone Willingham desperately needs some victories. The Huskies will try to dodge starting 0-2 when they host No. 15 BYU.
New Mississippi coach Houston Nutt can score his first attention-grabbing victory with the Rebels at No. 20 Wake Forest.
And in maybe the most interesting game of the weekend, East Carolina goes for consecutive victories over ranked teams when the Pirates welcome No. 8 West Virginia.
The picks:
Thursday
No. 24 South Carolina at Vanderbilt
Second game, second starting QB for Gamecocks ... SOUTH CAROLINA 21-13.
Saturday
Central Michigan (plus 23 1/2) at No. 2 Georgia
Chippewas QB Dan LeFevour is Tebow of the MAC ... GEORGIA 50-21.
Ohio (plus 34) at No. 3 Ohio State
No Beanie required for Buckeyes ... OHIO STATE 47-7.
Cincinnati (plus 21 1/2) at No. 4 Oklahoma
Sooners won't be up 50-0 like last week vs. Chattanooga ... OKLAHOMA 42-17.
Miami (plus 21 1/2) at No. 5 Florida
Gators expect injured WR Percy Harvin to play - might not need him ... FLORIDA 45-20.
SE Missouri (no line) at No. 6 Missouri
Tigers WR Jeremy Maclin should get time to rest aching ankle ... MISSOURI 55-10.
No. 8 West Virginia (minus 8) at East Carolina
Mountaineers have won seven straight against Pirates ... WEST VIRGINIA 35-21.
Southern Mississippi (plus 17 1/2) at No. 9 Auburn
Tigers hope to have kinks out of new spread offense ... AUBURN 28-14.
No. 10 Texas (minus 26) at UTEP
Last meeting was 1933 ... TEXAS 49-14.
No. 11 Wisconsin (minus 20 1/2) vs. Marshall
Badgers RB P.J. Hill goes for second straight 200-yard game ... WISCONSIN 38-14.
No. 12 Texas Tech (minus 10 1/2) at Nevada
The Wolf Pack can put up some points, too ... TEXAS TECH 48-30.
Tulane (plus 30) at No. 13 Alabama
Green Wave evacuated to Birmingham to avoid Gustav ... ALABAMA 40-3.
Louisiana Tech (plus 20 1/2) at No. 14 Kansas
Bulldogs coming off first win over BCS-conference opponent in five years ... KANSAS 45-14.
Stanford (plus 14) at No. 15 Arizona State
RB Toby Gerhart gives Cardinal offense punch ... ARIZONA STATE 31-21.
No. 15 BYU (plus 9 1/2) at Washington
Huskies couldn't stop Oregon's second- or third-string QB ... BYU 35-28.
No. 17 South Florida (minus 14) at UCF
Knights moved into Conference USA when Bulls moved to Big East ... USF 24-7.
Utah State at No. 18 Oregon
Ducks expect QB Justin Roper (concussion) to be ready ... OREGON 55-10.
Oregon State (plus 16 1/2) at No. 19 Penn State
Beavers trying to avoid first 0-2 start since 2004 ... PENN STATE 27-20.
Mississippi (plus 8) at No. 20 Wake Forest
ACC's image can't afford another loss to SEC ... MISSISSIPPI 27-24.
UNLV (plus 21 1/2) at No. 22 Utah
Utes back in AP rankings for first time since Urban Meyer left ... UTAH 38-13.
Eastern Illinois (no line) at No. 24 Illinois
Illini QB Juice Williams coming off career passing day ... ILLINOIS 48-10.
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Last week: 19-3 (straight); 9-3 (vs. points).

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