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 Put the rankings aside and Texas and Texas Tech are in virtually the same position.
The No. 1 Longhorns and No. 6 Red Raiders meet Saturday in Lubbock, and a victory by Graham Harrell, Michael Crabtree and Texas Tech would vault them into the national title discussion.
A victory might not lift the Red Raiders all the way to No. 1, but with games against Oklahoma State and Oklahoma on deck, plus a possible Big 12 title game down the road, Texas Tech is in as good shape as Texas to reach the BCS championship game IF it can win out.
For coach Mike Leach's Red Raiders, keeping their composure in what's being billed as the biggest game in the program's history might be as crucial as any of the Xs and Os Texas Tech's eccentric offensive mastermind can come up with.
The Red Raiders have been more of a novelty under Leach, putting up crazy passing stats and points but unable to unseat South Division powers Texas and Oklahoma at the top of the Big 12 pecking order.
Then there's the Heisman Trophy race.
, currently holds the position of Heisman front-runner, Harrell's gaudy numbers will look far more impressive if he can knock off No. 1. Harrell for Heisman, anyone?
In the Deep South, Saturday's Florida-Georgia game was pegged as a critical game both nationally and in the Southeastern Conference well before the season started. The subplot alone would make this interesting, even if it wasn't a matchup of top-10 teams.
The Georgia Bulldogs - yep, pretty much all of them - partied in the Florida end zone last season on their way to a 42-30 victory against the Gators.
Both teams have downplayed the relevance of last year's all-in celebration in Jacksonville, Fla. But it adds some intrigue to a game that will essentially eliminate the loser from national title and SEC championship contention.
The picks:
Thursday
No. 24 South Florida (minus 2 1/2) at Cincinnati
Bulls have no room left for Big East slip ups ... USF 33-21.
Saturday
No. 1 Texas (minus 6) at No. 6 Texas Tech
Are Red Raiders ready for prime time? ... TEXAS TECH 43-38.
Arkansas State (plus 24) at No. 2 Alabama
A sloppy performance - even in victory - could hurt Tide in BCS ... ALABAMA 30-10.
Nebraska (plus 22) at No. 4 Oklahoma
Once great rivalry isn't even game of week in conference ... OKLAHOMA 58-28.
ksonville, Fla.
Gators chance to jump around ... FLORIDA 40-31.
Washington (plus 43) at No. 7 Southern California
Why would Ty Willingham want to hang around for this? ... USC 55-7.
Iowa State (plus 31) at No. 9 Oklahoma State
Cowboys Big 12 title hopes are damaged but not done ... OKLAHOMA STATE 53-17.
No. 10 Utah (plus 7 1/2) at New Mexico
The Land of Enchantment state hosts two potential BCS Busters ... UTAH 30-21.
No. 11 Boise State (minus 20 1/2) at New Mexico State
Broncos 8-0 vs. Aggies, but trips to Las Cruces haven't been easy ... BOISE STATE 36-21.
No. 12 TCU (minus 14) at UNLV
Horned Frogs are 3-0 vs. Rebels as MWC rivals, by margin of 110-23 ... TCU 37-21.
No. 14 Missouri (minus 20) at Baylor
Baylor freshman Robert Griffin has thrown 175 passes without INT ... MISSOURI 46-24.
Tulane (plus 25 1/2) at No. 15 LSU
Tigers could use a break from SEC play after losing two of three ... LSU 48-14.
No. 16 Florida State (plus 1) at Georgia Tech
Are Seminoles becoming class of the ACC? ... FLORIDA STATE 24-17.
No. 17 BYU (minus 14 1/2) at Colorado State
Cougars have won four straight against Rams ... BYU 34-14.
No. 19 Tulsa (minus 7) at Arkansas
First and only BCS conference team on Golden Hurricane's schedule ... ARKANSAS 48-37.
/2) at No. 20 Minnesota
Gophers keep rolling against banged up Wildcats ... MINNESOTA 28-17.
Wisconsin (plus 4 1/2) at No. 22 Michigan State
Busy Spartans RB Javon Ringer leads nation in carries (300) ... MICHIGAN STATE 34-21.
No. 23 Oregon (plus 3) at California
Potential matchup of loud, garish uniforms ... CAL 31-24.
----
Last week: 16-4 (straight); 12-8 (vs. points).
Season: 131-39 (straight); 82-73 (vs. points).
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